Long-time Gold Prospectors of the Rockies (GPR) member, Ken Barker, had taken over the position of Demonstrations Committee Coordinator in January 2000. The committee was charged with promoting "gold prospecting through the coordination, establishment, and sponsorship of gold panning demonstration booths." He started out with little more than a bucket of dirt, a tub, and a gold pan, and nursed the activity in to one of the most professional and sought after activities of any of the Front Range gold clubs.
Ken brought an air of professionalism to the club and a feeling of unity among the members. He perceived this club and the hobby of gold prospecting as a positive experience for the family as well as the individual.
Ken was elected to the office of vice-president for the 2003 term. Sadly, however, Ken passed away suddenly on the weekend of October 30, 2003. Those who worked with Ken in the panning demos all showed up at the November meeting in period costume and president Gary Hawley established the annual Ken Barker Award in Ken's honor.
The award is designed to recognize the club member who most closely exemplifies the love and passion for gold prospecting that Ken brought to the GPR organization. To be qualified for nomination for the award, a member must
- be a GPR club member-in-good-standing,
- promote gold prospecting,
- promote the Gold Prospectors of the Rockies,
- participate in club activities,
- anticipate the needs of the club and do his/her best to fulfill those needs, and
- contribute to the success of the club with his/her extra efforts.
There is one exception to these qualifications: neither the president nor the vice-president may be eligible for the award.
The recipient of the award is be selected by secret ballot at the club's November general meeting. A write-in ballot form being be made available by the Ken Barker Award Committee to all members in good standing as they check in at the membership table; no absentee ballots are honored. The Ken Barker Award Committee then tallies the ballots within seven days after the November General Meeting and notifies the club president as to the name of the winner. In the event of a tie, the board of directors selects one of the finalists to receive the award.
At the December meeting, the award (determined by the president and board-of-directors) and a "Ken Barker Award" plaque is presented to the award winner.
The first winner, announced at the December 2004 meeting was Donna Mosteller, a particularly appropriate choice because Donna, being the wife of vice-president and 2004 Demonstrations Committee Coordinator Jeff Mosteller, was instrumental as Jeff's right hand in handling the year's demonstrations. The award was personally presented by Ken Barker's wife, Jackie Barker, who also presented the 2005 and 2006 awards.
Annual Ken Barker Award recipients and the years awarded: