On Saturday, Feb. 23, at Kathmandu restaurant, the Nederland Community Champion Awards were announced as friends and families dined and cheered the award winners. Sponsored by the Peak to Peak Healthy Communities Project, High Peaks Art Festival, the Town of Nederland, the Mountain-Ear and Kathmandu, the award ceremony honors those people who give of their time, labor and expertise to make the Nederland community as vital and healthy as it can be.
The awards are given to volunteers chosen by the community non-profit organization they serve and to the other members, students and employees of the community who have exhibited work above and beyond the norm and who have put their heart and soul into their schools, business and government.
Nederland’s voice, Dave Felkley, Ali Johnson, president of the PPHCP and Treasurer Barb Hardt announced the winners and handed them certificates as the spectators applauded.
The Nederland Champion Volunteers included: Ann Sherman, Chris Current, Margaret May, Tracy and Alan Brewer, Teresa Bradley, Brent Warren, Diana Maggiore, Justine Erwin and Carole Handler.
Anyone can gripe about problems with our schools and many do, but it is the rare individual who actually steps up and does something to make a difference. That person is Ann Sherman of the Nederland Middle/Senior High School’s Parent Engagement Network. Several years ago an issue arose at the Middle School that had parents coming out of the woods to complain, yell, argue and demand. Through all of this chaos, a calm, clear thoughtful voice emerged.
At first Sherman stood back to assess the issue. Then she brought people together to problem- solve, to listen to each other and to move forward with a new vision. Her thoughtful insight, her compassionate and caring manner, her positive and safe way of including others has birthed Ned PEN. Since the spring of 2010, Sherman has been the backbone, the leader and the force behind Ned PEN.
This group of involved parent and teachers has worked to provide a safe, caring and inclusive environment at our schools, and Sherman has always been the one guiding, inspiring and empowering others to do more, do better and keep on going.
She has brought many wonderful cultural events to our school, organized and led enrichment classes and assemblies, facilitated student diversity activities and acted as a liaison between PEN, TEENS, Inc., and other community groups. Whether she is driving students to a diversity conference in Denver, creating thought-provoking bulletin boards in every hallway for the students, or organizing teacher and staff appreciation events, Sherman continually works to create a more inclusive environment at the school for all students.
Sherman has always acknowledged others, bringing their work to the forefront while she stays in the background.
Chris Current is tireless, dedicated invaluable and compassionate. She is the heart and soul of the Nederland Food Pantry. Current spends 25 hours weekly stocking and acquiring food, managing volunteers, preparing grants and ongoing fundraising. She is the quiet champion to hundreds of pantry recipients.
Chris Current deserves this award because she provides food for a lot of people in the community without any help to find the food. She even spends her own money to make sure everybody has something to eat.
May has been hyperactive in the Nederland Area Seniors for the past two years serving as vice president and chair of fundraising, which included starting the raffle and bingo. She was chair of the Holiday Mountain Market and recruited people to work in all phases of the program. She started the silent auction for the Market and was also a helper for third graders at the Nederland Elementary School.
Tracy and Alan Brewer
Tracy is the coordinator for Peak to Peak Soccer, and a member of the Nederland Community Center Foundation Board where she serves as treasurer. She helps coordinate Art at the Center and she serves as equipment manager for the Nederland Youth Hockey Association.
Alan is a member of the Nederland Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Board where he heads up the Nederland area Saws and Slaws program, while also participating in Coal Creek Canyon Saws and Slaws events. He serves as treasurer on the RINK Board of Directors and coaches for the Nederland Youth Hockey team.
The Brewers are truly an inspiration to the area volunteer community, each successfully integrating multiple high-level volunteer activities into their busy schedules.
Teresa Bradley was named Volunteer of the Year for years and untold hours of dedication to the Mountain Forum for Peace’s Annual Yard Sale, the biggest fundraiser of the year which requires man hours beyond belief. She has also taken it upon herself to find the help she needs to sort and display literally tons of children’s clothes, games and miscellaneous items.
