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Humanitarian Service Awards nominees

Garfield County is blessed with hundreds of humanitarians who spend significant parts of their lives improving the lives of others.

Each year, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and the Garfield County Human Services Commission work together to recognize some of these humanitarians through the Humanitarian Service Awards program.

These are the 35 people recognized Monday for their service:



Rachel Zancanella is the winner of the 2003 Youth Volunteer Award.

In 2002 when the Coal Seam Fire hit Glenwood, Rachel set up and ran a food and drink base at the fire’s incident command post, while her family was displaced from their home by the fire.



At school, Rachel is a peer counselor, and member of Key Club and Student Council. At her church, she is an alter server and choir member, she is scuba certified and working on her pilot’s license, and she has a junior pal through YouthZone.

Sadie Thimsen volunteers with YouthZone in the Pals Program, and volunteered at the Colorado Animal Rescue shelter and Valley View Hospital.

Maxine Harris is one of the youngest teen mentors in Sopris Therapy Services Fun with Horses program.

Haley Hubbell is a YouthZone volunteer and a Link Leader at Rifle High School, tutors students who are struggling and serves on Student Council. She volunteers as a Salvation Army Bell ringer and as a soccer coach for the Rifle Recreation Department.

Bob Campbell of Parachute is the winner of the 2003 Senior Volunteer Award.

He serves as treasurer of the Grand Valley-Parachute Kiwanis Club, and is a member of the Sheriff’s Auxiliary. He coordinates the crossing guard program at St. John Middle School and sits on the school district’s accountability committee.

His award came for his work as a driver and coordinator for the Radiation Driver Program, which provides rides for cancer patients from western Garfield County to the treatment center in Grand Junction.

Virginia Erickson of New Castle is the winner of the 2003 Countywide Humanitarian of the Year Award.

Erickson volunteers with the High Country RSVP program, is a literacy tutor and pen pal in the schools, has been a volunteer emergency medical technician for the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District Ambulance Service, a volunteer with the New Castle Historical Society, and a member of the New Castle Lions Club. She has also served as a trustee for the town of New Castle and an election judge.

Hilda Sykes of Rifle is focused on programs to promote senior wellness in Rifle and Parachute. She helped organize the first Western Slope Senior Wellness Conference and dances with the “Lady Strutters” Senior Line Dance Exhibition Team.

Richard “Dick” Smith of Parachute is a former college professor who tutors students at Bea Underwood Elementary School. He repairs computers and teaches computer skills to other seniors, is active with the Parachute Chamber of Commerce and is a past president of the Grand Valley Kiwanis Club.

Robin Tolan is the winner of the 2003 Adult Volunteer Award.

She was a founding member of the Roaring Fork Education Foundation and a key organizer for the Roaring Fork Marathon footrace. She took on a similar task for Literacy Outreach and its Canyon Shuffle race. She serves on the YouthZone board and as a soccer and tennis coach.

Tolan is also the founding director of Junior Achievement of the Roaring Fork Valley.

Charlene Sherman of Glenwood Springs was nominated by her neighbor, Matthew Prosence. She volunteers at Valley View Hospital, picks up litter every day in her neighborhood, supports church activities and helps out her neighbors.

Don Kaufman of Glenwood Springs is an attorney who takes on many cases at no charge for people in need. He is a volunteer for Garfield Search and Rescue, serves on the state Board of Workman’s Compensation Education Association, and chairs the Victim’s Assistance and Law Enforcement Board.

Jan Kaufman of Glenwood Springs, Don’s mom, has given over 8,500 volunteer hours at Valley View Hospital, and served as the auxiliary’s president in 1999 and 2000. She manages the hospital’s Heart-to-Heart Gift Shop, which funds scholarships for health sciences students. She is also a leader in the League of Women Voters chapter.

Patty Harris of Glenwood Springs is enrolled in a hospital chaplaincy and pastoral counseling program, and serves as Valley View’s volunteer chaplain.

Barb Barnes of Glenwood Springs launched the Planetree HealthSource Library at Valley View and is a 15-year member of the Valley View Hospital Auxiliary.

Terri Miller of Glenwood Springs is the leading spokesperson and fund-raiser for the Let’s All Pledge effort aimed at building a swimming pool at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. She also serves on the board of the Two Rivers Community Foundation, volunteers for youth football, baseball, hockey and swim programs and organized the Glenwood Springs Twins Club.

Julie Myers is a dedicated Girl Scout leader and service unit manager.

