County to host Humanitarian Awards virtually |

County to host Humanitarian Awards virtually

Longtime community volunteer Maryhannah Throm, 92, receives a standing ovation after Garfield County Commissioner John Martin presented her with one of three 2019 Humanitarian Service Awards. This year's Humanitarian Awards will be held virtually Monday.
Kyle Mills / Post Independent
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Garfield County has a history of honoring those who selflessly serve the community, and while the pandemic may change the presentation, it won’t stop the tradition, Blythe Chapman said. 

The Garfield County Humanitarian Awards ceremony will be hosted online Monday after a months-long postponement, explained Chapman, a co-chair of the Humanitarian Awards Committee.

“For over 30 years, Garfield County has been honoring and acknowledging the hard work of our volunteers by having this dinner event,” she said. “We may not be having the dinner, but I think it’s still important to acknowledge the amazing work these people do.” 

Most years, the event is hosted in April at either the Colorado River Hotel, in Glenwood, or Grand River Health, in Rifle, but the committee postponed this year’s awards ceremony in hopes of avoiding the pandemic. 

With no clear end in sight, Chapman said the 2020 awards ceremony will instead be hosted on Zoom.

“One good thing to come out of all of this is people can invite as many guests as they like this year,” Chapman said. “And, better yet, it’s free.” 

To attend, people need to register on the Garfield County website, and a Zoom link will be sent out to registrants around 5:30 p.m. Monday. 

The humanitarian awards are hosted by the Garfield County Human Services Commission in conjunction with the Garfield County Board of County Commissioners. This year’s event was sponsored by Alpine Bank and the Post Independent, which initiated the event in 1989.

“The spirit of the event is we really only have this one opportunity to acknowledge the hard work that goes on behind the scenes of our community,” Chapman said. “And, while these volunteers don’t do it for the recognition, we believe it is vital — especially in these trying times.” 

Anyone who’s community service efforts are based in Garfield County can be nominated, regardless of their residency, Chapman said. Nominations are called for around February, and a nomination must include at least three letters detailing the person’s work. 

Chapman explained the awards committee goes through the letters and selects 3-4 “winners” each year, which are given awards with specially selected titles, such as Rockstar, Talk of the Town and The Hammer, based on the information presented in the nomination.

“Not every nominee has to be a volunteer; some are staff,” she said. “But we’re really looking for those individuals who go above and beyond.”

During the awards ceremony, a presenter will introduce each nominee by reading a short list of their achievements, followed by the County Commissioners announcing the awards.

“It may not be what we’re used to,” Chapman said. “But I think this year will be a great opportunity to include the whole community in the ceremony.”

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