Governor's Service Awards
The Governor’s Service Awards are presented annually in recognition and appreciation to individuals, community leaders, nonprofit organizations, SeniorCorps volunteers, and AmeriCorps members for their outstanding contributions to volunteerism and service throughout Colorado. Those recognized by these awards have gone above and beyond to make our state a better place to live.
The awards were presented at a special awards ceremony at the Colorado State Capitol on Thursday, September 15, 2016.
Lt. Governor Donna Lynne addressed the crowd and thanked the winners for their service to Colorado. “This indomitable spirit, this drive to help our neighbor, to lift up those who have fallen down, is the spirit of Colorado,” said Lynne. “This spirit is evidenced today in the actions of those we have come together to honor.”
For photos of the event, please browse through Serve Colorado’s Facebook Album.
The winners of the 2016 Governor's Service Award winners are:
OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER - Wendell Schuler
Wendell has been volunteering his time since 1999 providing fix-it services to help seniors stay safe in their homes for Boulder County CareConnect (BCCC) as well as helping to build entire neighborhoods in Boulder County through Habitat for Humanity.
Wendell, a military veteran, has helped hundreds of BCCC clients over the years, and many of his clients have said that they could not have remained in their homes without his help. He has also trained many other volunteers to continue to the work of BCCC. Wendell has and continues to provide a better quality of life for many seniors in Boulder County.
OUTSTANDING VETERAN VOLUNTEER - Frank Perkins
Frank has been instrumental in providing transportation for seniors across Weld County to doctors appointments, daily shopping trips, and meeting their other needs. He also assists with nutritious meals at both Evans Senior Center and Hill & Park Senior Center.
As a military veteran himself, Frank has made a significant impact through his annual assistance with the “RSVP Veterans’ Stand Down Day” events, which offer assistance to homeless veterans seeking help. Frank Perkins does not limit himself to just one service - he offers himself wherever he goes. He is a jovial man who other volunteers and staff are excited to serve next to because he makes service fun.
OUTSTANDING COMMUNITY LEADER - Julie Reiskin
Since 1993 Julie has built the largest statewide cross-disability advocacy organization, which has trained hundreds of individuals to become volunteer advocates.
She has greatly impacted public policy as it affects people with disabilities, and has been instrumental in building numerous programs in both the public and private sector. Julie’s work has led to vast improvements to Medicaid programs, housing, health care, access, and legislation, resulting in an increased quality of life, independence, and empowerment, for people with disabilities.
OUTSTANDING NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION - Community Reach Center
Community Reach Center (CRC) is a dynamic organization that provides mental health services and counseling for Adams County and the surrounding Denver area, serving more than 13,000 children, teens, adults, and seniors annually.
Their diverse programming includes many services such as supporting at-risk seniors in their homes, delivering crisis services across Adams County, providing holistic jail-based services to referred inmates to enable them to maintain stable and productive lives, facilitating a free support group open to anyone affected by the challenges of mental illness, and providing free Mental Health First Aid certification classes for community members.
OUTSTANDING AMERICORPS STATE/NATIONAL MEMBER - Lyndsey Williams
Lyndsey served with La Puente Home Inc. at the Alamosa Food Bank, assisting people in the San Luis Valley struggling with food insecurity and hunger. Through hundreds of trips to local retailers, Lyndsey rescued over 180,000 pounds of food for families in need that would have ended up in a landfill. She directly served over 6,000 unduplicated clients at the Alamosa Food Bank, building personal relationships with her many of her clients and inspiring her fellow volunteers.
Lyndsey took the initiative to address the issue of the nutritional quality of the food available at the food bank by assisting with the creation and implementation of a nutritional policy for the Alamosa Food Bank - thousands of people will now have increased access to fresh and healthy food.
OUTSTANDING AMERICORPS VISTA MEMBER - Grace Fullmer
Grace served with the Poudre Learning Center in Greeley and contributed to many projects, from co-teaching Science workshops, writing award winning grant proposals, to developing nature-based family programming. Grace was instrumental in helping to apply for grants for the Poudre Learning Center expansion project, which has secured over $1 million of funding to date.
Grace helped develop a monthly science education program for area families which has raised students’ and families’ awareness of their local river, and has sparked their interest in caring for their community’s natural resources.
OUTSTANDING AMERICORPS NCCC MEMBER - NCCC Team Sun 2
Sun 2 was NCCC’s Southwest Campus’ first Youth Development Team, which exclusively served the diverse needs of youth across Colorado. The team served the State of Colorado on three projects; at West Generation Academy in Denver, in Pueblo at the Children’s Literacy Center and local Boys and Girls Club chapters, and in Edwards with a variety of partners to implement a summer feeding program and youth soccer league. Sun 2 provided over 16,000 hours of direct service through tutoring and mentoring over 3,000 students - inspiring the next generation of Coloradans.
OUTSTANDING SENIOR CORPS VOLUNTEER - Steve Austin
Steve Austin has served over 13,500 hours as a volunteer with Adams/E. Arapahoe RSVP over the past 13 years. Steve, a military veteran, has served as a mentor at Leroy Drive Elementary School in Northglenn, assisted in the Adams County Senior Income Tax Preparation Services Program, the Citizens’ Police Academy Alumni Association, the bike repair program, the Northglenn Senior Organization, the Snow Stormer Program and as a Flowerbed Partner for the city.
Jim May, Northglenn Police Commander, said when asked about Steve that, “He shows up and goes to work and gives 110 percent. He does not volunteer for recognition – he volunteers because he wants to make a difference and he knows it is the right thing to do.”
OUTSTANDING AMERICORPS ALUMNI - Garett Brownlee Plantz
Garett is the Vice President of Programs for the “I Have a Dream” Foundation of Boulder County. The mission of the foundation is to motivate and empower low-income communities to reach their education and career goals by providing a long-term intervention program of mentoring, tutoring, and cultural enrichment. Garett oversees the implementation and success of K-16 programming for over 500 low-income students and their families. She provides guidance and leadership to the programming team of 10 program directors and mental health professionals.
A coworker remarked that, “Garett is unique in the fact that she does not draw the line anywhere, but goes above and beyond and includes all people into her community of support and benevolence. She does not only inspire people to volunteer and serve, but to be kind, empathetic, and generous to those all around us.”
OUTSTANDING RETURNING PEACE CORPS VOLUNTEER - Steve Werner
Steve, with his wife Patti, served in Peace Corps in South Korea from 1976 to 1978. Since then, Steve’s continued commitment to service is seen in both his professional and personal life as a true global citizen – someone who does not just work to address the needs of those he meets on a day-to-day basis, but instead he seeks out ways to serve others at home and abroad.
Steve makes a difference in his community in three main ways: seeking out learning opportunities, being very giving of his time and energy, and working to connect people to projects and other people. Steve is incredibly active in his community and volunteers his time for organizations such as Rotary, Friends of Korea, the National Peace Corps Association, the Coalition for American Leadership Abroad, and Water Advocates.