The Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award committee at the Town Crier has decided on three top candidates for the community to choose among.

The honor is given to an individual or group who represents EMax’s spirit of community and volunteerism. Prior awardees took actions that created a spark sufficient to bring others into the fray just as Maxwell did with his activities involving the environment.

This year, all nominees are individuals and a group who have demonstrated a tangible, perhaps physical, effect on the community. They also were chosen because they have given, without expecting recognition and mostly behind the scenes, for years and years helping improve our community.

The candidates and their accomplishments, in alphabetical order, are:

1. Dave and Loie Butterfield have been generous donors to the Idyllwild Community Center project. The ICC board noted that more recently, their recent purchase of the former Jo’Ann’s property in the center of town and “their opening of Idypark as a public space is an outstanding contribution to our community. Idyllwild now has a real town center that invites people to relax and enjoy the beauty of the place.

“The site also changed the way in which all the other buildings relate to each other — it provides space to see everything more clearly and to appreciate the way in which our town center is unique. Idypark represents the best of what private individuals can do to affect the public good.”

The Butterfields purchased the 5-acre ICC site in 2006 and then donated it to the San Jacinto Mountain Community Center in 2008. “They subsequently purchased the property adjacent to the ICC site to provide a second access point and make the driveway/parking development possible. They then donated $4 million to the SJMCC to ensure that ICC’s Phase 1 would be funded,” scheduled to open by summer 2019.

Also, their private donations have been expanded for Phase 2, the ICC building.

2. John Holt: The late Idyllwild land surveyor was a close friend of Ernie Maxwell’s through their mutual dedication, activism, care and concern for Idyllwild’s wilderness and conservation.

Holt was an Izaak Walton League member and board treasurer with Maxwell. Holt spearheaded the renaming and dedication of the Scenic Trail as the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail. He pursued the effort through regular meetings of this nationally renowned group.

Holt, Bill Lowman and Dr. Bill Blaschko started Boy Scout Troop 96 in the 1980s. “With the focus on leadership, environment and service,” wrote nominator Karen Smith, “ongoing groups of boys were motivated and dedicated to community and the Idyllwild-area wilderness by these leaders, continuing through their high school years. Many a young man still deeply carries self esteem and devotion to cause and environment as learned through multitudinous hikes and overnights locally and throughout the High Sierras.”

Holt died earlier this year in Oregon where he had moved with his wife, Suzanne, to be near their son Evan and his family.

3. Rotary International of Idyllwild supports numerous causes throughout Idyllwild, including road cleanup on Highway 243; banners put up and taken down for 501(c)(3) events and organization; providing hundreds of headphones for school; scholarships; dictionaries for third graders; contributions to the Boy Scout camp; support of the Idyllwild Help Center financially, assisting with clean up and garnering 300 pair of shoes; support of Harmony Monument maintenance; assist in clean up and maintenance days at Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times; organizing and conducting the annual Fourth of July Parade; ribbon cuttings for new businesses on the Hill; support for the Summer Concert Series; support for Forest Folk shuttle service; the Harvest Festival ; deep pit barbecue; and pancake breakfast.

The seven previous awardees were the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council in 2011, Dawn Sonnier in 2012, Robert Priefer in 2013, Annamarie Padula in 2014, Wendy Read in 2015, Robert Hewitt and Janice Murasko in 2016, and Jay Muldar in 2017.

To vote, fill out the form below (no photocopies) and drop it off at the Town Crier office or mail it to Town Crier, Attn: Emax Award, P.O. Box 157, Idyllwild, CA 92549. Or vote online at The deadline to vote for your favorite nominee is 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9.