Humanitarian awards spotlight community pillars
At the 27th annual Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards Dinner a crowd recognized several pillars of the community; for many the awards follow a lifetime of charity.
The Brouhard Family
With a father and daughter persevering through life-changing brain injuries, the Brouhard family was given the Inspiring Hope Award.
Kara Brouhard lives with disabilities resulting from a childhood ski accident, and her father, Jim, also has health issues from a head injury. Despite these difficulties the family, including wife and mother Alice, “gives tremendous witness to thriving in the midst of life’s challenges. They also are involved with formation and education of those in the community encountering similar issues,” wrote Father Bert Chilson from St. Stephen Parish.
They are active in the Roaring Fork Brain Injury Support group, wrote another nominator. “In this way they reach out and help other who have been affected by brain injuries. This family is a beautiful testament to living an active, abundant life and an example to all families in being supporters of their hometown, Glenwood Springs.”
For his considerable contributions to the area’s nonprofits through time and money, Jim Calaway was given the Visionary Award.
“When Jim Calaway moved into Carbondale in the mid 1990s, a new era of community philanthropy was born,” wrote Colin Laird, director of the Third Street Center.
“He established a new expectation of support for community institutions that far surpassed levels of support in the past.”
Calaway has diversified his contributions and involvement and inspired others to do more along the way, wrote Laird.
“From the arts and education to animals and community facilities, Jim has made Garfield County a much better place than he found it.”
“He has created a legacy we should all try to emulate in whatever way we can.”
He’s deserving of the award, not just this year, but for the past two decades, wrote the Roaring Fork Valley Habitat for Humanity in their nomination.
David Bottroff, founder of the western Garfield County charity Reach Out Colorado, received an award named after his own organization: the ROC Star Award.
His organization serves as a much-needed connecting entity helping people in need find the organizations and services that will help them, said one nominator.
The ROC is now going on four years. “Dave has been selfless in the development of The ROC. He has worked very hard with very little in return.”
Picking up where he’s seen gaps in available services, his nonprofit has established programs that feed students on their three day weekends, buy Christmas gifts for children who would go without, assist individuals and families in immediate crisis or who stranded in the area.
He works to rally volunteers for this effort and jumps in to pack lunches and deliver gifts himself, said another nominator.
Gabe Chenoweth, KMTS radio’s general manager, received the Talk of the Town Award.
“Gabe always makes airtime available for hundreds of local organizations which helps them to achieve success with communication to a loyal and large audience. When other owners and radio stations have sold out for profits, Gabe and KMTS stay true to the mission…support the community and they will support you!” wrote Annick Pruett, community relations director of Grand River Health.
“As a social worker, I often educate staff and clients about the concept of saying ‘no.’ However, I’ve not had the opportunity to educate Gabe on this concept and to be honest, I’m quest appreciative that I have not. Whenever I or any nonprofit requests Gabe’s time and advertising for an event via KMTS, he always says ‘yes,’ which is very fortunate for all of us nonprofits,” wrote Julie Olson, executive director at Advocate Safe House Project.
Barbara Donily, a residential manager at Mountain Valley Developmental Services, won the Heart of Gold Award.
She’s the “ultimate advocate for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Michelle Szydlowski, residential director at Mountain Valley. “To Barb, there is nothing that falls outside of her job description.”
“Barb Donily has been involved in the field of developmental disabilities for sixteen years through her several positions at Mountain Valley Developmental Services,” Jennifer Acha of Mountain Valley wrote in her nomination letter.
“She has witnessed the important and historical changes that have taken place in the field through the movement of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities out of public institutions and moving back to their own communities and has been key to successful placements within our organization throughout her tenure,” wrote Acha.
“Barb is particularly skilled at helping individuals become empowered to set and reach their personal goals.”
Makenna Pruett, a 17-year-old high school senior, received the Future is Bright Award.
For the past three years she’s been volunteering at Grand River Health. “In 2014 alone, Makenna put in 365 hours of volunteering — one hour for every day of the year!” wrote Kaaren Peck, director of volunteer services at the hospital.
Since 2013 she’s put in a total of 800 hours, and last year she was named the hospital’s young adult volunteer of the year. She’s been involved with several hospital programs, including helping create a program for young people to learn about medical field professions.
More recently she’s been volunteering in the hospital’s emergency department, overcoming her supervisor’s anxiety about a teenage working in such a high-stress environment.
Her ambition is to become an emergency department doctor through service in the Navy.
The Above and Beyond Award went to Pam Szédelyi, of Glenwood Springs, who sits on the board and volunteers for River Bridge Regional Center.
And in her 24 years in the area, has volunteered for and served on the boards of many other local organizations. And she founded the local support group Heartbeat, for those who’ve lost someone to suicide.
“Pam Szédelyi has a true dedication to humanitarian efforts. She spends countless hours working for those in need and never seems to tire of this important effort,” the River Bridge staff wrote in a nomination letter.
“When Pam’s compassion and interests centralize on a particular cause, her deep commitment and tenacity are put on ‘full speed ahead and move out of my way because I am going to make this happen!’ attitude,” wrote Mary Lee Mohrlang.
“The mission of helping kids is the reason Pam commits so much time to RBRC. Her organizational strengths add to the commitment, but it is her heartfelt love for these children that drives her to do so much and work so hard for them,” wrote Sheriff Lou Vallario, also president of River Bridge board.