New York, NY, Nov. 6, 2000--Former NCAA ski champion Sally Knight-Utter of Waitsfield, Vt., was honored today as the national winner of the2000 Texaco Star Award for her work in founding, Camp ForMe, a summer day camp for adopted children in Vermont. The Texaco StarAward, now in its second year, honors U.S. Ski and Snowboard Team alumni for their hard work and dedication off the slopes in the area ofcommunity service through volunteerism, leadership, mentoring and community outreach programs.
Utter, a U.S. Ski Team alpine racer in the late 1980s, received a $10,000 check during the award luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria in New YorkCity, which she has designated to go toward expanding the services at Camp ForMe, a weeklong day camp that operates at Green MountainValley School (GMVS), her high school alma mater in Waitsfield.
"Sally's commitment to the young children in her community makes her an easy choice for the 2000 Texaco Star Award," said Polly Rua, Sr.Manager of Sponsorships for Texaco. "Drawing from her personal experience, she has been able to enrich the lives of adopted children,especially those with special needs, while at the same time raising her own family."
Adopted at birth, she grew up in the Waitsfield area, outside Burlington, and has been dedicated to working with children, especially adoptedyoungsters, in developing their trust and self-esteem. Utter worked with the Vermont Children's Aid Society through much of the Nineties andthey were very supportive when, in 1995, she founded Camp ForMe on the campus at GMVS. About 50 children attend the one-weekcamp each year and Utter has enlisted the faculty and students of the school to help manage the program.
"I keep saying it doesn't seem like work when you're doing something you love and when you have the right motivation, and this doesn'tseem like work," said Utter.
"The Texaco Star Award is going to have a huge impact on Camp ForMe by helping many more children," Utter added. "Last year, Texaco'scheck enabled us to add a new component to our camp -- an African drummer entertained the children with some story-telling and broughtinstruments for all of them to play. They loved it, we had a terrific time and we look forward to adding more programs next year."
Olympic medalist Jimmie Heuga, who has battled multiple sclerosis for nearly three decades, was the inaugural winner of the Texaco StarAward for his work in founding the Jimmie Heuga Center, which is dedicated to helping those diagnosed with chronic diseases live healthy,active lives. Texaco Star Award regional winners from last season and this year were eligible for the national honor. Utter was the regionalwinner for the East in 1999.
"I'm so honored to accept this award, considering whom I'm following - like so many, Jimmy's a big hero of mine," she said.
Known to the ski world by her maiden name, Sally Knight competed for the U.S. Ski Team in the late 1980s before enrolling at the Universityof Vermont where she was an All-America skier for four years. In 1992, she was the NCAA giant slalom champion and the silver medalist thefollowing year. Utter graduated in 1993 with a degree in secondary education. After a pro racing career, she became director of alumni affairs forGMVS. She and her husband, Steve Utter, have two daughters - Kate (3) and Hannah (1).