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BEACON Senior News - Western Colorado

Vote for our 2022 Volunteer of the Year

The Mesa County Volunteer of the Year award recognizes exceptional volunteers in our community. 

Help us choose by voting for your favorite volunteer! The last day to vote is Friday, April 22. 

Vote online

Step 1: Read up on the nominees below

Step 2: Scroll down to the bottom of the page

Step 3: Fill out the ballot by providing your name and email address, then pick your favorite volunteer. (We will never send you unwanted emails or pass your information along to a third party.) 

Step 4: Click “Submit”

All nominees are invited to join us for a mid-day ceremony at Grand Junction BeaconFest on Thursday, April 28, where the winner will be announced.

Mesa County Nominees

All volunteers will be recognized at Grand Junction BeaconFest on Thursday, April 28.

 Dawn & Bill Buckovic

Nominated by Jenna Kretschman,
Roice-Hurst Humane Society

Since 2018, Dawn and Bill Buckovic have dedicated over 3,263 volunteer hours fostering more than 60 of Roice-Hurst Humane Society’s most vulnerable animals. They specialize in caring for orphaned newborn kittens and puppies, bottle feeding them around the clock and caring for them until they are old enough to be adopted into their forever families. Dawn and Bill are warm, kind, long-time friends of Roice-Hurst whose compassionate, emotional work has comforted and saved countless lives. 

Fred Burmeister

Nominated by Alisha Wenger,
Community Food Bank

Fred Burmeister has been volunteering with the Community Food Bank (CFB) for nearly 44 years. After taking a short break during the peak of COVID-19, Fred is back in action, always dedicated to our mission of providing nutritious foods to anyone experiencing need in Mesa County. Since the pandemic, CFB has more than doubled our service volume, changed facilities and altered our pantry model, but Fred hasn’t missed a beat. He shows up every Tuesday as a client shopping greeter and helps every person who walks through our doors feel at ease with a welcoming smile, friendly banter and great jokes! 

 Romona Clinton

Nominated by Dusty Lightfoot,
Food Bank of the Rockies

Romona Clinton started volunteering with Mesa County RSVP on February 24, 1999. Over the last 23 years, she has generously contributed more than 700 hours of service. She has a heart for meeting the needs of others. In her spare time, she enjoys quilting, creating recipes for the Palisade Peach Festival, and playing her accordion or cornet. She has volunteered with Child and Migrant Services, Grand Junction Symphony, Kiwanis Club, Marilliac Clinic, Mesa County Fair, Project Linus, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, BeaconFest, United Way and Roice-Hurst Humane Society. In February 2020, Romona began volunteering with Food Bank of the Rockies. Since then, she has logged in 126 volunteer hours with a smile and great enthusiasm. Without Romona and volunteers like her, Food Bank of the Rockies could not provide nourishing food to the children, families, and older adults facing food insecurity throughout Western Colorado and beyond.

Carolyn DeBusk

Nominated by Adrienne Carlo, Meals on Wheels

Carolyn has volunteered for Meals on Wheels for over 11 years. She drives twice a week and fills in on other routes as needed. She goes more than the extra mile. She worked with her quilting group to produce hundreds of placemats that were given to our customers for Christmas. On holidays, she brings extra goodies to the people on her routes. She spends time speaking to our clients and knows about their lives. For one of our customers, she has been helping him clean out years of accumulated belongings. When he needed medical care recently, she took him to the emergency room and has stayed to care for him in his home. We are blessed to have someone volunteer for us who truly cares deeply for others in her community.

 Bob & Lisa Eakle

Nominated by Suzie Hammond,
HopeWest Hospice

Bob and Lisa volunteer weekly at the HopeWest Ferris Care Center as a team. They are so very compassionate and willing to go the extra distance with any and all tasks. They’re incredible with patients!

Carolyn Holmgren

Nominated by Sheryl Click & Shelby Laird,
Hilltop Community Resources

Carolyn Holmgren has volunteered with Hilltop’s Senior Daybreak since August 2017. She is great with our participants and takes time to get to know them personally. Carolyn is always willing to help, whether it’s helping staff in the dining room or helping with crafts and afternoon activities. We’ve had a few crazy days during the pandemic where our staff have said, “Thank goodness Carolyn is going to be here today!” She keeps everyone engaged with trivia and sing-alongs. She sits with our people and is so patient with them while she helps them with projects. Even though the population served at Daybreak may not always remember who you are, they do remember how you make them feel. Carolyn always makes our participants feel happy, listened to and like they have a friend. Her kindness is felt by everyone in the room, and we appreciate everything that she does for us and for our participants.

