David Howard Honored as Hurricane Valley Hero

David Howard is a Heart Disease Hero. Diagnosed with Aortic Stenosis and a dilated ascending aorta, he endured open heart surgery in 2015. The illness was a complete surprise to this man who assumed his shortness of breath was due to self diagnosed asthma.

A dedicated athlete, he has given others with a similar diagnosis hope and support through his Ceased2Murmur YouTube channel. His video of waking up after open heart surgery has had over one million views and has been helpful to those who must also experience open heart surgery. The video is a great example of strength and determination and shows others that major medical issues need not hold you back. His candid, informational dialogue encourages others to live life to the fullest and never give up.

In addition to a multitude of sports he excels in, David is an avid scuba diver and enjoys spending his spare time diving for lost items in area lakes and reservoirs. He has found eye glasses, sun glasses, telephones, a gun, and a multitude of other items that were thought to be lost forever in a watery grave. He cleans and repairs his new found treasures and uses social media to locate their owners, returning them typically good as new.

David is an upbeat, funny, selfless person who chooses to dedicate his life to helping others who are experiencing overwhelming, serious health issues. A humble man, he credits his wife with helping him maintain an optimistic attitude and joy for life.

David Howard is an example of strength and courage, devoted to helping people look forward with optimism as they encounter an unknown future. The Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce honors him for his dedication to a cause that will serve so many. He is, without a doubt, a Hurricane Valley Hero.

Hurricane City Police Department Honored as Hurricane Valley Heroes

No one should dispute the fact that anyone serving in law enforcement is a hero. The job has become especially dangerous at this time of social and racial unrest. Police departments, nationwide, have come under extreme scrutiny, harsh judgement, and attack.

At a recent luncheon, Hurricane City Police Chief Lynn Excell told a group of Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce members and guests, “There is nothing a good cop hates more than a bad cop.” Thankfully, the Hurricane City Police Department is staffed with good cops – incredibly good cops – dedicated to serving a diverse and growing community without prejudice.

Covering 51.2 square miles, Hurricane is listed as the 3rd largest area city in Utah; dwarfed only by Salt Lake City and St. George. Hurricane’s population is over 18,000 people, swelling by an estimated 2,000 during the winter months. Chief Excell leads a group of 30 officers, 3 animal control officers, and 4 civilian staff, (a relatively small department to cover such a large area and population) all charged with keeping Hurricane residents safe and their property protected.

Few people are willing to put their lives on the line, every day, to protect people they may not even know, or to be chastised and ridiculed for upholding the law. Yet, the officers of the Hurricane City Police Department do just that. Such acts of tolerance, restraint, and bravery are difficult to understand or comprehend. That is why we honor the Hurricane City Police Department and all area law enforcement personnel as Hurricane Valley Heroes.

Hurricane’s Domino’s Pizza Honored as a Hurricane Valley Hero

Hurricane’s Domino’s Pizza is committed to serving the community – not just in times of crisis, but year around. Be it providing pizza for community events or supporting area organizations, they are always willing to contribute.

When the COVID-19 pandemic raised it’s ugly head in Southern Utah, Area Supervisor, Randall Snow along with General Manager, Jennifer Pearsun wanted to help.

They understood that those on the front lines of the pandemic were being stretched to their limits working long, tiring hours in dangerous conditions. With the blessing of Franchise Owner, Randy Snow, they decided the best way they could help would be to provide meals to those brave souls who courageously ran towards the danger, instead of away.

Although faced with restrictive obstacles of their own, they rushed to donate hundreds of pizza’s and bread sticks to the entire staff at Dixie Regional Hospital, Hurricane City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies, fire departments and ambulance crews, as well as local grocery store employees. They vowed to continue making donations as long as there was a need. Understanding that the COVID-19 outbreak could also impact their own staff, without fanfare, they gave each employee $100, in addition to their regular paycheck.

For years, the good people at Hurricane’s Domino’s Pizza have never overlooked an opportunity to contribute in some way. Because of their unwavering commitment and willingness to serve, the business and it’s officers have earned the right to be honored as Hurricane Valley Heroes.

