Who We Are: Ginny McBride volunteers tirelessly for the Colorado National Monument Association
Editor’s note: Who We Are is a regular series featuring men and women who embody the unique spirit of the Grand Valley. To nominate someone to be featured, e-mail email@example.com.
When Ginny McBride moved to Grand Junction almost four years ago, she fell into volunteering with the Colorado National Monument Association “by total accident.”
Work brought McBride’s husband Andrew from Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction — he’s employed by the Department of Homeland Security’s local Transportation Security Administration office. McBride agreed to the move sight unseen, and the first thing she saw when they arrived off the plane was the majestic Colorado National Monument.
“That’s not real,” McBride remembers saying to her husband when she laid eyes on the western wonder, and then they beelined for the entrance.
“When we bought a house, we moved next door to the (then) monument superintendent Joan Anzelmo,” McBride added, which initiated her interest in volunteer work with the CNMA (a nonprofit group that supports and raises funds for monument programs).
Whether it was luck or accident in meeting Anzelmo and finding the CNMA, McBride takes her volunteer work for the monument quite seriously — to both support national lands and the local community.
“As the board chair for the Colorado National Monument Association, Ginny has been invaluable in helping formulate work plans, budgets and communication strategy,” CNMA executive director Linda Spinner said. “In addition, she provides a soft touch through genuine thoughtfulness for employees, volunteers and NPS staff.”
According to McBride, volunteering and fundraising for the monument has grown even more important since sequestration cut government funding to the National Park Service starting in 2013.
“This is an interesting time for the Park Service and the cooperating associations,” she said. “Federal budgets are shrinking, but Americans want and deserve the best national parks and monuments possible.
“They are relying on us more to do bigger and better things for them.”
One of those “bigger and better” projects is funding and building a kids welcoming area at the east end of the Colorado National Monument, including benches, bathrooms, picnic tables, bicycle racks, and a water fountain.
“The kids entrance is one of the biggest projects by the association to date,” McBride said. “We’ll be starting it in 2014, and we want to have it done by 2016, which is the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. That’s a big birthday for them.”
The CNMA is also having a milestone anniversary of its own — 2014 marks 50 years in service to the monument. And throughout 2014, expanded fundraising opportunities will be held in support of both the association and the monument. There will be an invigorated push for new CNMA members as well.
“Under Ginny McBride’s ambitious direction, the association is forging partnerships with local business and national groups to draw more attention and support to the Colorado National Monument,” CNMA member and Loki Outerwear owner Seth Anderson said. “ … Whether the monument attains park status or not, the association is dedicated to promoting and also protecting this area’s most dramatic geologic curiosity and main tourism draw.”
McBride supports a change from monument to park status, however, and she remains hopeful it will happen soon.
“(Many) people don’t understand what the monument is, and park status recognition as a national park is key to the next step in the monument’s evolution in this valley,” she said. “The association supports the monument being designated as a national park, and the most important reason we support it is that the monument deserves it.
“Some of the oldest layers of exposed earth are in the monument. The Chinle layer — the lowest, darkest section — is more than 3 billion years old. All that richness and color — that’s the richness of the earth at the equator 3 billion years ago! And some of the oldest juniper forests are in the monument.”
When McBride isn’t volunteering with the CNMA, she’s “enjoying the heck out of” her new hometown. She loves hiking with her dog, Benny, and spending time with her husband. She also telecommutes for her job as the senior vice president for government and client relations for Perfusix, a medical company headquartered in Greenwood Village, Colo.
“Perfusix’s purpose is to increase the number of lung transplants performed in the U.S. using a new procedure that evaluates and preserves lungs outside of the body,” McBride wrote in an email. “The procedure is called Ex-Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP) and it has been pioneered by lung transplant researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada.
“Its first facility to perform ex-vivo lung perfusion is being built in Silver Spring, Md.”
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