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Beacon Senior News

Vote for the 2020 Volunteer of the Year

Mar 02, 2020 12:30PM ● By Beacon Senior News
Vote for our Volunteer of the Year

The 2020 Volunteer of the Year is someone who goes above and beyond in making a difference in the lives of others. With such wonderful volunteers to choose from, we’re leaving it up to you, dear readers, to vote for the 2020 Volunteer of the Year.

Voting is closed. We will announce the winner in our September 2020 issue!

volunteer of year Laurie Buniger

Laurie Buniger

Laurie Buniger

Nominated by Vida Jaber, Museums of Western Colorado

Laurie has been an exceptional volunteer at the Museum of the West, especially in the Loyd Files Research Library. She has aided the library for many years and completes projects thoroughly and quickly, making her a huge asset in the museum’s re-accreditation process. She organizes the obituaries, re-files the library bookshelves, assists in genealogy, organizes and digitizes two large documentary collections and reestablishes our large oral history collection! Laurie comes in with a wonderful attitude, interacts with everyone and often takes her work home to type inventory lists. Laurie is one of the many volunteers that keep this institution going. Thank you, Laurie, for all your hard work!

Randy Cook

Volunteer of year 2020 Randy Cook
Randy Cook

Nominated by Crystal Brink, Mantey Heights Rehabilitation & Care Center

Randy comes in every day, rain, snow or shine, without fail. He visits every resident at Mantey Heights, and learns their likes and dislikes. The residents look forward to seeing him every day and the staff can rely on him to assist as appropriate. He is always cheerful. Even if he is having a rough day, he never shows it. He is a great volunteer for Mantey Heights and we are lucky to have him.

2020 volunteer of year karen hughes

Karen Hughes

Karen Hughes

Nominated by Megan Tillotson, Roice-Hurst Humane Society

Karen has been an exceptional volunteer at Roice-Hurst Humane Society since 2014. Last year, she gave over 570 hours of her time preparing thank you notes to every donor who gave to our organization—that’s thousands of thank you notes! With a personal touch, Karen ensures that our donors feel the appreciation they deserve, and we are honored to do the same for her. Karen has given countless hours of her time to Roice-Hurst over the years, preparing kennel cards for our cats and kittens, helping with administrative tasks, and being willing to take on anything she is asked to do. Karen’s dedication to helping shelter pets—and showing our gratitude to those who do the same—is essential to our organization.

Jerry Johnson

2020 volunteer of year Jerry Johnson
Jerry Johnson

Nominated by HopeWest

Jerry is a Marine veteran and a man with a huge heart. He is multilingual and a multi-talented man, serving as a HopeWest volunteer, a Spiritual Assembly volunteer, a Character Development for Youth volunteer and a member of the Grand Valley Interfaith Network. Like the Marines’ motto, “Semper Fi,” Jerry is always faithful. He became part of the HopeWest family in 2018 because he wanted to be of service to others. In 2019, he volunteered 914 hours, logging 238 volunteer shifts. Of that, he volunteers for a wide array of programs within HopeWest: as a patient care volunteer he made 65 visits, and as a trained vigil volunteer he sat in 18 vigils. He helped at HopeWest’s Kids Camp as well as the Itty Bitty Camp, where staff shared that “he is sensitive to the kids’ needs and open with sharing his personal experience in a way the kids can relate.” One staff member calls Jerry her “work husband” because he makes sure everyone is provided with water, coffee and treats.

2020 volunteer of year Tricia Powell

Tricia Powell

Tricia Powell

Nominated by Sheryl Click, Hilltop Community Resources

Tricia is an inspiration to everyone around her because of the level of energy and dedication she brings to volunteering for three of Hilltop’s programs. Tricia has been a Hilltop volunteer since March 2017, and gives over 250 hours of service to Hilltop programs annually. As a driver for Supporting Our Seniors (SOS), she helps transport homebound seniors 60 and older to doctor appointments, the grocery store or pharmacy every Monday. As a cooking assistant for Cooking Matters, she helps staff organize and set up for classes and gives out program information at community outreach events. At Residential Youth Services, she helps maintain, organize and complete youth files by auditing them once a youth is discharged from the facility. She also helps with other organizational tasks, such as reviewing and adjusting apartment grocery lists for staff. Tricia truly puts people first, and in doing so, supports Hilltop to fulfill its mission in our community. Tricia also volunteers with the Grand Junction Police Department and CSU Cooperative Extension.