David Stirland Honored as Hurricane Valley Hero

Facing seemingly unsurmountable obstacles, David Stirland, President of the Washington County School Board, along with members of the board undertook the overwhelming responsibility of establishing emergency programs and guidelines and providing tools for Washington County educators, faced with teaching students Kindergarten – 12th grade, outside of the traditional classroom. COVID-19 restrictions included closing schools until the danger of contracting or spreading the virus passes. It was up to David and his board to come up with a solution in an impossibly short period of time. They accomplished the task and within a couple of weeks children were being taught by video in their homes. Students who did not have access to computers were loaned tablets to complete their assignments. School lunches were delivered at bus stops to students who might otherwise go hungry. Teachers were authorized to use their creativity to keep students engaged in their education.

High School graduation ceremonies posed another problem. Under David’s leadership, graduating students were individually scheduled and videoed walking across their high school auditorium stage to receive their diploma. Valedictorians spoke and gifted students shared their musical talents. The videos were viewed online on graduation day. Every effort was made to make the event as memorable as possible. The District ordered and paid for signs announcing, “A 2020 Graduate Lives Here”. The signs were posted at every Washington County graduating student’s home.

For years, David lead a team of volunteers who organized fund raising events to support a Hurricane High School graduation party. Traditionally, the school auditorium was elaborately decorated, and the night was filled with games, entertainment, and lots of food – keeping graduates safe in a supervised environment. Sadly, the celebration had to be cancelled this year.

David has volunteered his voice, wit, and talent as the Hurricane High School sports announcer for a number of years. His commentary has entertained thousands of Hurricane High football fans. He has served as the Hurricane Peach Days Director for over 19 years as well as volunteered for his church and on a number of city committees and at numerous events.

David Stirland never forgets a name or a face. He is a pharmacist, a husband, father, and friend to all. No one disputes the fact that he is also a Hurricane Valley Hero.

Chris Gifford, Hurricane Valley Hero

At the onset of the Coronavirus and in response to Governor Gary Herbert’s Stay Safe, Stay Home directive, Chris Gifford opened his first ever Facebook account to summon the help of volunteers willing to support the Washington County COVID-19 Urgent Help initiative. An army of volunteers responded to his call to duty, stepping forward to support his efforts to provide relief to people impacted by the disease. Under Chris’ guidance and direction, he and his volunteer group shopped for groceries, medications, and other supplies and delivered them to at-risk individuals and families, quarantined in their homes. Chris personally purchased and donated diapers, formula, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, groceries, and other essentials and ran errands for total strangers, risking his own health, asking nothing in return. Chris donated hundreds of hours working at COVID-19 testing stations, once again risking his own personal health to test potentially diseased victims. He committed himself to continue serving in that capacity until the need for testing stations has passed.

Chris is the Campus Director of the DSU Hurricane Education Center and DSU Kanab Center. He is described as a problem solver who quickly assesses dilemmas and implements workable solutions through innovation and collaboration. He is a dynamic and experienced people focused individual with excellent teaching and interpersonal communication skills.

Through Chris’ swift action and impressive organizational skills, hundreds of people impacted by the disease were able to feed their families, calm their children’s fears, and continue living as normally as possible. Those fortunate people witnessed first hand the commitment and unconditional love one human being can have for another. Chris is an example to us all. He is a man who will undoubtedly be revered for his selfless contribution in a difficult time.

Chris Gifford is, most definitely, a Hurricane Valley Hero.

Charlie Twiss, Hurricane Valley Hero

Charlie Twiss of Hurricane, Utah, is a retired educator, having taught Washington County student’s grade 3rd – 6th for over 12 years, and a lifetime volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America.

As a third-grade teacher at Hurricane Elementary School, Charlie was the recipient of the prestigious Huntsman Award for Excellence in 1999. Awarded annually to 10 extraordinary Utah educators, he was noted as fair, consistent and attentive, particularly with struggling students. As the school’s technology specialist, he donated hundreds of hours to upgrade and install computer equipment and train teachers to use the technology in their classrooms.

Principal Daniel B. Spendlove once said of Charlie, “Perhaps the most impressive thing about Charlie is the quiet, confident and dedicated way that he gives so freely of himself without feeling that he is doing anything out of the ordinary. He is truly an example to all of a genuine person who just plain lives a life of service without concern for personal gain or recognition.”

