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At their regular Administrative Matters meeting this week, The Board of Larimer County Commissioners presented Bill Howell, American Red Cross volunteer, with the Mike Gelski Volunteer Achievement Award through the Colorado Emergency Management Association.

The award recognizes volunteers who represent the highest values in emergency management and response for at least two years. The award is named after Mike Gelski, whose work with the Salvation Army is recognized as the ideal example of an outstanding volunteer.

Howell received the award for his outstanding work during the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fires. The American Red Cross provides many services that those in our community depend on during an emergency and are a partner sheltering those in our community when they are impacted by a disaster. In addition, Larimer County Emergency Management Services also relies on numerous other volunteer organizations to help them do their work.

“I can honestly say my Red Cross Team and Larimer County Emergency Management Team is second to none. It’s hard not to be at your best when you’re working with such a great team,” said Howell.

During the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome Fires, Howell and his wife were a primary contact for many weeks from those affected by the fires in our community seeking shelter and other help. The extraordinary volunteer service dedication by the Howells prompted several individuals to nominate the Howells for the award.

“I’m grateful for people like you that live in our community and the work that you do to support others and we are a strong, vibrant, thriving, resilient community due to volunteers such as yourselves,” said Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck-McNally.

“Volunteerism --- whether it is directly with the county or working with other different organizations that we collaborate with is the fabric of our community; those who get paid to do this work couldn’t do this work if it weren’t for the extraordinary efforts of the many, many volunteers, and all our partners,” said Larimer County Commissioner John Kefalas.

The Howells attend many community meetings on weekends, evenings, or mornings --- and rise to the need when they are asked. They’ve also attended other types of emergency events elsewhere in our nation to help with sheltering operations.

Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens described a passage she remembered from public television’s Fred Rogers --- in times of trouble we look for the helpers. “You both are those helpers. To provide that shelter in times of distress is just so honorable and we’re all so grateful for your work” said Stephens.  

Also in attendance were Larimer County Treasurer Irene Josey and Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers. “These two people [the Howells] represent a lot of other wonderful people out there who do a lot of great things in our community --- people helping people --- It’s as good as it gets.  They are the epitome of that," said Myers. 

Published on: 
Wednesday, March 9, 2022 - 1:05pm

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