Bradley has a special talent of inviting children and their parents to participate and play while getting the work done. Her caring is not just in helping raise funds for the MFP, but also in providing great deals for families who are in need.
It is a huge task and amazing to have this portion of the sale seemingly run by itself, decreasing the stress for the main organizers.
Brent Warren deserves the Volunteer Award for his outstanding service to the Mountain Forum for Peace for more than eight years. He wears many hats and wears them all well.
His accounting skills as the senior’s treasurer are no doubt enhanced by his abilities as a prestidigitator. Warren’s web mastery keeps the MFP mostly current with the technological world and he is designer extraordinaire for many of the organization’s flyers and always the newsletter.
Warren has given up many hours over the years, and for this, the MFP expresses its appreciation by nominating Warren for the MFP Volunteer of the Year.
Diana Maggiore has been a regular Wednesday volunteer at the Nederland Community Closet for a year now. She is committed to the success the Closet and it is obvious in the extra efforts Maggiore makes as a volunteer. Not only does Maggiore show up without fail, but she organizes all of the Closet recycling for CHARM and then drives it all to the recycling facility in Boulder.
This is a huge undertaking for a volunteer and Maggiore does it with a smile on her face. Her commitment to recycling and the Closet have allowed us to send unusable donations to be recycled instead of sending it to a landfill. She is a huge asset to the CC.
Justine Irwin has been nominated on behalf of the Nederland Area Historical Society for her hard work and dedication to the organization for many years. She has helped the Board through a very trying year of putting together a complete inventory of the Mining Museum, closing the museum early and helping to close the deal with Boulder County on the purchase of many of the assets of the museum as well as maintaining historical records as needed for the organization.
Irwin has scheduled docents for the Museum for many years as well as worked on the cleanup crew each spring to get the Museum ready to open. She has been invaluable in her suggestion and ideas for Miners’ Days and implementation of Living History Days for several years.
Handler is the type of person everyone wants on their volunteer staff. She is always ready to do whatever is needed at the Nederland Community Center with a smile, competence and enthusiasm. She is available to fill in the many unexpected gaps that frequently occur in an all-volunteer schedule and voluntarily assumes responsibilities as she freely shares her many talents with professionalism.
Dawn Baumhover, Community Center coordinator said, “It has been my privilege to have Carole as a community center volunteer for the past four years and I am pleased to be able to publicly recognize her dedication.”
The following have been chosen as community champions in the town.
Nederland Town Manager Alisha Reis nominated Chris Pelletier. Although the Utilities Operator Chris Pelletier is generally a quiet person, his presence is recognized throughout the staff and in the community. He began working for the Town in April 2011 in the water and sewer operations division. He learned the complex duties of his job quickly to become an invaluable member of the Public Works team. Despite the sometimes challenging nature of his job, Pelletier maintains a positive attitude in his work and interactions with residents. Very rarely does anyone hear Pelletier complain. He has set high priorities for the Department and works with his supervisor and others across departments to fulfill his work.
Pelletier has been responsible for many major repairs over the past couple of years that had been long deferred and resulted in vastly improved operations of the Town’s utilities. He and another Public Works employee discovered a sizable leak near the Mining Museum, which had been thought to be a naturally occurring spring.
Pelletier and his coworker refused to take that legend at fair value, and they conducted a test that showed the water was chlorinated, flowing from the Town’s water system. He has been instrumental in the planning and execution of the new wastewater plant, as well as at the increased efficiency of the water plant.
Many of these accomplishments might go unnoticed by many in the community as these facilities are underground or out of sight. Pelletier contributes to a well-operated utilities system and the quality of life in Nederland. He should be the Town Employee of the Year.
The PPHCP chose TEENS, Inc., as the Best Non-Profit
The Teen Center has been a steady part of the Nederland area since the mid-1990s. At that time, the teen gathering place was in the downstairs of what is now the Mountain People’s Co-Op. TEENS, Inc., received its non-profit status in 1997. In 2000 the newly constructed Teen Center was opened to the public and became a safe area gathering place for local teens.
