Deadline nears to nominate humanitarians for awards |

Deadline nears to nominate humanitarians for awards

Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff

Do you know someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty to help others? A volunteer who unselfishly gives to the community? A young person who, without prodding, extends a caring hand to those in need?

If so, you have until Tuesday, Jan. 14, to nominate that person for the Glenwood Springs Post Independent/Garfield County Human Services Commission Humanitarian Services Awards.

The awards were created in 1989 by the Glenwood Post and the Human Services Commission as a way to honor community members who rarely receive recognition for their actions.

“There are a few people nominated who might be well-known community leaders,” said Julie Olson, Humanitarian Service Awards committee member. “But for the most part, nominees are not people in the limelight. They don’t seek out recognition.”

Dennis Webb, news editor at the Post Independent and a former member of the Human Services Awards Committee, said the initial idea for recognizing humanitarian service by community members stemmed from a series of stories about volunteerism running in the Glenwood Post.

“Robb Krecklow was the Post’s publisher at the time” the awards were started, said Webb. “He was quite instrumental in getting the awards program going.”

And Webb said what started as a little luncheon has grown in stature over the years.

“In keeping with the significance of the work these recipients accomplish, the awards are now given out at a dinner at the Hotel Colorado,” he said.

This year, the awards dinner will be held Jan. 27. Olson estimates six to nine recipients will be selected and honored from nominations submitted by community members (see nomination information, this page). All nominees and those who nominate them are welcome to attend the dinner, along with the general public.

Heather McGregor, managing editor of the Post Independent and a member of the Human Services Awards Committee, said the awards provide a way to acknowledge those individuals who may not otherwise receive well-earned thanks from the community at large.

“Through the nomination process, we learn about people who are doing behind-the-scenes work,” McGregor said. “We might never have heard of them otherwise.”

Nominees are divided into three categories: staff, volunteer and youth. There is also a countywide award given to the overall humanitarian service person.

“We get nominations for people of all ages and all walks of life. The depth of their commitment to make their community a better place to live is profound,” McGregor said.

“It’s important to remember that human service work is done by professionals as well as volunteers,” Olson said. “There are many staff members who give way beyond what their job descriptions ask of them.”

Volunteers have an enormous impact, too.

Last year, the overall recipient of the humanitarian award was Vicki VanEngelenburg of New Castle, Garfield County School Board Re-2 president. Nominated by assistant superintendent Ava Lanes, VanEngelenburg received the award because of her six years on the legislative committee of the Colorado Association of School Boards, and for establishing the Re-2 Governmental Forum, which gives students, teachers, administrators and school board members the chance to meet with legislators on a regular basis. She was also instrumental in the formation of the Garfield School District Re-2 Educational Foundation.

In nominating VanEnglenburg, Lanes wrote, “Vicki is, in my opinion, not only the president of our school board, but a teacher in her heart, a coach in her leadership style and a team builder in her community. … She is the epitome of unselfish servant.”

The awards also honor youth, like 2002 recipient Maggie Becker, then 12, for her volunteer work at Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale, where she visited with patients in the Alzheimer’s unit, and read to those who can’t read for themselves.

For this year’s awards, McGregor, Olson and other members of the award committee are looking forward to receiving nominations of caring individuals.

“I know there are more people out there who deserve this kind of recognition,” said McGregor, “especially with what we went through in 2002 with the fires and mudslides.”

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent/Garfield County Human Services Committee Humanitarian Services Awards will be presented at a community dinner on Monday, Jan. 27, at the Hotel Colorado. Social hour will begin at 5:30 p.m., with dinner at 6 p.m. and the presentation at 6:30 p.m. Seating is limited. Tickets are $20, and may be reserved by calling 945-2632, ext. 101, by Jan. 25.

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