Nominee biographies |

Nominee biographies

Here are short biographies of each of the nominees for the 2002 Garfield County Humaitarian Service Awards, honored in a banquet Monday evening at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs.

The annual recognition event is sponsored by the Garfield County Human Services Commission and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

Youth Volunteers

Natalie Bassett, Carbondale

Natalie Bassett, senior class president at Roaring Fork High School, is involved in many school activities including Student Empowerment, STEP (Students Towards Environmental Protection) and HOSA (Health Occupation Students of America), and maintains a 4.0 GPA.

Lindsey Cheney, Carbondale

Lindsey participates in numerous volunteer service activities at Roaring High School and in the town of Carbondale. She’s a member of the RFHS student council, and Student Empowerment, volunteers with the 9 News Health Fair, and after-school tutoring with local elementary schoolchildren.

Micaela O’Leary, Glenwood Springs

Glenwood High School senior Micaela O’Leary, likes being busy. Good thing, because this co-president of her school’s National Honor Society is also the senior class treasurer, a member of her GSHS’s Climate Committee and Key Club.


Glenwood Springs Elks Lodge

Glenwood Springs’ Elk Lodge stays busy with projects all year long, many of which focus on helping young people, including its sponsorship for Cub and Girl scouts, the American Essay Contest and youth basketball.

Senior Volunteers

Jack Hazelhurst, Battlement Mesa

Jack Hazelhurst volunteers for the Metro District Board and the Chamber of Commerce. He serves on the Parks and Recreation Board, worked on construction of the information cabin at the Parachute rest area, and a skate park.

Louise Mooney, Glenwood Springs

After raising six children, Louise Mooney joined the Peace Corps at age 63 where she served in the Philippines. Now at 83, she has donated 1,200 hours as an RSVP volunteer, and volunteers at the Frontier Historical Museum. She tutors for Literacy Outreach and helps out in the Literacy Room at Sopris Elementary School.

Hattie Norgren, Glenwood Springs

Hattie Norgren was the first person to volunteer at Catholic Charities in January 2000 where she has provided over 500 hours of service since. She serves on the board of directors, volunteers to conduct intake interviews and adopted a client family last Christmas.

Jack Sebesta, Carbondale

For over 12 years, Jack Sebesta has worked with the Tax Counseling for the Elderly and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, offered through High Country RSVP. He has helped many low-income residents with their taxes, and never turns away anyone who needs assistance.

Dick and Helen Smith,


RSVP volunteers Dick and Helen Smith work with the Parachute Senior Center, SHARE Colorado, Garfield County on Aging and Northwest Regional Council on Aging. In addition, they volunteer fro the local Kiwanis Read-Write program at local schools.

Adult Volunteers

Mike Alsdorf, Glenwood Springs

Mike Alsdorf and his wife Lynn started the Roaring Fork Chapter of the Red Cross in 1999. Since then, he coordinated disaster relief for a 1999 Aspen airplane crash, worked to recruit the more than 60 volunteers in the program, created Disaster Action Teams throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, on top of working as a volunteer firefighter for the past 25 years.

Fred Barta, New Castle

From firefighter/EMT for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department for 14 years to charter member of the Glenwood Springs Downtown Business Association, Fred Barta’s volunteerism is wide spread. He’s donated hundreds of hours to the Defiance Community Players, and for the past five years, he has coached youth baseball, where he’s known as Bazooka Joe.

Larry Borgard, New Castle

Larry Borgard is a charter member of the New Castle Lions Club, a board member of High Country RSVP, and an RSVP volunteer. He also works with the New Castle Chamber of Commerce, the New Castle Historical Society, the New Castle Senior Housing Committee and he assists with the New Castle Senior Meal program.

Paul Carlson, Glenwood Springs

The coordinator for Project Graduation in Glenwood Springs for the past 16 years, Paul Carlson has also kicked off similar programs in Basalt and Carbondale. His philosophy is that it’s not enough to “Just say no.” His programs give graduates an alternative to alcohol and drugs, instead providing food, games and prizes.

The late Jeff Hiltner, Glenwood Springs

Jeff Hiltner was the force behind a large cleanup effort in and around the Glenwood Springs area earlier this winter. When he committed suicide in late December, many townspeople wanted him to be remembered for his good deeds, and not just his mental illness.

Judy Huston, Glenwood Springs

Judy retired from teaching in 1999 after 31 years teaching second grade. Now she tutors children in the Project STAR after-school program at Sopris Elementary on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Tom “T.J.” Joiner, Carbondale

T.J. Joiner has been a coach and board member in the Three Rivers Little League for six years. He was one of the founding members of the Roaring Fork Football Foundation, the Rare Breed Football Camp and the Roaring Fork Football Foundation’s annual golf tournament. He has been a football, basketball, gold and baseball coach for Carbondale’s youth.

