Festival honors Jessup and others for dedication to the Latino community
CARBONDALE – Saturday’s Festival Las Américas awarded locals for their dedication to volunteerism, education, professionalism and humanitarian spirit in the Latino community.Peter Jessup was honored posthumously for his humanitarian work with Catholic Charities as a bilingual mediator within the Garfield County Court system. Jessup, 27, died Aug. 9 while descending from South Maroon Peak near Aspen.
“As heart-breaking as Peter’s death is for the many of us who knew and loved him, the outpouring of love and support we’ve witnessed in the past week has been phenomenal,” said Jim Coombs, immigrant community advocate for Catholic Charities, Western Slope. “We are also inspired by Peter’s memory at a time when headlines and letters have been dominated by immigrant-related tension, exploitation and crime in the Roaring Fork Valley. Club Rotario hopes the Festival of the Americas and these five awards will show the positives that come forth when cultures meet, communicate, and prosper together, and that more valley residents will show the curiosity and joy Peter exhibited in embracing those from other lands.”Also receiving Jackie Morales Awards of Distinction for Community Service Saturday were: Giovanny Anaya in the student category; Adriana Ayala, educator category; Walter Gallacher, volunteer category; and Mark Gould, professional category.Club Rotario Roaring Fork sponsored the fifth annual festival in Carbondale’s Sopris Park. The event offered Hispanic fair food, family-friendly activities and live musical entertainment. Proceeds support scholarships for Latino high school seniors.
“The variety of ethnic foods, arts and crafts, and games and activities available provide content and cultural flavor to the festival, encouraging a multi-cultural day that substantially improves community integration in the valley,” Coombs said. During a town hall meeting in July on Anglo-Latino relations hosted by Catholic Charities in Carbondale, Basalt Police Chief Keith Ikeda hailed the Festival of the Americas as “an excellent annual opportunity for the two cultures to share their best traditions,” Coombs said.
“He added that local law enforcement views the festival as a chance to portray themselves as friends, not enemies, of local immigrants’ security and well-being,” Coombs said. “I have heard similar comments from Pitkin and Eagle County sheriffs’ deputies.”Festival Las Americas, the main fundraiser for Club Rotario Roaring Fork, was created three years ago by co-founders Chip and Marie Munday. Coombs is a newly elected secretary.”We have proven to be among the most active in the region, contributing many volunteer hours to the Salvation Army Kettle Drive around Christmas, staging a successful bowling fundraiser in New Castle in March, and donating over $20,000 in college scholarships to local students of Latino heritage,” he said.
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Roaring Fork School District Superintendent Rob Stein announced his resignation Friday, effective at the end of the school year, saying he will take “a personal sabbatical” next year.