In 2002, Chinook West was created to offer an alternative education to students looking for a hands-on education in a different learning environment than the typical high school experience. Students from Chinook West receive a diploma form the Boulder Valley School District.
By 2012 the Center came up with new ideas, including the expansion of youth work programs, the creation of the graffiti wall and continued community service within Ned. TEENS, Inc., is a wonderful example of a Nederland area non-profit that goes above and beyond the expectations of the community.
Randy Lee was chosen as the Best Government Volunteer for his unwavering dedication and commitment to the Town through countless hours of meeting, research, networking and leadership of the Parks, Recreation and Open Space Advisory Board. He is always very informed, prepared, steadfast and persistent. He represents the town so well to others and is able to succeed where others might flounder.
Uma Furung received the Outstanding Youth Award for her work as a youth employee at TEENS, Inc. She is incredibly sweet, quiet and bright. Three years ago, she moved to the United States with her family and since then she has struggled at Nederland High School, where she has had to learn English, her fifth language, catch up on the curriculum and adjust to a new culture, entirely different from her village in Nepal.
In a scholarship essay she wrote about goals and how challenges affect one’s character. She told a story of when she was younger and lived in Nepal, her mother had fallen deathly ill and her family had no option but to carry her to the hospital, a two-day trek. As she waited to hear news of her mother, she realized she wanted to become a doctor and open a hospital in her village in Nepal. The end of the essay said, “I may not be the most talented but I am a hard worker and I am determined to bring the light of education and medicine to the world.”
Casey Henrikson, Andrea Kinzey-Wheeler and Larissa Albright all won the Educational Excellence Award
Kinzey-Wheeler is a National Board Certified Teacher who worked extensively on material adoption for the Boulder Valley School District. She balanced a class of sixth graders and accelerated fifth graders for a trial year with style and grace. Students really think in her room. Learning through manipulative group work, intuition and trial and error, students learned that process is more important than the solution.
Albright is a champion because she does not accept the idea of limitations, understand her gifts and abilities and uses those gifts to make those around her better. She sends crucial messages to her students. I have high expectations and I expect that you meet them, and I will do whatever it takes to help you meet them. She delivers these messages to students on a daily basis. Herickson spends a lot of hours taking care of the Nederland PTA and the school, basketball teams, every field trip and every event, she will be there.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The most prestigious award, The Lifetime Achievement Award, was presented to Dale Porter, who is described as being the best thing to happen to the Nederland Community Library from 2001 to 2010.
Porter is a jack of all trades. As president of the library board, he had knowledge about state and local law and forming a library district. He was adept at fundraising, grant writing and was handy with a drill, a paintbrush, a hammer and shovel and an expert at assembling and disassembling book shelving.
He has a strong back and a truck to haul books, furniture and tents as needed. Add to all that, leadership skills to guide Board members, volunteers and staff to plan, design and build a permanent home for the Nederland Community Library.
Porter is not one of the people who attends the regular Nederland Area Historical Society meetings; however, he and his Betty are the main volunteers that make the Gillespie House a reality for the Nederland Community. They have been involved in the project as primary caretakers of the house for about four years. About 100 schoolchildren have been known to go through the house in a single day and they are always greeted by Porter and Betty who dress in era clothing and teach the children about washboards, stoves, shoemaking, antique photos, antique wagons and more.
The Nederland Community Center is fortunate to have Porter bring his experience and talent to the Foundation Board. He collects information for future projects and grants and is continually in service to the community.
He is not only organized and diligently responsible for numerous projects, he is also a kind, steady and motivating leader. He puts in an amazing amount of time and effort attending meetings, following up on his objects and being available for the Community Center Board members, making the center a viable entity due in-large-part to his efforts.
If you know someone who should have been among the award winners, store it in your memory and then let others know about that champion next year.