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Duprey is humanitarian of the year

Post Independent/Kelley CoxGarfield Countywide Humanitarian of the Year for 2005, Marti Duprey, right, is congratulated by nominee Lorena Nadon after the ceremony at the Hotel Colorado Monday evening.
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One question Marti Duprey never fails to ask is, “May I walk with you?”For more than 20 years, the Garfield Countywide Humanitarian of the Year Award winner has served various roles at Mountain Valley Developmental Services. But it’s Duprey’s work as a grief counselor, comforting community members during the loss of a loved one, that remains close to her heart.”My mom and dad lost three children, and they never grieved,” said Duprey, amidst a line of well-wishers congratulating her after the 17th annual Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards Monday night at the Hotel Colorado. “Every person grieves differently. They have to find their own path. That is really my purpose – to help them grieve in their own way. I walk beside them because you can’t do it for them, but you can listen.”Duprey, a Nebraska native and former Catholic nun in Chicago’s inner city for 18 years, has lived in the valley since 1973. She has provided grief counseling formally for nearly 10 years.”She never hesitates to avail herself to those of us who have suffered the loss of a loved one,” wrote Barbara Donily, MVDS residential director, in her nomination letter to the Garfield County Human Services Commission’s selection committee. “She helps us to feel the presence of our loved one in the memories we hold in our hearts and, in doing so, find strength in our most vulnerable times.”

Duprey also serves on the Garfield County Local Advisory Council for Colorado West, volunteers for St. Stephen’s Church, visits Glen Valley Nursing Home twice a week, sings at funerals, and acts on the board of directors for Defiance Community Theater.”Marti is one of those people everyone loves and admires,” wrote Mary and Jim Nelson, in their nomination letter. “We need a million more of her.”Karolyn Spencer, Passion for the Mission award winner, is no stranger to selfless acts of kindness. The former Chicago social worker and director of the local Salvation Army founded Feed My Sheep Ministry for the Homeless after a calling from God. Spencer’s ministry offers a day center for the homeless, providing a place for them to get out of the cold, take a shower, eat, pack a lunch and use the phone.”She provides us with spiritual and physical support, helps us with many of the challenges we face, and helps us get our lives back on track,” wrote Joel Jensen, and other members of Glenwood Springs’ homeless community, in one of several nomination letters. “She is selfless, compassionate, and really cares about us no matter what our weaknesses. She deserves recognition by the community for her outstanding contribution.”The combined actions of Glenwood Springs High School seniors Ali Brown, Haley Carmer, Molly Jankovsky and Shauna McWilliams have made supporting non-profit organizations in Garfield County their mission. The winners of the youth team volunteer award created Project TITAN (Trained Involved Teens Assisting Nonprofits) to motivate teens to participate on local non-profit boards.

“These young ladies have all expressed their intent to continue to be involved in nonprofits. We all know the importance of these organizations to the humanitarian needs and ideals that we espouse,” wrote Debbie Wilde, executive director of YouthZone, in her recommendation letter. “These four young humanitarians are leaving a legacy for our community, our nonprofits and the young people who will follow them.”At 25 years old, Peter Jessup is proof age is no barrier to helping others. Bilingual and a trained mediator, the winner of the professional staff award serves as the immigrant community advocate for Catholic Charities. Jessup interviews immigrants, assesses their situations and needs, provides them with information and services available through Catholic Charities, refers them to other service providers and acts as a mediator with others in the community.”I think this is for everyone in this room. I think we should all give ourselves a pat on the back,” said Jessup, to a full house at the Devereux Room at the Hotel Colorado, upon accepting his award. “More than anything, this is just a huge inspiration.”Youth volunteer award winner Trisha McDowell, a senior at Rifle High School, also knows the importance of making a difference in her community. As a community service project for National Honor Society, McDowell serves meals and helps with the new Evening Meal program for seniors in the New Castle area. She recently worked with Colorado Mountain College’s senior programs to develop “Aging in Place,” a project that educates seniors about staying independent in their communities.”I don’t feel I deserve it,” said McDowell, of her service award. “The seniors, they always make me laugh – I take them on as my own grandparents. I just love them.”



Volunteer award winner Mary Riddle has taken her duties as a Traveler driver for the Rifle Senior Center to the next level. The chairman of the center’s advisory board started Grub Getters, a shopping day for seniors who need help with reading food labels, reaching items or making their way around the grocery store.”She has exceeded our expectations in all that she does, and goes above and beyond in her caring and compassion for the seniors in western Garfield County,” wrote Deb Stewart, CMC’s director of senior programs, in her nomination letter. “She is always willing to fill in for others when a substitute driver is needed. Mary gives freely of her time and talents to make each day brighter, and shares laughter and hugs with many of our seniors.”Like Riddle, senior volunteer winner Ralph Koehler, of Rifle, enjoys helping his neighbors. He assists with the ice fishing tournament, chili cook-offs, Rifle Fall Clean Up, Apple Pie Days, Rifle Rendezvous, and decorating the city for Christmas. He received the 2003 Oran Harmon Memorial Person of the Year Award and earned a special commendation from the city for his work on the Centennial Committee. Koehler is a volunteer for High Country RSVP and delivers Meals on Wheels to Rifle shut-ins for Lift-Up.”If it is about Rifle and about his neighbors, Ralph is there,” wrote RSVP director Cheryl Cain, in her nomination letter. “And not just for the fun and companionship, but for all the behind-the-scenes footwork it takes to put these events, big and small, together. He is tireless and selfless and has a heart of gold.”Above and Beyond award winner Ray Limoges is so passionate about helping house community members in need, his emotions sometimes get the best of him. Colleagues say Limoges’ eyes occasionally tear up when he speaks of his work seeking property on which to build Habitat for Humanity homes. Limoges leads board meetings “with the optimism of a child waiting for Santa,” said Dean Filiss, vice president of the local Habitat program.

“There’s a guy out there who wants me to cry,” said Limoges, accepting his award Monday night. “This is a tremendous honor.”Duprey agreed, crediting the Garfield County community for her award. “I am truly honored,” she said. “It has been said, in an old proverb, it takes a village to raise a child. It takes a community to give back … the love I have received, I like to give back.” Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518aclark@postindependent.com


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