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Local businessman hosts Community Appreciation Day

Dec 01, 2017 08:00PM ● Published by Alisha Soeken

Murray resident Donna Gunn in her cosplay role as Super Goof. (Alisha Soeken/City Journals)

Gallery: Community Appreciation Day [3 Images] Click any image to expand.

When push comes to shove it’s easier to protect self then to risk and give. Yet on a sunny Saturday afternoon a man did just that. 

Arturo Urquijo, a young father of two, started his own business in September of 2016 and even after an uncertain first year he celebrated its completion by hosting a Community Appreciation Day at Murray Park.

“We have completed the toughest year in the life of any new business, and we are grateful for the incredible support of our community and friends. I felt like it was my duty to give back to them and to show them my appreciation,” Urquijo said.

Murray families and community members gathered at that event to enjoy food, face painting and fun. 

“I came down to play at the park today with my grandchildren. We saw the bounce house and that was the draw, my grandchildren are having a great time,” said Melissa Callahan.

Donna Gunn, a Murray resident of 12 years and official cosplayer of Disney and Salt Lake Comic Con, also joined the event.

“I just finished my role as Super Goof at the Best Buddies Friendship walk in West Jordan when I heard about this community appreciation day on Facebook. I decided to come out here and make the kids happy,” Gunn said.

Gunn is autistic and feels like events like this are particularly important. 

“As a person with an intellectual disability, I feel it’s important for folks like us to go out and interact with everybody. Many of us feel left out and need opportunities like this,” Gunn said.

Urquijo’s wife Christie agreed. She came with their two children to support her husband and the community.

“There are so many reasons to stay in your own little group. There needs to be opportunities to get out and meet different people because when we make connections with people in our community it becomes more unified,” Christie said.

Because of this Urquijo wanted the event to be free. 

“Making the event free was definitely a burden but I engaged the help of many local business owners that understood the importance of giving back to our community. That alleviated the burden a lot. Special thanks to the doctors and staff of Performance Physical Therapy, they were a key part of this event with their support financially and logistically,” Urquijo said.

Dr. Todd Barber of Performance Physical Therapy was grateful to help.

“Giving back to people and our community is what life really is about. Health care is a giving profession. In many ways money gets in the way of the true gift behind being a health care provider. Bringing people together is the essence of healing, and I am always grateful to be share my business in that fashion,” said Barber. 

 Barber appreciated how events like this not only benefit community members but local businesses endeavoring to grow in an increasingly difficult market. 

“The changing health care climate with insurance and large health care conglomerates have made it difficult for small-time practitioners to compete in the market place,” Barber said.

But despite—and perhaps because of those difficulties—Barber and Urquijo will continue to give to the community they love. 

“Murray is the heart of Salt Lake County. We love it here. The people that come to our clinic and the entire community itself is health oriented, active, and healthy. We love being in this city, and we are grateful to be here to serve the community,” Barber said.

Urquijo agreed and added, “Our Murray neighbors have always shown us their friendly faces anywhere we go. It is a very open and welcoming community. Very industrious and well organized. Doing business in this city is a privilege and we are very lucky to be able to have our office here.” 

Urquijo’s event brought 300 families and seven local businesses together. He hopes those numbers will grow as he plans his next free community event this Christmas.

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