Volunteers awarded at Grand River Gala | PostIndependent.com

Volunteers awarded at Grand River Gala

In the past year nearly 200 volunteers at Grand River Hospital District spent more than 10,000 hours delivering meals, improving the lives of patients and helping in any way they could. Last month their selflessness and hard work were rewarded in a night of celebration.

The annual volunteer appreciation gala hosted at the district's Rifle campus featured a buffet-style dinner and entertainment, as well as presentations honoring individuals for their service.

Volunteer Service Director Kaaren Peck said 2016 was an amazing year for Grand River Health volunteers. More than 10,000 volunteer hours were recorded in 2016, valued at more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Josiah Prunty, a volunteer for more than two years, reached 300 hours of service this year and received the award for Young Adult Volunteer of the Year. He is exploring a medical career in physical therapy.

JC and Pat Owen took home the honor of Volunteer Couple of the Year for their involvement in delivering thousands of Meals on Wheels, as well as entertaining patients through pet therapy visits and volunteering in Grand River Gifts. While Pat focuses on pet therapy and working directly with patients, JC has been a part of the Meals on Wheels program for years.

Grand River Meals on Wheels currently has 75 drivers covering five different routes throughout Garfield County. The program covers an area from Parachute to South Canyon and is considered small nationally, as it serves fewer than 100 meals per day.

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Peck, whose department runs the program in western Garfield County, pointed to recent research from Brown University, which said every dollar spent on a Meals on Wheels program saves $50 in Medicare costs.

"As the stories were shared, I realize what a legacy the volunteers at Grand River Health have left and will continue to leave," Peck said. "Help of the volunteers helped build Grand River to what it is today."

The final award of the night went to Dee Parks, Adult Volunteer of the Year. Parks has volunteered with the hospital for more than five years, totaling almost 500 hours.

"The thing that stands out about Dee is that she keeps asking for more and more," Peck said.

In appreciation of their service, the entire volunteer force went home with a native columbine ready for the garden. Award winners received handmade bentwood boxes with copper trim by Alana Lytle.

Music was provided by Fifth Reel and volunteers ended the show by contra dancing, with the "Hat Dance" stealing the show.

For more information about volunteering at Grand River Health or for Grand River Meals on Wheels, contact Peck at 625-6423.

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