This year’s Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award went to Dave and Loie Butterfield.

“We are blessed to be able to contribute to the beautification and preservation of our precious mountain community for all to enjoy. We thank all the volunteers and others for their help and support,” said Dave.

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.

The Butterfields have been generous donors to the Idyllwild Community Center project. The ICC board noted that 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.

Nominations for the annual Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award come from community members. Then, Town Crier staff choose the top three. The community then votes for the winner. Winners’ names are engraved on a plaque in the Town Crier office.

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.