Realtor, restaurant honored for their philanthropic efforts | PostIndependent.com

Realtor, restaurant honored for their philanthropic efforts

Dennis WebbPost Independent Staff

She started the Angel Project and is viewed by many as an angel herself.He took over management of the Village Inn restaurant and helped make it a village institution benefiting Glenwood Springs and beyond.Donna Fell and Ted Churchill both have made helping others part of their business missions. On Wednesday, their efforts were recognized by the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, which named Fell Real Estate the Small Philanthropic Business of the Year, and Village Inn the Large Philanthropic Business of the Year.”Donna has a special place in her heart for people with special needs,” chamber president Marianne Virgili said.One way Fell has helped the needy is through the Angel Project. When she is selling a home and the new owners want to replace good carpeting or other items, Fell donates the items to low-income families. She also has enlisted others in the real estate industry and community organizations in the Angel Project cause.”Donna does not stop at her own personal commitment. She has the ability to inspire others,” Virgili said.Virgili also cited Fell’s support for the developmentally challenged weavers at Mountain Valley Textiles. She recognizes their birthdays with cards and balloons, takes them and their staff out for picnics or pizza, and buys gift certificates from the weavers as real estate closing gifts, to promote their store.Fell also has adopted needy towns in India, gathering 300 coats from the Glenwood area to send to them. And she has become active regarding brain injury issues while helping her daughter Carrie overcome such an injury over the last 11 years.Fell cited the philosophy of a friend who she said once told her, “You know, I believe if you meet a man without a smile, if you just give him yours that can change the world.””That can be taken on so many levels and I think that’s a beautiful thing,” she said.The Village Inn is one of the top-10-grossing Village Inns in the United States. But Churchill said when he became its manager, he struggled with how to make it seem like a local presence rather than just a corporate one.He decided one solution would be not to say no to requests for assistance from the community.But he joked with chamber members Wednesday, “You do stuff like this (award), I might have to start saying no. … If everybody knows, that kind of ruins it.”Churchill said he has particularly sought to support arts and culture in the area. The restaurant has donated pies to numerous theater, dance, music and arts groups, as well as to education, sports, ambulance, scouting, and other causes. The restaurant donates batter for area pancake breakfasts put on by organizations such as Kiwanis and Rotary, feeds participants in the Strawberry Days Rodeo, and gives meals to soldiers and their families through Operation Vacation.Virgili described Churchill as “generous by nature.””There really is not a person that asks for help that Village Inn will not give a meal to,” she said.


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