Barb Kremski

Nominated by Amy Neil, STEAM at Tope Elementary

Barb (“Grandma Barb,” as we call her) has been in our classroom for two years now. She is always so helpful to us. She reads with us, she helps us zip up our jackets, passes out snacks, hugs us when we need it, fixes our boo-boos, finds interesting ways to teach us something new and gives us all good advice for the future. We love having Grandma Barb in our classroom!

Cathy Thomas

2020 Volunteer of year Cathy thomas
Cathy Thomas

Nominated by Diane Barger, Mesa County RSVP

Cathy Thomas has made a tremendous difference for children and adults in this community and has been instrumental in supporting RSVP. She has tutored children in School District 51 for the past five years through the RSVP Senior Scholar Project, helping them improve their reading skills. Cathy truly cares about the students as individuals. Cathy’s teacher, Ms. Bullen at Orchard Avenue Elementary, said, “She is kind, welcoming, understanding, dedicated and hard working. Mrs. Thomas goes beyond the work of typical volunteers. She makes connections with kids, and they love and adore her. She has a passion for helping children learn, whether it’s academics, social and emotional skills, or spreading the Lord’s word.” Cathy also makes blankets for Project Linus. Additionally, she took on the responsibility of assisting RSVP in a key administrative role, adding creativity to expand the program to reach more volunteers in the community. Cathy also supports RSVP SHIP, which assists Medicare recipients to understand their benefits.

2020 volunteer of year Deborah Thompson

Deborah Thompson

Deborah Thompson

Nominated by Rosa Culver, Shelledy Elementary

“Miss Deb,” as we call her, has been with us for two years as our Foster Grandmother. In that short amount of time, she has become an essential part of our classroom and community. Every day she comes to school with a warm smile, her heart full of love for the students and true excitement for the day. Her positive attitude is contagious. Students depend on her. They feel valued and wanted in her company. She works with students every day and often asks for help and guidance to improve her craft because she truly cares about their learning. Students are excited to learn and show off their achievements to her. They also are comfortable sharing their struggles with her because they know she won’t judge them and will help them overcome their struggles. Miss Deb is a model Foster Grandmother. If every class could have a Miss Deb, students everywhere would know they are loved and know they belong.

Ed Wacker

Ed Wacker 2020 volunteer of year
Ed Wacker

Nominated by Tami Bunch, VA Western Colorado Health Care System

Ed has been volunteering at the Grand Junction VA Medical Center since 2010 and has given over 5,515 hours! His smile brightens our hallways as he greets patients and staff on his twice-daily mail run, every Tuesday and Thursday. Rain or shine, Ed comes twice a week to help out at our hospital. With close to 200 volunteers at the VA, its hard for staff to get to know all of them, but everyone knows Ed. He is optimistic and cheerful, always willing to help others, and a very good talker—just ask, but make sure you have a more than a few minutes to hear his answer! The veterans and staff at the VA Medical Center are extremely blessed to have such a bright example of volunteering in Ed Wacker.

Becky Walker 2020 volunteer of year

Becky Walker

Becky Walker

Nominated by Carole Chowen, Grand Valley Pets Alive

Becky has been amazing in her efforts to rescue companion animals. She has rushed across town to bring supplies to orphaned newborn kittens, assisted those who need help with TNR (trap-neuter-return), fostered kittens, rescued lost dogs and transported cats to shelters across the mountains. When she received a diagnosis of cancer in four areas of her body, she barely slowed down. Becky keeps up her rescue work while receiving infusions, radiation and dealing with the side effects. She volunteers for Grand Valley Pets Alive and other rescue groups in Mesa County and beyond.