Tom Jankovsky of Glenwood Springs uses his position as manager of Sunlight Mountain Resort to benefit humanitarian causes. Examples are Skier Appreciation Day for United Way of Garfield County, and hosting training and regional competitions for Special Olympics.

Linda McFerrin of Glenwood Springs volunteers for Catholic Charities’ emergency services program, helping people who need food, clothing, shelter, medical care and transportation. She also manages the vehicle donation program, is an active school volunteer and a member of the building fund for the new St. Stephens Catholic Church.

Alex de la Garza and Sharon Andersen of Glenwood Springs volunteer for Literacy Outreach, and Andersen is a member of the advisory council for Colorado West Regional Mental Health Center. They orchestrate Spellebration, and de la Garza tutors Spanish-speaking students in English, and has trained the Literacy Outreach staff in computer systems.

Chris McSwain of Glenwood Springs worked with school district officials, the police department and City Council to establish a safe crossing for school children across Grand Avenue. Her work led to the formation of a fifth grade school safety patrol at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, involving 22 students serving as crossing guards.

Claudia Griesser of Carbondale volunteers for Sopris Therapy Services. She takes photos of patients during their sessions on the horses, frames them, and gives the prized mementos to the patients.

Linda Leatherman of Parachute is the winner of the 2003 Staff Humanitarian Award.

She served as Bea Underwood Elementary School secretary for 22 years, and is now secretary for the Grand Valley Early Childhood Literacy Center and District 16’s new Teen Parent Program.

She is a mother to hundreds of children and staff members, writing notes of comfort, encouragement, birthday wishes, and positive thoughts a part of her everyday life. She organizes parties and events, and her efforts are important to the school morale.

Cheryl Hurst Page of Glenwood Springs is the winner of the 2003 Lifetime of Service Award for her consistent support of Garfield Legal Services and the Garfield County Human Services Commission, an umbrella group for the county’s helping agencies.

Mike Blair of New Castle is the winner of the 2003 Visionary Award.

He is the principal of Bridges High School, where kids who might otherwise be high school dropouts get a chance to learn and earn a diploma in an environment where they can feel accepted and safe. He created the school in less than two months, hiring teachers, locating students and borrowing space. From that start seven years ago, Bridges has given dozens of kids an avenue to academic success.

Martha Fredendall of Glenwood Springs is the winner of the 2003 Above and Beyond Award. In the past five years she has built Literacy Outreach into a stronger, more stable organization that helps people learn to read, and helps Spanish-speakers learn English.

Dana Damm of Glenwood Springs helped found the Garfield County Association of Family Childcare and has worked hard to upgrade support and licensing for child care in the county.

Linda Shoup of Rifle is the accounts manager for senior programs at Colorado Mountain College, where she handles accounts for the senior lunch program, the Traveler van program and the High Country Retired Senior Volunteer program.

Don Bell of Parachute is the lead driver for the Traveler bus service from the Rifle office, and the lead instructor for new drivers in defensive driving.

Jerlyn Nieslanik of Carbondale is the director of Carbondale Senior Housing, which provides housing for over 60 seniors.

Mike Powell is director of Lift-Up, which serves unemployed and needy people from Parachute to Aspen. He manages the Extended Table free dinner program, holiday food baskets, the Angel Tree gift program and food and clothing banks.

Marie Hale is the Miles for Smiles coordinator, a partnership between Catholic Charities and Kids in Need of Dentistry. Hale is a school volunteer and member of the JustFaith program, which aims to increase awareness of charity, social justice and peacemaking.

Violet Mooney is the custodian of the New Castle Branch Library and makes the library a clean, welcoming place. She started a recycling program, is a Spellbinders storyteller and works hard on preservation of historic books.

Julie Martin used to be a veterinarian, but she now works for YouthZone as an outreach manager. Fluent in Spanish, she works closely with the valley’s Latino families and was a key volunteer for the recent Latino Youth Summit.

Wanda Berryman has worked for the Garfield County Public Health Nurse as the immunization program director, as a nurse case manager for Healthy Beginnings, and was the founding staffer at Healthy Beginnings. She is now in her second stint of leading Healthy Beginnings as it merges with the Mountain Family Health system.

Members of the 2003 Humanitarian Service Awards selection committee are Julie Olson, Nancy Reinisch, Pat Horwitz, Shelley Hanan, Kate Somsel-Longmore, Bruce Christensen, Heather McGregor and Kay Vasilakis.

” Kay Vasilakis contributed to this report.


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