Taste of Carbondale | PostIndependent.com

Taste of Carbondale

Kim Doose

It is a special man who can drag a lawnmower across Highway 133 and watch drivers not only stop and let him cross, but also yell a hello.

More than 200 people attended “Taste of Carbondale,” which was June 26 at the CRMS barn. The annual event is the major fund-raiser for the Carbondale Chamber. “What they raise is what they live on,” Leann Katchuk said. This year they raised $20,000.

The party also recognizes Carbondale’s man and woman of the year.

Zeta Epsilon sorority waded through applications and selected David Hayes, who was on hand, and Linda Singer Froning, who will accept the honor at a later event.

Hayes, 53, was born with cerebral palsy.

His mother, Lois, who was a preschool teacher, raised David and his three sisters as a single mom.

That was in the 1950s when there were few options for disabled children. “We had no clue,” she said, “but I always wanted to keep him at home.”

After six years of treatment, David learned how to walk and later, hall of fame instructor Hal O’Leary taught him how to ski. And now plays basketball in the Special Olympics.

While the family struggled through a few tough years on the Front Range, there was little help from the community.

“No one would give him a job.” Lois said.

But things have been different in Carbondale. David has two jobs, one at Co-op and he mows lawns for Crystal Saw Service.

They moved here in the 1970s and have never wanted to live anywhere else.

“The community has always let him live his life to the fullest,” she said.

And according to Doug Self, “No one else gets around more,” he said of the friends David has made over the years. And David reiterated that fact.

“I got a whole bunch!” He said.

But some of those friends may be bad influences on David, as Lois remembered, when David once came home and told her he needed to buy a pair of pliers and she couldn’t understand what he needed them for.

As it turned out, every morning when Bob Nieslanik goes to Co-op for a cup of brew, David watches him pulls his pliers out of his back pocket to stir his coffee.

“He wanted to be just like Bob,” Lois said.

But David has a few admirers himself. “He has this miracle ability to remember numbers,” said Lois of his ability to to recall daily standings and sports scores with an ESPN rigor.

This skill comes in handy for the Hayes’ volunteer work at Church at Carbondale, where David and Lois call other members to remind them to bring refreshments for the 200-member congregation every Sunday.

With David on the team they don’t need a Rolodex because he not only knows all their phone numbers, he’s also memorized their license plates. Which shows that snack time at Church at Carbondale is serious business.

It is also where David has found one of his best friends. When he accepted his award, he asked his pastor, Doug Self, to come up and stand next to him.

“I think every man in Carbondale is Man of the Year because they all teach him something different,” Lois said.

Lynn Kirchner, who presented the award said, “David’s energy lifts our hearts and puts everything back into perspective.”

And while Lois Hayes always knew that, she shares the honor with him.

“My baby is Man of the Year.”

From left, Ambere Cunningham, of El Jebel, works for Blizzard Internet; David Hayes, Carbondale’s Man of the Year, works at Carbondale Co-op and at Crystal Saw Service; Lois Hayes is a baby-sitter; and Al Cunningham, of Basalt.

Carbondale ladies Lori Haroutunlan, left, owns Floral Boutique, and Kathleen Cassin works there.

Carbondale ladies Christine Page, left, is a sales representative for Nobel Sysco; and Sheryl Gordon owns Kitchen Fine Catering.

Carbondale ladies, from left, Sidney Poncelet, owns European Antiques; Barbara Wallace works for Land Title; and Leann Katchuk owns Peak Tent and Party Rental.

From left, Matt Maun owns Lucky Dog Construction; Stephanie Schilling is a paraprofessional at Basalt High School and a florist; and Beth Maun owns the Body Barn. They all live in Carbondale.

Lauri Rubinstein, of Carbondale, and her mother, Judy Pinkham, from Texas, were volunteers at the event and are both Mary Kay directors.

Bentley and Sandy Henderson, of Carbondale. Bentley works in construction and Sandy owns Salon Sublime.

Susie Cheney, left, works at Roaring Fork Family Physicians; and Ann Gianinetti is a mom and a member of Zeta Epsilon.

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