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Cook and Snyder Honored as LCC’s Distinguished Alumni

Prairie Sentry

(Lamar, Colorado; May 14, 2018) Lamar Community College Antelope Night has long been an opportunity for students and families as well as LCC staff and faculty to celebrate students’ accomplishments and gear up for Commencement the next day. It has also become a significant event for alumni as the College recognizes its Distinguished Alumni as the final feature of the event. This Antelope Night, the college named Erroll Cook (1966) and David Snyder (2005) as its 2018 alumni of the year.

Erroll Cook and his family stop for a quick photo after LCC’s Antelope Night on May 4, 2018.

Although both Cook and Snyder are long-term residents of the area and successful in their professions and personal lives, their journeys to college were different.

LCC’s first honored alumnus Erroll Cook graduated from Walsh High School and came straight to college in Lamar. He earned his associate degree, participated on the college’s legendary Livestock Judging team, and successfully transferred to CSU to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Animal Reproduction and compete on the CSU Livestock Judging team.

He worked for CSU while completing his degree and after as manager of the CSU Bull Farm. He and his wife, Gayle (Harlan) – also an Lamar Junior College alum, stayed in the Fort Collins/Greeley area for 21 years, eventually starting their own semen and sale management firm. In the early 70’s, Erroll and Gayle purchased their first cows and bred them to a new breed being introduced to North America – Simmental. That was the beginning of Bridle Bit Simmentals.

Erroll Cook and his family moved back to Walsh with their cattle in 1986 and purchased his father’s business, Cook Oil Company. The family has expanded the business to include ATVs and parts. Bridle Bit Feed & Supply was added later when there was a need for a feed store in the community.

Although Gayle passed away from breast cancer in 2011, Erroll and his three sons, Chad, Brent, & Brad run the family businesses. He now has six grandchildren and one great-grandchild on the way.

As a sign of their commitment to the breed they raise, Erroll’s son, Chad, and he have served at total of 26 years on the Colorado Simmental Association Board. Erroll is committed to improved genetics in cattle through artificial insemination, embryo transplant, and complete data collection from birth to

DNA, and from feed conversion to carcass data. The Cooks market all over the United States as consigner to the Wild West Simmental Sale and the All-Terrain Bull Sale.

Along the way, Erroll has received numerous 4-H and FFA awards as well as the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association “Seed Stock Producer of the Year” in 2006.

Erroll married his current wife, Peggy, in 2013, and she helps with the bookkeeping for all three businesses.

Over the past thirty years, the Cook family has become a pillar of not only the Walsh community but also Baca County. Erroll and the Cook family support just about every worthy cause to do with youth and agriculture in Baca County as well as keeping the Walsh community strong. Through the years, he has coached summer t-ball and baseball teams and served on multiple boards including the Walsh Community Grocery Store, FFA Advisory, Walsh Recreation, and Walsh Elevator Association.

When LCC selected two alumni to honor this year, it believed that they personified who LCC serves. Erroll Cook came to college through the traditional route: first graduate from high school, transition to junior college, then complete a bachelor’s degree at a university.

LCC’s second outstanding alumnus of the year illustrated the importance of LCC’s mission to serve all of our residents in their educational pursuits, including adult students coming back to college to reinvent their futures.

David Snyder’s family accept the Distinguished Alumni award on his behalf.

David J. Snyder graduated from Scott City High School in 1974. After 29 years as a self-employed welder, farmer, and rancher, David Snyder went back to school in 2003 to start his prerequisites in nursing.

It is easy to imagine the leap of faith he took in coming back to college as a 46-year old and choosing the non-traditional field of nursing, but Snyder flourished at LCC. He successfully completed his Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, earning a 3.68 GPA. While at LCC, he was a member of the college’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and was selected as one of the student speakers at the commencement ceremony in 2005.

He was such an influence that his wife, Rhonda, followed him into nursing, completing her RN in 2008.

After graduating, he was floor nurse and director of nursing at Juniper Village, then moved to Maxim Healthcare in 2007. He found his niche in Maxim where he moved from director of clinical services, to administrative officer, to area vice president of clinical operations. He supervised offices and personnel in four states.

No profile of Dave would be complete without acknowledging his strong faith and the family who he adored. He was a long-time elder at the Wiley Community Church and was often a substitute pastor in churches throughout the region.

LCC honored David J. Snyder as an 2018 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year to illustrate how someone can completely and successfully change his life to pursue a new and meaningful career.

Sadly, Dave died on April 23 of this year before he could accept his award. Rhonda and children, Isaac and Rachel, and their families accepted his award for him.

LCC, its students, staff and faculty paused a few moments at its Antelope Night to honor two distinguished alumni that have made a difference in Southeast Colorado – both to their communities and their families.

Early each year, Lamar Community College solicits nominations from community members, LCC faculty and staff, and alumni for Outstanding Alumni candidates, with selections made in mid-March. To nominate an alum for his or her achievements and contributions to their world, find the nomination form at www.lamarcc.edu/alumni-relations. The page also keeps a listing of all former students selected as outstanding alums since the honor’s inception.

For additional information, contact Anne-Marie Crampton, LCC Director of Institutional Advancement, at 336.1520 or alumni@lamarcc.edu.

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