DENVER — Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017 — Today the 2017 Governor’s Service Award winners were announced. The awards are presented in recognition and appreciation to individuals, community/civic leaders, nonprofit organizations, SeniorCorps volunteers, and AmeriCorps members that have positively impacted Colorado communities through their service and volunteerism.

The Governor’s Service Awards are presented by Serve Colorado, the Governor’s Commission on Community Service. Serve Colorado promotes community service throughout the state to build a culture of citizenship, service, and individual responsibility.

Colorado Governors, current and past, recognize the importance of all Coloradans in solving statewide issues, and for the past 20 years have honored volunteers who have made profound change in their communities.

Honorees:

Outstanding Volunteer: Dan Dennie

Dan Dennie has been a community volunteer since his arrival in Northern Colorado in 1998. Prior to moving to Greeley he served twenty-one years on active duty with the United States Air Force. Dan was the chairman for Weld Recovers and a founder of Weld Project Connect.

Outstanding Community Leader: Tom and Corinne Carrigan

Tom and Corinne Carrigan are the co-recipients of the Outstanding Community Leader award for their work leading the KidsPak program, which supplies weekend food to students in Loveland and Berthoud communities who are food insecure.

Outstanding Veteran Volunteer: John Vaught

Throughout his 37-year legal career, John Vaught has volunteered countless hours to help Colorado veterans gain access to justice in this state. In 2012, John founded Colorado Lawyers for Colorado Veterans (CLCV), and, later, the Military & Veterans Affairs Section of the Colorado Bar Association. CLCV provides veteran-specific legal training to hundreds of volunteer lawyers in Colorado.

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization: Book Trust

Book Trust’s mission is to help elementary school children with little or no access to books fall in love with reading and become lifelong learners. This year, Book Trust provided almost 500,000 books for 22,000 Colorado students who chose, read, and loved them.

Outstanding AmeriCorps VISTA Member: Vanessa Moore

As a veteran herself, Vanessa Moore has worked to help meet the specific needs of student veterans to help to ease their transition from military to civilian life and success in college. Moore created and maintains a community resource web to assist veteran students and veterans across the San Luis Valley with financial instability, behavior health issues, and navigating disability.

Outstanding Senior Corps Volunteer: Betty Clark

Betty Clark has been leading Volunteers of America's Mail Brigade on a volunteer basis since its start in 1996. The Mail Brigade prepares and sends mass mailings for fundraising and awareness-raising purposes for local nonprofits, a critical service for nonprofit development and success. In her 20 years of service with this group, Clark has served at least 2,568 hours.

Outstanding AmeriCorps State/National Member: Nicolas Sablan

Nicolas served two terms with La Puente Home Inc.’s AmeriCorps State program in Alamosa, Colorado as a Volunteer Coordinator. Beyond his direct responsibilities of coordinating 397 volunteers who contributed more than 12,280 hours to his community, Sablan filled many of his evenings and weekends connecting with people to complete projects that improved their community.

Outstanding AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps Member: Julie Vang

Julie Vang served two terms with AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) in the Southwest Region with the majority of her service in the state of Colorado. Vang and her teams served primarily with the U.S. Forest Service to manage and mitigate wildland fires in Colorado. This assignment requires a high level of physical readiness as well as a willingness to enter a danger zone and the discipline to implement training to extinguish and/or mop-up a wildland fire.

Outstanding AmeriCorps Alumni: David Ari Collins

David served two years as an AmeriCorps member from 1995-1997 in San Diego, Calif. with the California YMCA/CSU PRYDE AmeriCorps Consortium. In his first year, he served with junior high students and in his second year, he was the statewide Team Leader for all of the program’s members.

Outstanding Returning Peace Corps Volunteer: Barbara Kaare-Lopez

Barbara served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras from 1978 to 1980, finding inspiration in the stories of the people she met. After graduating from Wayne State University’s Nursing School in 1976, she worked as a hospital nurse at various hospitals, including her Peace Corps experience, for 10 years. For 21 years, Kaare-Lopez was a full time school nurse within the Denver Public School (DPS) system.

For profiles on these honorees, visit Serve Colorado’s website.

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