Rifle woman receives Friends of Charity Award | PostIndependent.com
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Rifle woman receives Friends of Charity Award

Kay Vasilakis
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Submitted photo
ALL |

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Sally Brands is a successful, well-respected Rifle businesswoman. Many people only know that side of her.

But Sally is a true multi-faceted person. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll find she has a huge heart. Some people consider her a magician, and at least one person considers her a hero.

Sally is humble and doesn’t consider herself any of that.



Organizations in Rifle and nonprofits of Garfield County are fortunate Sally has such a humanitarian side. Sally makes big things happen.

She was awarded the Monsignor Thomas Dentici Friends of Charity Award at the Catholic Charities annual dinner held at Rivers restaurant in Glenwood Springs on Sept. 16.



“I was really surprised and somewhat embarrassed because lots of people do so many things for Catholic Charities, and I’m not really into recognition for it,” said Sally.” I mostly have ideas, and then get other people to do the work.”

The award is given to “a volunteer who is fulfilling Jesus’ mandate to reach out to those least among us through charity, justice and peacemaking. This individual actively demonstrates how their Christian faith drives and motivates their response to this mandate.”

Rose Burnett and Father Robert Hehn, of St. Mary Church in Rifle, nominated Sally for the award. Seven support letters were written including letters from the Academy of Western Slope Artists and Musicians, Linda Jenks; LIFT-UP, Mike Powell; Habitat for Humanity, Scott Gilbert; Grand River Hospital District, Kaaren Peck; Community Integration Initiative, Jim Coombs and Sandy Swanson; and the Citizenship Drive, Jennifer Smith.

Catholic Charities Regional Director Marian McDonough found out Sally won the award at the Catholic Charities Advisory Board meeting Aug. 18. Sally was then persuaded to come to the Catholic Charities office in Glenwood Springs under the guise of a discussion of establishing a branch of Catholic Charities in Rifle, and was informed she had won the award.

The first Friends of Charity award was presented in 2001 to Monsignor Thomas Dentici, who is a familiar face to parishioners of St. Mary of the Crown in Carbondale and St. Mary’s Parish in Aspen.

The award is a renowned painting by Jean-Francois Millet titled “the Angelus.” It depicts farmers, a man and a woman, standing in a field. They pause in prayer near the end of the work day. The viewer can almost hear the bells ringing in the spire of the church in the distant right of the painting.

“The Angelus” is a prayer practice rich in doctrine and devotion. This practice commemorates the mystery of the Incarnation by reciting certain versicles and responses.

Sixty-three of Sally’s supporters were in attendance to honor her at the Catholic Charities annual dinner, including President and CEO Dr. Jonathan Reyes of the Catholic Charities Denver office, Chief Operating Officer Stephen Carattini, and Director of Community Development Kurt Bartley.

Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Kristen Wilmes said, “Sally is the ultimate can-do person who has a huge heart. She talks abut how the things we want to do seem impossible … and then miraculously finds a way to make them happen.”

Sally introduced Habitat for Humanity to the Rifle community. She started working with Habitat in early 2007, serving on the board of directors and donating a piece of land in Rifle which has become home to two partner families. She assisted with outreach for potential partner families in Rifle; helped throughout the building process, readily using and sharing her contacts and influence with subcontractors as well as researching for a three-house lot to purchase; has been a loyal supporter of the Habitat golf tournament; and now leads Habitat’s land acquisition committee.

Among other local nonprofits Sally lends her support to are the Academy of Western Slope Artists and Musicians, LIFT-UP, the Family Visitor Program and Catholic Charities. She was a founding member of the Community Integration Initiative and continues to be active in that organization. Linda Jenks, managing director for the Academy of Western Slope Artists and Musicians, is one of Sally’s biggest fans. “Sally got all the substantial amount of paperwork together so we now have a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) status. She attends all the concerts and is right out there, sometimes taking tickets, and bringing quality culture to the Rifle community. We wouldn’t be here without her.”

Family Visitor Programs Executive Director Sandy Swanson said, “Sally is always willing to help by being a liaison with people and organizations downvalley.”

LIFT-UP Executive Director Mike Powell considers Sally a hero for his organization. While talking to her one day, he mentioned wanting to bring a LIFT-UP building to Rifle, and she made it happen. She and her husband John Savage bought the land to take it off the market until LIFT-UP could make the purchase, oversaw the construction and leveraged her time to get a multitude of people to donate their time and materials.

One thousand dollars will be donated in her name to the charity of her choice. The recipient will be a nonprofit organization working in charity, justice and/or peacemaking endeavors that does not promote anything against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Sally concluded by saying, “I can only do what I do because of the generosity of the community who never say no when I ask for help, whether it’s free use of copiers for a Citizenship Drive, or construction work for LIFT-UP, or St. Mary’s or Habitat.”

What are the qualifications for an angel?


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