2018 Governor’s Service Award winners announced

DENVER — Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018 — Gov. Hickenlooper today recognized the recipients of the 2018 Governor’s Service Awards at a ceremony held annually in their honor. 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.

“These volunteers inspire hope. They are making people’s lives better and creating positive change in our communities,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We owe them a special thanks as they build and support our love of place.”

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.

The 2018 honorees include:

Outstanding Volunteer: Miguel Gonzalez
Miguel volunteers with Grand River Meals on Wheels, LIFTUP Meal Monkey, and at Rifle High School. He recently received the Garfield County Humanitarian Award. Meal Monkey is a mobile lunch program that provides free lunches for children on Fridays and throughout the summer, helping to maintain student nutrition year round. Miguel has helped with Meal Monkey for the past three years and even recruited his replacement team as he prepares to go to college.

Outstanding Community Leader: Scott Segerstrom
Scott led conservation corps crews in Utah and Colorado before serving as a Wilderness Ranger and Wildland Firefighter. Scott joined Colorado Youth Corps Association (CYCA) in 2011 as associate director and became the executive director in 2014. In 2017, CYCA enrolled 671 young people in AmeriCorps service to build and maintain nearly 300 miles of trails, remove 22,174 invasive tree species, treated 1,726 acres for urgent risk of woodland fire, and contributed more than 34,000 hours of service.

Outstanding Veteran Volunteer: Cliff Kahl
Cliff served as a bombardier and still maintains a sense of service for his country as a Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteer in Weld County. As part of the Seniors Helping Other People (SHOP) program, he uses his skills to provide estimates for the cost and design for modifications that meet building codes. In 2009, RSVP received an unoccupied building to expand their space, and in 2016, Cliff assisted in all the repairs and adapting the building for the SHOP program’s use.

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization: Youth Celebrate Diversity
Youth Celebrate Diversity has a 25-year history of bringing teachers, community members, and high school students together for the Cherry Creek Diversity Conference. This event welcomes more than 1,000 high school students and teachers from every geographical and socioeconomic background in Colorado. Students learn about social topics affecting their schools and are challenged to conduct an empowerment project back in their school or community after the conference.

Outstanding AmeriCorps VISTA Member: Roxanne Bumgardner
Roxanne serves as a resource to Poudre Learning Center’s other VISTAs, volunteers, and interns. She helps with grant writing, program development, and volunteer coordination in support of programming that encourages early exposure to science through hands-on activities. She has recruited, engaged, and retained dozens of volunteers for the organization’s Families Investigating Science at Home (FISH) program, summer camps, and a local triathlon.

Outstanding Senior Corps Volunteer: Robert (Bob) Spuhler
Bob retired in 2008 as the president of Colorado Mountain College. With a desire to help those in the rural community of Garfield County, Bob joined RSVP’s Tax Assistance Program to help prepare and file federal and state income taxes. Then he joined the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), which helps beneficiaries with Medicare. As an Ombudsman, Bob protects the wishes of elderly persons in long-term care facilities. He works tirelessly to help long-term care residents obtain the appropriate legal, social-recreational, physical, and emotional services necessary for quality of life with dignity.

Outstanding AmeriCorps State/National Member: Tamara Weil
Tamara is in her fourth year of service with Boomers Leading Change, an AmeriCorps Encore program. She provides health navigation services to refugees who have been forced to flee their homes and countries due to war or persecution. Tamara serves clients who either do not speak English or speak limited English. She helps them establish medical and psychiatric care and access to resources.

Outstanding AmeriCorps NCCC Team: Sun Team 7, which includes Walter Gilles, Carter Barba, Quentarrius Cole, Vladimir Defoor, James Esteban, Julie McAllister, and Kate Whitty
Sun Team 7 serves the youth of Eagle County with Youth Power 360. The organization engages children from low-income families through programs like providing summer activities that include an academic curriculum along with physical activities, fun, and enjoyment.

Outstanding AmeriCorps Alumni: Patrick Crosby
Patrick is a two-term AmeriCorps alum, having served with both Mile High Youth Corps and Colorado Youth for a Change's Reading Corps. During his most recent term of service, he went above and beyond in serving students at Riverdale Elementary. He organized a service day for the other tutors to pick up around their community and plant trees.

Outstanding Returning Peace Corps Volunteer: Dian Sparling
Dian served in the Peace Corps in Nigeria as a French teacher starting in 1969. When war broke out in Nigeria, she continued her service in Sierra Leone as a community development volunteer. While there, she observed local midwife practices and was inspired to change careers and become a midwife. She has spent the last 35 years serving as a midwife and increasing access to other innovative community health programs. Through her practice, she provides cost-effective OBGYN services to women who would not otherwise have access to care. Over the years, she’s delivered more than 2,300 babies and built a practice, Womencare, that delivers over 200 babies a year.

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