The winner of the 2019 Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit award is Phyllis Mueller, chief of staff to Idyllwild’s Mayor Max. File Photo

This year’s Ernie Maxwell Community Spirit Award goes to Phyllis Mueller. 

“I do consider it such an honor,” said Mueller. “Ernie Maxwell is such a legend and I admire him. Winning this award makes me very happy.” 

Mueller serves as the chief of staff to Idyllwild’s beloved Mayor Max. Mueller works tirelessly to get the mayor to engagements that promote Idyllwild, its businesses and community to not just the nation, but the world. There are many hours spent by the mayor and his staff, who dedicate time to the community and tourists. The mayor has made countless television and media appearances. All of the time and appearances are coordinated by someone, and that someone is Mueller. 

“I follow Mayor Max on Facebook and am wholly impressed and inspired by the time and energy that Ms. Mueller dedicates to spreading the message about compassion, giving back and community appreciation truly remarkable,” wrote one of the voters on their ballot. 

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.

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

The eight previous awardees were the Mountain Communities Fire Safe Council in 2011, Dawn Sonnier in 2012, Robert Priefer in 2013, Anna Marie Padula in 2014, Wendy Read in 2015, Robert Hewitt and Janice Murasko in 2016, Jay Muldar in 2017 and Dave and Loie Butterfield in 2018.