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Volunteers and organizations still found ways to help the Evergreen community in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Four individuals and one nonprofit were honored last week as part of the Evergreen …
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Volunteers and organizations still found ways to help the Evergreen community in 2020 despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Four individuals and one nonprofit were honored last week as part of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce’s Honoree Celebration. The awards presentations were put into a video that is available on the chamber’s social media rather than the traditional dinner.
The community made the nominations and voted on the winners, who said they were honored by the awards and in good company with the other nominees.
“As always, the chamber is so gratified to have the assistance of the community to point out all of the great works being done by individuals and organizations in the community,” said Evergreen chamber President Nancy Judge. “It’s always nice to have their eyes and ears to tell us about the good work they do.”
She called 2020 a difficult year for people to volunteer because so many nonprofits were closed because of COVID-19, yet they found ways to be engaged with the community.
It takes a village to be a good leader, according to Betsy Hays, the director of resource development at Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice, and she gave credit to others for allowing her to be a good leader.
Her work was honored last week when Hays was named Leader of the Year by Leadership Evergreen. Before coming to Mount Evans in October, Hays was president of the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce, where she helped businesses navigate through the pandemic.
“I was so impressed with her efforts, and this is what came across in the nomination forms,” said Mary Jo Reinhard, president of Leadership Evergreen. “Everyone was so impressed with the work she did for members of the chamber as well as nonmembers to help everyone through the pandemic.”
Reinhard said Hays was deserving of the award, “especially during a time when businesses needed to be bolstered and assisted during really tough times.”
Hays called the award an honor to be recognized for her work last year, though she also credited county officials, her staff and the presidents at the Conifer and Platte Canyon chambers for working together to help businesses.
“We worked hand in hand to find creative ways to help businesses and residents understand what the rules were — and that we should not give up,” Hays said. “That’s what leadership is. Leadership is leading the team, not doing it by yourself.”
Other nominees were Jefferson County Commissioner Lesley Dahlkemper and Cindy Latham, who chairs the Rotary Wildfire Ready program.
Bootstraps Inc. has provided scholarships and loans to area graduates since 1947, planning to give 30 recipients $220,000 this year to help them pay for college expenses.
“We were honored to receive (this award) on behalf of the donors and the students that we serve within the community,” said executive director Colleen Skates, who has been with Bootstraps for 20 years. “It speaks volumes, especially this year, that we are so well supported by the business community and the donors (because) they consider our mission so valuable that they continue to support us.”
Bootstraps has awarded more than $4 million in support to graduates in its 75-year history.
Other nominees were Blue Spruce Kiwanis, Center for the Arts Evergreen, Epic 4x4 Quest, Evergreen Music Festival, Jeffco Public Schools in Evergreen and the Jefferson Center for Mental Health.
Bruce Anderson, owner of Anderson Insurance Agency, believes it’s his responsibility to give back to the community — so he does.
Whether it’s Evergreen Rotary, the Salvation Army, Evergreen Recycle Day, the Foothills Home & Garden Show, Center for the Arts Evergreen, Boogie at the Barn or the Evergreen chamber, Anderson is always there, noting that it’s important to support the community that supports his business.
He is most proud of the re-envisioned Boogie at the Barn held outside at the Wild Game in September that raised $14,000 for the INSPIRE special needs program.
“We don’t volunteer in the community to win awards,” Anderson said. “There are certain causes I believe in, and it’s the right thing to do as a business. It’s one of our core values.”
Other nominees were Cathleen Timmons, Kristy Tolan and Dusty Dodge.
New businesses need one-on-one support, and Carol O’Brien, who volunteers for the Evergreen chamber’s ambassador program, has dedicated herself to helping business owners succeed. An architect for 30 years, O’Brien says she learns as much about area businesses as she provides support.
“I think it was nice when I first joined (the chamber) that there were ambassadors reaching out to me,” O’Brien said. “I learn about the new businesses and more about the community, and I like the friendships that you make with other ambassadors.”
Janice Holmes was the other nominee.
Conifer High School senior Molly Widlund doesn’t just say service to others is important; instead, she created a club at her school called the Conifer Humanitarian Society with a mission to help others.
“Because of COVID-19, we noticed the community was really in need,” Widlund said, so her club made care packages for the homeless, hosted a mask-making event and clothing drive, and organized students to become nursing home pen pals and to clean up along the South Platte River.
“This is such an honor,” Widlund said. “It’s a recognition that people are actively trying in the community to make positive changes. The chamber is such a supporter of youth in our community.”
Other nominees were Alexa Weakley and Serena Weingardt.
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