Thornton: Scottsdale leaders come together to salute heroes

HISTORY MAKERS: Pictured above are Cheri’ Valentino, Bob Parsons, Carroll Huntress, Renee Parsons, Jeff Meyer, Mark Stanton, Kurt Brueckner, Anne Wellington, Ken Harder, Martin Harvier and Jim lane. (Photo credit: Peter Jordan Photography)

A principled understanding of how you got to where you are today is a positive perception that can only be gleaned through a fundamental understanding of myriad variables that fell into place.

Much of our print edition this month is a salute to those who came before us in Scottsdale and how an appreciation of efforts by those people make the community what it is today.

In early May, the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual History Hall of Fame celebration.

Terrance Thornton

The 2019 Scottsdale History Hall of Fame inductees were recognized May 9 at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch, 7700 E. McCormick Parkway, Scottsdale.

The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce and the Past Presidents Council did a phenomenal job honoring the people and organizations that greatly contributed to the legacy of making the community of Scottsdale the special place it is.

Those who were honored were:

  • Banking executive Ken Harder, the former chair of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce and past Charros Baseball chair, who has served on city boards and commission for more than 25 years;
  • Cactus League President and business owner Jeff Meyer, past patron and foundation chair of the Scottsdale Charros; and
  • Scottsdale-based philanthropists Bob and Renee Parsons who have provided millions to local charities touching Scottsdale youth and beyond.

Other inductees were: Jim Wellington, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community and the beloved Sugar Bowl.

Chamber officials say a portion of proceeds, which was generated by the more than 400 in attendance, benefit the Scottsdale Historical Society and its Little Red Schoolhouse.

At the onset of the meeting, beloved Scottsdale resident, Charro and business owner Don Carson gave an impassioned speech to those in attendance.

Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Mark Stanton presides over the 2019 installation of the Scottsdale History Hall of Fame inductees. (Photo courtesy of Peter Jordan Photography)

His message: Cooperation.

“We have a lot to be thankful for,” Mr. Carson said at the onset of the evening. “All of the things we have yet to accomplish is to be done by people like us. Life is too short to bicker — we must all compromise.”

Following his heartfelt speech rousing presentations for each recipient were had, awards were bestowed and anyone in attendance could feel the positivity echoing throughout the Scottsdale Resort ballroom.

In attendance were the movers and shakers of Scottsdale — and in some cases, perhaps the world — and all were in agreement with each other, their efforts and the undoubted worthiness of the Sugar Bowl’s induction to the History Hall of Fame.

“If there is one place that deserves to be in the History Hall of Fame it is the Sugar Bowl!” proclaimed Mr. Parsons during his acceptance speech as he spoke of his lifelong love of the ice cream parlor.

But aside from accolades and personal congratulations, each recipient shared heartfelt memories of what Scottsdale has meant to them over the years, and, perhaps most importantly, the family members and friends who helped them get to where they are.

Both myself and Scottsdale Community Advocate, Gary Shapiro, who has a guest commentary a few pages ahead had the same impression of the event.

“Some people vilify and demonize their opponents as the enemy. Nothing could be further from the truth. We just need to do a better job of knowing each other, engaging each other and seeking common ground,” he said in his writing following the event. “Fundamentally, it helps to remember who we are. We’re all neighbors. We’re friends and family. We’re also your kids’ Little League coaches. We’re congregants in the same houses of worship.”

Gary Shapiro, Scottsdale community advocate

The Scottsdale Independent serves as a corporate citizen of the community of Scottsdale and our media sponsorship of and experience at the History Hall of Fame event was an exemplification of all we — collectively — do for the betterment of our society.

A view of the crowd gathered at the sold-out event honoring the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce’s inductees into the History Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy of Peter Jordan Photography)

Independent Newsmedia Arizona Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at

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