Garfield County Humanitarian Awards go to Claudia Flores Cruz, Maryhannah Throm, Briana Rodriguez Cruz | PostIndependent.com

Garfield County Humanitarian Awards go to Claudia Flores Cruz, Maryhannah Throm, Briana Rodriguez Cruz

The other nominees

Antonia Pena — Hispanic leadership volunteer

Beth Wysong — Director, Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program

Dina Prieto — Silt town trustee, civic leader, crime victims assistance volunteer

Glenn Vawter — community volunteer for numerous organizations

Jeff Bradley — Assistant principal, Riverside Middle School

Kathi Arthur — Lift-Up New Castle volunteer

Kim Wilkie — Rifle community volunteer

Lindsay Gould — CASA of the Ninth and River Bridge Center volunteer

Lisa Pierce — Principal, Elk Creek Elementary School

Nancy Allison — River Bridge Center volunteer

Tricia Murray — Garfield County Human Services Economic Security administrator

The volunteers of Valley View Hospital’s “No One Dies Alone” end-of-life support program — Kay Jacobson, Patty Yount, Ron Carr, Pat Hansen, June Herrell, Michele Kingman, Jacquie Tannenbaum, Roger Yost, Keri Hodgin and Mandy Betts. The other nominees

Antonia Pena — Hispanic leadership volunteer

Beth Wysong — Director, Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program

Dina Prieto — Silt town trustee, civic leader, crime victims assistance volunteer

Glenn Vawter — community volunteer for numerous organizations

Jeff Bradley — Assistant principal, Riverside Middle School

Kathi Arthur — Lift-Up New Castle volunteer

Kim Wilkie — Rifle community volunteer

Lindsay Gould — CASA of the Ninth and River Bridge Center volunteer

Lisa Pierce — Principal, Elk Creek Elementary School

Nancy Allison — River Bridge Center volunteer

Tricia Murray — Garfield County Human Services Economic Security administrator

The volunteers of Valley View Hospital’s “No One Dies Alone” end-of-life support program — Kay Jacobson, Patty Yount, Ron Carr, Pat Hansen, June Herrell, Michele Kingman, Jacquie Tannenbaum, Roger Yost, Keri Hodgin and Mandy Betts.

At 92, Maryhannah Throm still hits the nail squarely on the head as a community volunteer.

Known by her friends as “the hammer,” she’s a regular on the Meals on Wheels delivery circuit, and spends many other hours doing various volunteer work in the Rifle area where she grew up.

“I think I get more out of it than they do,” she said Monday evening of those she serves.

Throm was one of three recipients of this year’s Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards during a banquet at Grand River Health sponsored by the county Human Services Commission and the Board of County Commissioners.

“I just like meeting people, and getting to know new people, and old people, and young people. I just like people,” said Throm, who isn’t letting a recent knee replacement slow her down.

She jokes that she has to live to 100, so she can get her money’s worth out of that new hardware.

The other recipients of this year’s Humanitarian Awards were Claudia Flores Cruz, Family Resource Center coordinator for Garfield District 16 schools, and Briana Rodriguez Cruz, a student at Rifle High School, who also volunteers extensively for various organizations.

community first

Flores Cruz says she aims to make basic health services and other resources available to families living in the Parachute and Battlement Mesa area.

“Community drives me to do what I need to do. It’s where my heart is,” she said Monday after learning she was one of this year’s recipients. “Whatever the need is, that’s what drives me to find those resources and services.”

Flores Cruz received the “Shining Star Award,” as each year the awards are tailor-named for the individual recipients.

Her nominators said Flores Cruz does bring a ray of hope to the families she serves.

“Ms. Flores Cruz has devoted countless hours of her free time to causes she believes to be benevolent and in need of her support,” wrote Jose Paz, director of Head Start for Denver Public Schools.

“She does so without interest in recognition or expectations of gratitude,” he said. “She won’t hesitate to lend a helping hand by visiting and understanding specific needs of a family or coordinating efforts to fund raise and gather goods.”

Sherry Loschke of Rifle said she has known Flores Cruz since she was in the fifth grade, and giving has always been one of her qualities, she said in writing a nomination letter.

“Since she was a child, she has always looked for the positive in everything and in any situation,” Loschke wrote.

Said Flores Cruz of receiving the award, “It means that my work is helping others, so I’m going to continue. And it means that the community is responding to our services and resources.”

YOUTHFUL INSPIRATION

Briana Rodriguez Cruz received the “Inspiring Youth Award,” so named for her willingness to jump in and assist wherever she can be of help. That includes building houses for Habitat for Humanity, serving meals at the Extended Table soup kitchen in Rifle, making crafts at Grand River Hospital and volunteering at the E. Dene Moore Care Center.

“Every since I was little I was dancing, and I always loved to be involved in my community,” Rodriguez Cruz said after receiving the award Monday. “That made me want to know more people, and I thought volunteering would be the way to do that.

“I really enjoy meeting new people of different ages, and meeting people older than me and getting their life stories, and how they’ve helped the community.”

Wrote Jessica Hernandez in nominating the RHS student, “Briana is a role model for everyone who has the blessing to know her in school and in the community.”

She also helps exchanges students at RHS to feel welcome, Hernandez wrote.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

Throm’s plaque was aptly etched with the words, “The Hammer Award.”

In introducing her as one of the award recipients, County Commissioner John Martin offered, “Do what you can, do it with a smile, enjoy the people who you are doing it with, and the people you are doing it for.”

Among her nominators were Rifle native and former Colorado Speaker of the House Russell George, as well as members and a former pastor at the Rifle United Methodist-Presbyterian Church, where Throm has been a fixture for most of her life.

“It was always a treat to meet her on the street, or at church, at 4-H, or any event,” George wrote in his nominating letter. “She is always the same: donating her time, talent, goods and wisdom in her genuine, cheerful, nurturing and plain-spoken way.”

Added Methodist Church member Shirley LeMoine in her nomination letter for Throm, “To me, the best thing she did was to help me grow as a Christian, to enable me to realize that serving others with no expectation for reward, was to be my highest goal.”

jstroud@postindependent.com


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