The Lucybeth Rampton Award was established in 1994 in honor of former First Lady Lucybeth Rampton. Mrs. Rampton was a founding member of Utah Heritage Foundation and a lifelong advocate of the preservation of Utah's architectural heritage. The Lucybeth Rampton Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to historic preservation and whose vision and activities have significantly impacted the preservation movement in Utah.
In 1974, Russell Bezette moved New Mexico and built his first adobe cottage. With skills learned over the course of his first project, he began working on other adobe projects in southwestern part of the state. Quickly learning the skills and craftsmanship that go with building with abode, Russell fine tuned his skills, and quickly became very knowledgeable about his trade. He has taught courses at several colleges and university throughout Southern Utah, Nevada and California with his first school being the hands-on workshops of the Southwest Solar-adobe School.
Russell moved to Utah in 1981 and immediately was committed to preservation and using regional, traditional pioneer skill and materials to restore historic adobe structures throughout the state. Realizing the importance of his skills, Russell started Arid Land Consultants, a consulting business that handles contract negotiations, technical consultation in the field of historic restoration and preservation in traditional building techniques.
Operating for nearly thirty with Russell at the helm, Arid Land Consultants has worked on more than sixty projects statewide. Especially talented with adobe, soft-fired clay brick, and mortars, Russell work highlights matching color and hardness for each restoration project sometime forging, by hand, replacement pieces that flow seamlessly with the original construction.
If it's adobe in Utah, you can bet that Russell has played a hand it preserving the structure, but here are some of his masterpieces. The St. George Opera House, Pioneer LDS Church in Enterprise, Washington Relief Society Building, Utah's oldest standing school, the Old Bell School in Pleasant Grove, the Grafton Church, the Brigham Young Co-op Planing Mill in Brigham City, the American Can Company in Ogden, and Utah Territorial State House in Fillmore – and there are so many more.
Russel is actively participates in education and serves as an adjunct professor at Snow College's Traditional Building Skills Institute where he teaches the craftsmanship that goes into repairing adobe structures. In many instances the projects with students are community based rehabilitation projects providing Russell the opportunity to foster public interest and involvement in volunteer training programs that further encourage preservation in the community.
He is a skilled craftsman who possesses extensive knowledge and skill that he is continually sharing by teaching others how to preserve their own communities. His workmanship is consistently high quality. Whether it's researching lost building techniques or contributing to a resource stabilization report, he is always willing to share his knowledge and passion for adobe and historic preservation.
Utah Heritage Foundation presented Russell Bezette with the Lucybeth Rampton Lifetime Achievement Award for his significant impact on historic preservation throughout the state.