Jeff Cannon doesn’t like being the center of attention. Cannon — this year’s Arvada Chamber of Commerce Man of Year — is a 5th generation Arvadan who volunteers with the Chamber, Sister Cities International, the Arvada Jaycees in addition to his work with North Metro Community Services, where he is a support partner who helps developmentally disabled individuals.
“I always try to sit in the back and help. I don’t like being the guy in front. It’s very nice to have (the award). I’m deeply honored by it and I still want to be the guy who does my little part. If we all do our little parts, we’ve got a pretty wonderful Arvada,” Cannon said.
Arvada Chamber of Commerce President Kami Welch praised Cannon’s work with the Jaycees and the Arvada Harvest Festival Committee and general contributions to the community.
“(Cannon) has made a lasting impression as a volunteer in Arvada for over 40 years. His leadership in particular with the Arvada Jaycees and Arvada Harvest Festival has helped maintain a cultural fabric of our community that makes Arvada a great place to live and do business,” Welch said.
While the Harvest Festival was canceled last year, Cannon is hopeful for the event’s return, emphasizing it’s importance to the community ahead of its centennial anniversary.
“We’re trying as hard as we can to nail down a location and keep the city happy about what we’re doing. The Harvest Festival started in 1925, so we’re almost 100 years old. It’s been a tradition for so long that I’d hate to see it go by the wayside. We’re just trying to get it to 100 years,” Cannon said.
Aside from his work with the Jaycees and the Harvest Festival Committee, Cannon volunteers with Sister Cities International, a nonprofit that partners cities across the world together to strengthen global bonds (Arvada’s siter cities are Jinzhou, China and Kyzylorda, Kazakhstan).
Cannon said that he enjoys volunteering with Sister Cities because he believes in the impact that international connections can make — as exemplified by the lighting of the Arvada Water Tower in Ukrainian colors to show support for the country amid its war with Russia.
“That’s the kind of thing we need to be doing. Helping not just ourselves but other people around the world. What better way to make friends than have international ties and be part of what they’re doing and trying to accomplish? They see what we’re doing, and I think it makes it a better world if we’re all trying to get along,” Cannon said.
Cannon also emphasized the work that the Chamber of Commerce does to help the local business community.
“The chamber’s work is really important. They give small businesses that can’t afford it the resources they need and the information they need. The chamber does amazing work,” Cannon said.
He said he was surprised to win the Man of the Year award, as he’d gone back to working full time with North Metro Community Services helping developmentally disabled individuals get out and engage in the community.
“Other than falling out of my chair, I was pretty shocked. I’d gone back to work full time; I didn’t think people remembered some of the things that I did,” Cannon said.