‘Doc’ Jackson lands Spirit of the West Award | PostIndependent.com
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‘Doc’ Jackson lands Spirit of the West Award

Heather McGregor
Post Independent Editor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent
ALL |

Veterinarian Carter Jackson received the 2010 Spirit of the West award Monday as part of the 22nd annual Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards.

Surrounded by family and friends, Jackson accepted the award from Garfield County Commissioner John Martin during the awards dinner held at the Hotel Colorado.

“His work ethic is hard to match,” Martin said of Jackson, who spent more than 30 years as a large animal veterinarian, served on numerous boards, and preserved most of his ranch as open space.



More than 200 people packed the Devereux Room to honor 19 nominees, from “Doc” Jackson to high school student Mariah Martin.

The nominees were divided into four categories: senior, young adult and adult volunteers and staff. Each nominee was recognized with a presentation and framed certificate, and then the Garfield County commissioners presented top humanitarian awards to one nominee in each category.



These winners were Landon Churchill of Rifle as the young adult humanitarian, Don Kaufman of Glenwood Springs as the volunteer humanitarian, Sandy Sekeres of Rifle as the senior humanitarian, and Corrine Merritt of Glenwood Springs as the staff humanitarian.

For those attending the heartwarming evening, it was clear that all 19 nominees are winners who stand out for their many unique ways of providing humanitarian service in Garfield County.

Volunteers are “the foundation of the community and the thread that makes this a great place to live,” said Commissioner Tom Jankovsky.

He also recognized the staff of organizations and companies represented at the dinner. “In these tough times, your leadership is needed. You are on the front lines, and we thank you very much.”

Master of ceremonies Dustin Dodson of Grand River Hospital noted that Garfield County boasts beautiful scenery, but said “the beauty of Garfield County is right here in this room. Let’s celebrate those who give so selflessly.”

The evening began with a special remembrance of Kay Vasilakis, who passed away suddenly last October after serving as the driving force behind the Humanitarian Service Awards and the Garfield County Human Services Commission.

Julie Olson, executive director of Advocate Safehouse and a fellow Human Services Commission member, presented a plaque to Emily Hisel, daughter of Kay Vasilakis.

“Kay was always willing to give of her time, her energy and her pen. She was one of the top advocates for human services in the county by writing the Nonprofit Spotlight for the Post Independent,” Olson said. “Kay was very well loved.”

The plaque is etched with one of her favorite quotes, the statement by Clarence the angel from the film, “It’s A Wonderful Life,” who said, “Remember, George, no man is a failure who has friends.”

Olson then prompted everyone in the room to offer up a toast “to remember a very dear friend.”

The program for the evening was to shine a spotlight on the 19 humanitarians nominated by friends, family and work colleagues for their outstanding service. Others involved in human services took turns reading descriptions of the accomplishments of each of the nominees.

They related funny anecdotes, impressive accomplishments and touching insights.

Commissioner Mike Samson told the story of Landon Churchill rescuing a tiny mouse from the scene of a house fire during his very first call with the Rifle Fire Department.

Pat Horwitz of Sopris Therapy Services noted that since Donnalyne LaGiglia started a youth suicide prevention program, the county has had no youth suicides.

Mike Powell of LIFT-UP said people rave about the meals that Marie George makes at the Rifle Senior Center, but noted, “She says it’s because all the meals are made with love.”

Mary Baydarian, Garfield County human services director, said one student who nominated Brendon Langenhuizen called him “truly a hero of my life.”

And Patty Daniells of High Country RSVP recognized Pam Szedelyi as “the person who opens her eyes, her ears and her heart to the world.”

For descriptions of all 19 nominees, please see page 3.


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