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Friends, neighbors honor Henika at candlelight vigil

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'He was Mr. Volunteer'

By Beth Potter

Friends and neighbors told stories at a candlelight vigil to honor Greg Henika on Sunday evening at Evergreen High School.

Henika, 67, died Thursday after the ATV he was driving broke through the ice on Evergreen Lake. He had been grooming the lake with a plow for a planned ice golf tournament to benefit the Kiwanis Aktion Club, a group for people with disabilities.

Wife Ellen, of Idledale, and daughter Joy attended the vigil but did not speak. The family is thankful for the community support but is still in shock at Henika’s unexpected death, said John Ellis, a fellow Kiwanis member who spoke at the event.

Henika was a tireless volunteer who spent countless hours giving to community events, Ellis said. The best way to honor his memory is to volunteer your time, several in the group said.

Fellow Kiwanis members remembered their friend as a man full of life — ready to help anyone, any time. Many have known one another for decades.

Art Gutierrez said he and Henika served as “ambassadors” at an annual Kiwanis Oktoberfest event the last four years — probably seeing each other so often because after being asked to work one shift, both would end up staying for the entire event.

“He was Mr. Volunteer,” said Don Peters, another Blue Spruce Kiwanis member. “He was the epitome of volunteering.”

To honor Henika, Peters said, he’ll write his friend’s name down as a volunteer for the annual upcoming Kiwanis cowboy breakfast.

Greg Yates, a personal friend, said Henika and others in Idledale are a tight-knit group who have known one another for probably 20 years.

“He was just a great guy. It was a very unfortunate event,” said Yates, of Denver.

Numerous Boy Scouts from Troop 888 attended the event to honor Henika, since Blue Spruce Kiwanis supports the troop, said Mike Thabault, the troop’s scoutmaster. Neither he nor the boys knew Henika, Thabault said.

Jackie and Rodney TeKromy of Golden said they would pray for the Henika family.

“It was very shocking. I feel bad for the family and for him,” Jackie TeKromy said.