Lynn Kirchner, Carbondale

Last year, Lynn Kirchner formed the Artisans Task Force, designed to attract healthy growth and economic strength to Carbondale. During the Panorama Fire last summer, she helped relocate llamas, horses and other pets displaced by the fire.

Michael Reyelts, Rifle

Michael Reyelts was a key member of the team that implemented the Even Start program in Rifle, which focuses on family literacy. He has taught English as a Second Language for the past four years. He was instrumental in obtaining an ESL Civics grant from the state of Colorado.

Larry Schmueser, Rifle

Esma Lewis Elementary School Larry Schmeuser sponsors and coaches youth athletic teams, including football, baseball and wrestling. His donations provide uniforms and basketball goals last year, and invites students to his business’ parking lot to build homecoming floats.

Pete Waller, Glenwood Springs

Since moving to Glenwood Springs three years ago, Pete Waller has coached a total of eight local soccer teams. He serves on the Glenwood Springs Soccer Club’s board of directors, the Junior Achievement board of directors, and is the current board president.


Lucy Adams, Glenwood Springs

Lucy Adams runs the Yampa Mountain High School Teen Parent Program, where she has been working for the past 10 years with teen mothers. Her program has grown from serving just three students a year to 30 as more teens become participants rather than going it alone.

Linda Austin-Martin, Glenwood Springs

Linda Austin-Martin is the coordinator of recreational activities at Mountain Valley Developmental Services. For the past seven years, Austin Martin has introduced clients to soccer, Bocce ball, softball, basketball, sledding, bowling and a wide range of Special Olympics sports.

Judy Blakeslee, Glenwood Springs

Judy Blakeslee’s job as the chief civil deputy is described as very difficult, but one she does with a very humanitarian approach. Her work often means she is the bearer of bad news: an eviction notice, a lawsuit, a divorce, yet she does it with an enormous dose of compassion.

Chris Caywood, Glenwood Springs

Chris Caywood is a volunteer firefighter for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department. He answered the page last June 8, rushing to protect his city against the advancing Coal Seam Fire. He did not know, until later that night, that his own home and belongings were consumed by the fire, and his pet cat perished.

Bruce Christensen, Glenwood Springs

Bruce Christensen has worked as the director of Mountain Valley Developmental Services for the past 25 years, growing the organization from the tiny Happy Time school into a multi-county organization that serves developmentally disabled people from infancy into adulthood. He is dedicated to making sure these children and adults get the services they need for a satisfying life.

Chuck Cook, Rifle

Chuck Cook is a regular driver for the Traveler van in Rifle. He never misses a day of work, and makes a ride on his van fun for everyone.

Sally Fuller, Glenwood Springs

Sally Fuller is the media and technology assistant at Glenwood Springs Elementary School, and a key player in the school’s reading program. She knows all the kids at the school, and she makes sure each child finds a reading experience that fits their ability and interest.

Kathy Goodman, Rifle

Kathy teaches at Esma Lewis Elementary School in Rifle, but what sets her apart is her work on committees and special projects. She is part of a school-wide leadership team, is president of the Western Garfield Educator Association and is a member of the school crisis management team.

Carolyn Hardin, Carbondale

After launching Healthy Beginnings, Carolyn Hardin went on to successfully start the Family Rescource Centers of Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs. Their mission is to link students, families and community resources so all students are healthy and can achieve success in school.

Johnny and Kathy Miller, Rifle

As the staff member for Northwest Colorado Youth for Christ, Johnny Miller and his wife, Kathy, launched “That Place,” a hangout for teens in Rifle. They work long hours each week in counseling, teaching, training and retreats.

Margaret Neil and Kelly Borich, Glenwood Springs

Margaret Neil and Kelly Borich work for Dr. Roger Brown, who performs root canal procedures. When nervous patients call the office to schedule, Margaret Neil listens to their fears and compassionately discusses their pain. She forms a trusting relationship with patients. Chairside assistant Kelly Borich talks comfortably with every patient and eases their apprehension.

Julie Olson, New Castle

Julie Olson is the director of the Advocate Safehouse Project, a refuge for battered women and their children. She has taken the nonprofit to a new level of success and achievement. Her most recent accomplishment was launching the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program.

Rosie Wheeler, Rifle

Rosie Wheeler volunteers with Catholic Charities’ Miles of Smiles dental program, more than doubling its dental care for children of low-income families. She also goes to classrooms and instructs all children on proper brushing and flossing.

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