Chrlie has spent his entire adult life serving as a scout leader in the Boy Scouts of America organization. His former Scouts credit him with teaching them to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime and instilled in them the desire to become responsible, participating citizens and leaders. He is credited with teaching young men everything from knot tying to cooking a Dutch over feast. Charlie continues to support the scouting program, meeting and instructing youth of the community almost weekly.

An entire community owes Charlie Twiss a debt of gratitude for his commitment and dedication on behalf of hundreds of young people in Hurricane Valley. He is truly a humble, inspirational, Hurricane Valley Hero.

Cassie Hughes, a Hurricane Valley Hero

Cassie Hughes of Hurricane, Utah, and manager of FiiZ Drinks, (a popular spot to pick up your favorite beverage) is described by her staff as the “MOM” of the business, treating each of them as if they were her own kids. Casssie is their cheerleader, encouraging and training them in their jobs – never criticizing, which is sometimes an anomaly in a boss or supervisor.

Her acts of service are never ending. She invited a lonely, struggling employee to join her and her family on a family vacation. A frightened employee with a flat tire called her at 11:00 p.m. She and her husband, Chad, soon arrived to change the tire and rescue a member of her FiiZ family. These are just a couple of the never-ending examples of charity Cassie shows to friends, co-workers, and total strangers alike.

A compassionate community supporter, she stops by with drinks for lunch workers as they deliver school lunches at various drop off points. She takes meals to tired truck drivers whenever she sees them parked for a brief rest. She is a strong supporter of the police department and those serving in law enforcement, always greeting them warmly and expressing her gratitude whenever they drop by FiiZ for a soda or treat.

Cassie Hughes is the type of individual who grasps every opportunity to show kindness and will never turn her back on someone in need. A staff member said of Cassie, “She is a genuinely good person.” Cassie exemplifies beautifully, the characteristics of a Hurricane Valley Hero.

Bryce King Honored as Hurricane Valley Hero

Bryce King never sleeps – or so it seems.

As Director of the Hurricane City Recreation Department, Bryce is on-call 365 days a year, 24/7, and he never complains. Under his direction, the recreation department organizes, directs, and implements activities for all age groups – from pickle ball, yoga, swim, dance, and exercise classes, to youth football, softball, soccer, karate, gymnastics, and 5K races, just to name a few. He directs the Hurricane City July 4th celebration, the August Back-to-School party and Business Expo, assists with the annual Peach Days celebration and organizes the Hurricane City Christmas Tree Festival – all this while serving on the Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors as well as many other city committees. His ideas and vision for city wide recreational activities seems to be unlimited. He implemented video game competitions and installed bike and scooter soft practice ramps for the youth. Since COVID-19 restrictions were issued, he organized scavenger hunts and other activities to help families recreate outdoors without endangering the health of their children or others.

Bryce often remarks that he could not do what he does without the sacrifice and support of his loving wife, Stacey, as well as the help and assistance of his dedicated staff.

Bryce King is a remarkable young man. Because of his unwavering commitment to the residents of Hurricane Valley, he is honored as a Hurricane Valley Hero.

Las Lupitas Mexican Grill Honored as August 2020 Business of the Month

Hurricane Valley residents have enjoyed exceptional Mexican food served at Las Lupitas for over 12 years. The Hurricane Valley Chamber of Commerce members have voted to honor them as the August 2020 Business of the Month.

Las Lupitas Mexican Grill in Hurricane, Utah, is a local favorite. The restaurant was established in 2008 by an Argentinian family who loves Mexican food, the flavor, and especially the salsa. They are happy to announce they have moved to their new location at 460 W. State Street in Hurricane.

The family is always working to improve on their already delicious dishes and loves trying new recipes, but eagerly stress that their secret ingredients are their local customers, visitors, and the Southern Utah community. They have found a forever home in Hurricane.

Las Lupitas offers homemade meals in a family orientated atmosphere and work hard to make their customers feel at home, happy, and satisfied. Every menu item will please the most discriminating customer and their generous helpings will satisfy every appetite, but don’t leave the restaurant without trying their legendary fried ice cream.

The restaurant has successfully weathered the COVID-19 storm and is excited to welcome their loyal customers and visiting guests at their new location.

Las Lupitas Mexican Grill is happy to provide in-house dining as well as take out. Call (435) 635-0206.