Prinsters win the top Garfield County Humanitarian Service Award |

Prinsters win the top Garfield County Humanitarian Service Award

Phillip Yates
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” A packed audience inside the Devereux Room at the Hotel Colorado celebrated the volunteerism of dozens of people whose efforts have made a difference in the community.

The hundreds of people who flocked to the Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards dinner Monday night gave a standing ovation for Teo and Carolyn Prinster, the 2007 Garfield County Humanitarians of the Year. Twelve other people were also presented with awards during the dinner Monday night.

“These Garfield County citizens are always willing to help, and quick to do whatever is asked of them,” Kay Vasilakis said of the Prinsters.

Vasilakis, who is the community editor for Glenwood Springs Post Independent, helped organize the humanitarian service awards dinner and was its master of ceremonies.

In accepting the award, Teo Prinster hugged his wife, Carolyn, and said, “if you have an angel like this, you can do a lot of things.

“She is my treasure,” Teo Prinster said. “I give her so much credit.”

Carolyn Prinster said she couldn’t even begin to say how she felt after she and her husband won the award Monday night.

“I was thrilled to death to be nominated,” said Prinster, adding that she and her husband volunteer to help the community, not to win awards. “It is wonderful.”

The Prinsters have contributed to Literacy Outreach and have assisted St. Stephen’s Catholic Church on several projects. The Prinsters have also supported “Tom’s Door” card sales.

Profits from that effort support area residents’ needs for rent, utilities and other emergency expenses. The couple has also helped with the Extended Table for several years.

The couple also privately sponsors three individual scholarships for Colorado Mountain College students who are in need and who could not otherwise afford to attend college. The Prinsters have also been major supporters of Valley View Hospital, specifically of the heart and vascular center since 2005.

Other winners at the Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards included:

– The Volunteer Couple Award winners are Sharon Andersen and Alex De La Garza. They are both involved in Literacy Outreach, and Andersen organized and helped lead Spellebration last year. Andersen has also contributed many hours as a Roaring Fork Hospice volunteer. De La Garza teachers English as a second language at Colorado Mountain College and is an advisor and advocate to his students.

“Thank you so much. I am so flattered. I just don’t know what to say,” Andersen said.

– In the youth category, Arrick Peck was the winner. He has worked with Sunlight Mountain Resort’s Young Adult Ski Patrol for three years. He enrolled in its outdoor emergency care course in the fall of 2005, progressing through the ski season by gaining proficiency in ski and toboggan handling.

“I wasn’t expecting this at all. I am not sure I deserve it. Thank you all for this,” Peck said after receiving the award.

– The senior winners were Barbara Jean “BJ” Barker and Rusty Burtard. Barker directs traffic at school crossings and 5K runs, picks up trash and delivers meals for Meals on Wheels. She is also active with the Grand Valley/Parachute Kiwanis. Burtard has worked for Special Olympics and Mountain Valley Developmental Services. She is also one of the original gardeners of Carbondale’s community garden.

“I can’t believe it. I am so honored,” Barker said.

Burtard, in her acceptance of the award, said, “I don’t think until you give of yourself you give at all.”

– Virginia Knittle is the Good Neighbor award winner. She has made significant contributions during Carbondale’s Museum Week, cooks meals for Feed My Sheep, helps with LIFT-UP and the Extended Table, and helps at the Carbondale Community United Methodist Church.

– The staff winner is Neyma Rodriguez, who is the resource coordinator in the Glenwood Springs office of the Family Resource Center. She provides Spanish language parenting instruction at the Love and Logic Parenting classes.

“I just want to say thank you to my team. I have a great team. I am bilingual. I am bicultural. I love what I do. I love to help my people. I know what it is to get here and start a new life in a new country,” Rodriguez said.

– The volunteer award winner is Rhonda Coller, who for 25 years has sponsored New Castle’s Easter Egg Hunt. The event takes months of preparation on Coller’s part. And she does it with her own money, too.

– The Dynamic Duo winners were Hector Parra and Logan Piccolo, who are both in middle school and have volunteered for Sopris Therapy Services for the last three years, providing equine-assisted therapeutic programs for disabled children and adults.

– Mildred Alsdorf and Mickey Neal are the Wonder Twins award winners, a category that recognized the duo’s efforts to help senior programs in the area.

Alsdorf was asked to become a part of the RSVP advisory board after retiring from the county clerk’s position after 28 years. She then agreed to co-direct senior programs.

Neal co-directs senior programs along with Alsdorf. She is on the RSVP board of directors and is involved with the Red Cross disaster relief planning. In three years as a RSVP volunteer, Neal has accumulated more than 2,000 hours.

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