Grateful for Glenwood nomination campaign paying it forward to boost morale, and help businesses emerging from pandemic shutdowns

Sunshine & Moons bakery is one of the Glenwood Gold participating businesses. In this November 2019 photo, owner and pastry chef Sarah Niebler is shown with a fresh batch of sugar cookies.
Matthew Bennett/Post Independent file

Jackie Skramstad had some people in mind when Alpine Bank, Glenwood Springs Ford and Glenwood Insurance teamed up to launch the Grateful for Glenwood campaign last month to recognize those in the community who do good deeds.

She nominated several people she believes have made an impact during the coronavirus emergency, both for her personally and in terms of helping the larger community. Among them were:

  • YouthZone director Lori Mueller, “for making sure the vulnerable youth in our community continue to have access to needed services.”
  • Literacy Outreach director Martha Fredendall, “for providing support to people in our immigrant community during this time.”
  • Marian McDonough, “for working tirelessly to serve people in our community needing rental and housing assistance.”
  • And, her yoga instructor, Eliza Fulton, for continuing to do her yoga classes via Zoom, “so that myself and others can continue to focus on our health and well being.”

In turn, it wasn’t long before Skramstad found herself among the nominees. McDonough nominated Skramstad for her work as a behavioral health specialist with Mind Springs Health.

“Jackie grew up in our community and moved back after she finished college, with the great ‘give back’ attitude of supporting those with mental health issues,” McDonough wrote. “She has been a critical leader to removing the stigmatism surrounding mental health so all those needing services are able to access them.” 

The stories are similar throughout the other 250-some nominations, each about giving back to the community in some way.

Nominees are entered in a weekly drawing that concludes this week for $100 in “Glenwood Gold” community currency to be redeemed at more than 40 participating businesses.

That was the whole idea behind Grateful for Glenwood, said Kate Collins, one of the organizers of the project as community outreach director for Alpine Bank.

“Everybody needs more feel-good stuff right now,” Collins said. “Even the process of nominating someone is exciting and uplifting for the people doing the nominating, as it is for those getting the bucks.”

When the public health crisis hit this spring, Alpine Bank in Glenwood Springs had been gearing up to throw a big 40th anniversary bash in April. Instead, the bank decided to put the money toward the Grateful for Glenwood campaign.

“As things were starting to shut down and our local businesses were having to close, we just felt it was the only right thing to do,” said John Stelzriede, Alpine Bank-Glenwood president.

The Glenwood Gold bucks are issued in the form of a special certificate that has a QR (Quick Response) code that can be scanned at the participating businesses.

The special currency can also be purchased through the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association as part of its local stimulus efforts.


“The idea for us was that this could be used as seed money that would grow into bigger sales for the businesses,” Stelzriede said.

Indeed, they’ve heard numerous stories of winners redeeming their $25 increments at a business, and going above and beyond with their purchases, he said.

And, what better way to celebrate 40 years serving the Glenwood Springs community.

“In my mind, this is far more gratifying to have repurposed the dollars we would have used for the celebration, because it truly involves the community,” Stelzriede said.

The currency program itself, with its use of the QR code, has been a positive byproduct for businesses who have had to adapt to different ways of conducting transactions, Collins said.

“This crisis has necessitated a lot of changes in the way we do things, and digital currency is one of those things,” she said.

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