Town Announces Estes Park Pride Award Recipients For 2013
The 2013 Estes Park Pride Award winners were announced during the annual Volunteer Recognition Celebration held Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at the Estes Park Conference Center. Presenting the awards were Trustees Wendy Koenig and Mark Elrod. The Pride Awards are given out annually as a way for the Town of Estes Park to honor individuals who have excelled in volunteering their time and talents to benefit our community. Awards are given in the following categories; Teacher, Business person, Volunteer, and Volunteer Group of the Year. Also, a Student Pride Scholarship is awarded at the High School’s annual award ceremony. This year’s $2,500 scholarship was awarded by Trustee Koenig on the evening of May 16 to Karin Kingswood, daughter of Mike and Cindy Kingswood. During her high school career Kingswood has been involved in many school clubs and community programs. She participated in Future Business Leaders of America for four years, serving as President of the group this year. She has also been a member of Interact, a Rotary sponsored group, serving at the community Thanksgiving dinner and helping with Bright Christmas. Kingswood enjoys working with children and has volunteered with the rec district during the Denver Nuggets Skills Challenge and coaching a 4th -6th grade girls’ basketball team. Her interest in helping others has been inspired by her mom, who is a nurse. She stated, “I see the great reward of helping people in need.” Kingswood plans to pursue a degree at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, majoring in Biology with emphasis in Pre-Physical Therapy. “After all my schooling is done I would love to get a job doing children’s rehabilitation at a children’s hospital. I think going into the medical profession and helping people would be one of the most rewarding things in life, and helping kids is my desire,” she said.
Continuing to acknowledge the importance of serving children, the Estes Park Pride Award of Teacher of the Year was awarded to Brenda Humphrey, the director and teacher of the Park Place Preschool. The Preschool is funded through the Colorado Preschool Program, and serves at-risk and special needs three- and four-year-olds in our community. Brenda oversees the early childhood program for our district, making sure district goals and objectives are met, as well as state requirements and guidelines are followed to continue to receive funding. She is an active member of the Estes Valley Investment in Childhood Success Board and volunteers many hours with the Parents as Teachers Program, parenting classes and workshops. Brenda encourages parents and gives them the support they need to be their child’s best teacher. Her priority is the children and families she works with every day, helping them to learn foundational skills for future academic and life success. Her nominator described Humphrey’s contributions, saying, “I believe Brenda has the most important job in the district, and at times the most overlooked for its importance and value. It is said that the most important investment a community can make is in its young children. Brenda makes this investment every day!” Humphrey received a Mayor’s plaque and $500 for her Teacher of the Year honor. Rick Benton and John Cullen of The Stanley Hotel were selected to receive the Estes Park Pride Award for Business persons of the Year. Their generous contributions of time, talent, facilities and other resources have benefited our community immensely. They have hosted fundraising dinners for the Estes Park Medical Foundation, the Rotary Club Casino Night and honored the firefighters with the “Hooray for Our Heroes” party. They have been involved with supporting Eagle Rock School and Estes Park Youth Basketball, as well as contributing approximately $10,000 in gift certificates to various events, raffles and silent auctions.
In appreciation for their community contributions, Trustee Elrod awarded Benton and Cullen with a plaque to commemorate their selection and a cash award. The person selected as Volunteer of the Year received several nominations. Jayne Zmijewski, better known as “The Bear Lady,” and her dog, Lakota, have volunteered hundreds of hours with many organizations in our community. The long list includes, Larimer County Search and Rescue, Larimer County Parks and Open Space, Cat Conservancy (Mountain Lion Research), Outdoor Buddies, Hunter Education, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park Gun and Archery Club, the Estes Park Recreation District and Rooftop Rodeo. The many hats she wears while volunteering range from providing security, to teaching firearm safety and effective hunting techniques, to monitoring injured wildlife, elk calving, collecting data and giving informational wildlife presentations.
Zmijewski and Lakota, who recently passed on, have assisted with many search and rescues. Lakota had more certifications than any other dog in the state of Colorado thanks to all the weekends they spent training and assisting other handlers to update their skills. In Estes Park, volunteers are the backbone of the community. This is especially true of Estes Valley Victim Advocates, the Volunteer Group of the Year Award winner. This small organization runs primarily with the help of volunteers. The team of volunteers must go through extensive training to answer all the types of calls they could possibly receive. Advocates must have training on domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, elder and child abuse, grief, suicide, crisis interventions, and law enforcement and justice procedures and protocols. Estes Valley Victim Advocates provide “24/7” volunteer coverage, which translates into 8,760 volunteer hours per year. The impact of this team of volunteers reaches far beyond our community, as they are available to all the visitors who come to Estes Park every year. For more information about the Estes Park Pride Awards, please call 970-577-4772.