Luke Forward received the Special 20th Anniversary Best of the West award Thursday night at the Renaissance Glendale Hotel as WESTMARC celebrated its 20th annual awards presentation.
Co-chairs, retiring Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Charley Freericks, president of DMB, accepted the award on behalf of all those involved with the Luke Forward campaign, including the cities of El Mirage, Surprise, Peoria, Youngtown, Tolleson, Litchfield Park, Goodyear and Avondale.
Luke Forward helped secure that Luke Air Force Base would serve as the Air Force’s new F-35 training center.
It was Scruggs’ idea was to make Luke Forward a “grassroots campaign.”
El Mirage City Manager Spencer Isom said, “We are proud supporters of Luke Air Force Base.”
The West Valley Excellence in Innovation award went to Arizona Metropolitan Trust, a self-funded benefits plan, which is a collaboration between the cities of El Mirage, Youngtown, Avondale and Apache Junction. The AzMT is the cities’ answer to the rising costs of benefits.
Other winners included: Midwestern University in Glendale with the West Valley Economic Engine Award and Glendale Community College’s “Changing Communities Through a Culture of Sustainability” with the West Valley Quality of Life Enhancement Award.
The WESTMARC Leadership Award went to Candace Wiest, president and CEO of West Valley National Bank, a locally owned and operated community bank, and the John F. Long Achievement Award went to Diane McCarthy, founding president of WESTMARC.
The honorable mentions for the West Valley Economic Engine Award were: West Valley Cactus League Spring Training, City of Surprise Economic Development Team and Sun Health Senior Living.
Honorable mentions for West Valley Quality of Life Enhancement Award were: Arizona in ACTION, the Goodyear Public Art Program and Denton Santarelli, the superintendent of the Peoria Unified School District.