 Linda Johnston

Nominated by Caitlin Wicklund, HopeWest

Linda is one of the most inspiring, helpful and compassionate volunteers at HopeWest.  She does it all—she works at Heirlooms; folds, organizes, and puts away the massive amounts of laundry our inpatient unit generates; provides hands-on patient care; mans our front desk; creates and distributes floral arrangements, and happily fills whatever needs arise! She’s a jack of all trades and so far, we haven’t come up with a single task she’s not met head on with grace and positivity. Our patients see Linda as an angel and helping hand, our volunteers consider her a team player and steady support, and our staff know she’s solid gold. 

Roy Karo

Nominated by Megan Behrens, HopeWest

Roy has been a HopeWest volunteer since 2016. He volunteers in many capacities, from patient support to gala support and desk support. He is always willing to help out wherever he is needed. We so appreciate him and his compassion to our organization!

 Len Ladue

Nominated by Tami Bunch,
VA Western Colorado Health Care System

Len Ladue tirelessly serves others! During the pandemic, the VA and VFW partnered with Aspen Elks to provide food and hygiene care packages to veterans. Len and his wife Judy drove many miles to deliver these care boxes to isolated veterans, visiting with them and letting them know they were not forgotten. They were able to provide comfort and love to many who were hurting during the pandemic. They also provided holiday food boxes with turkeys and hams along with gifts for children. Len serves veterans through his VFW post by providing donated items to veterans and recruiting people to assist with moving, yard work and other needs. Len is always the first one to say yes and leads by example. Len has also been a greeter at the VA for over eight years, giving over 1,000 hours connecting with veterans and helping them navigate through the hospital and answering questions. Len has a heart for serving others that is genuine, humble and compassionate. 

 Gail Meyer

Nominated by Katie Skalla,
Fruita Community Center

Gail Meyer is one of the upmost amazing volunteers. She pours her heart and soul into everything she does and into her community. She has been a St. Mary’s Senior Companion for over four years now. She ensures that her sweet companion, Dorothy, is taken care of and gets to enjoy experiences and outings with Gail, including seeing petroglyphs, weekly swimming, potlucks and more. Gail also heads up senior potlucks at the Fruita Community Center. Recently, she arranged for Fruita Thrift Store to donate funds to keep the weekly potlucks up and running for Fruita seniors. She spends countless hours, gas and energy to make these potlucks a success every week. She is an active member in her church and Bible studies, where she makes everyone feel welcomed and part of something special. Meanwhile, she is battling breast cancer and kicking its butt! I’m only scratching the surface. Gail is one of the most selfless, generous, kind and loving people out there! 

 Lil Poling

Nominated by Eric Myers,
 American Red Cross of Western Colorado

Lil has been a volunteer with American Red Cross of Western Colorado for nearly a decade! She fills many different roles with our organization and is a critical member of our Mesa County leadership team. Lil is a Disaster Action Team captain, a volunteer position responsible for responding to local house fires and other emergencies. She meets with families who have been displaced from their homes (regardless of time of day) to determine their immediate needs and how the Red Cross can help. Lil brings a calming, compassionate presence to a very stressful situation and always ensures that families have a place to stay, food to eat and a plan to get back on their feet. Lil is also lead for our Mesa County Home Fire Campaign, an effort to educate families about home fire safety and to install free brand-new smoke alarms in their homes. For the last seven years, she has been responsible for setting up appointments with clients, educating them on home fire risks and making sure they have a home fire safety plan. 

 Geri Prochnow

Nominated by Christina O’Dell,
Community Hospital

Geri Prochnow has volunteered at Community Hospital for four years. Geri is a vital part of the pre-op and surgery team and works two shifts per week. She greets patients and their families and escorts them to and from the surgery unit. She is also invaluable when it comes to connecting patients’ families and the surgeons for post-surgery consultations. Geri’s gentleness and humor put both patients and families at ease. She is reassuring, kind, caring and works hard to ensure a positive patient experience. The scope of Geri’s volunteer work has broadened as she identifies other areas of need and takes on additional responsibilities such as helping clean rooms, sanitizing, making up beds, restocking and taking items to the lab. Geri is always on the lookout for ways to support the patients and their families, the nurses, surgeons and the rest of the surgery staff. The surgery team relies on Geri and is grateful to have her as part of their family.

 Sue Tuffin

Nominated by Carole Chowen,
Grand Valley Pets Alive

“Super Sue” does it all to help animals and their people. TNR (trap-neuter-return), fostering, shuttling cats to the vet for spay/neuter. Not enough room here to tell how valuable she is!