Granby " Middle Park student recognized for volunteer work |

Granby " Middle Park student recognized for volunteer work

Grand County, Colorado
Katie Looby/ Sky-Hi Daily News

Middle Park High junior Eldon Oswald, who takes pleasure in giving back to his community and has already exceeded his graduation requirements, was recognized with a certificate from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards.

Middle Park High School students are required to complete 40 hours of community service to graduate. Oswald donated between 100 to 174 hours to the Heart of the Mountains Hospice in Granby and helped with office work.

“I thought it was more worth their time to have their RNs (registered nurses) spending time with patients,” said the son of Betty and Gary Oswald of Grand Lake.

Oswald, 17, has volunteered monthly at the hospice since his freshman year.

He was motivated to help at the hospice because his mother, Betty, a part-time registered nurse, also volunteered there.

“We would sometimes meet community members who would hug my mom or thank her for all her work,” he states in the application for the award. “When I interviewed for the work I could see that the nurses needed me to help them. They were very busy and it seemed a shame to have them copying envelopes and stuffing envelopes and doing things that I could do in the office.”

He does clerical work and is responsible for mailing out bereavement literature to families and friends of people who have died.

“It was harder in the beginning,” he said. “Now, it’s pretty simple.”

The letter talks about anger people sometimes feel when a loved one dies and helps them understand that kind of reaction is common.

“When the computers had problems it was fun to fix those,” he said. “It was a very big help for them.”

He also enjoys working with the staff.

“They’re very good people,” he said. “All highly skilled, good at what they do.”

The best part of his job is: “The sense of helping people, and getting things done and making people’s lives easier.”

“I have learned a lot about dying and hospice,” he said. “I did not know that there were stages of dying or that people can be talking to you one minute and die the next … I feel best about my volunteer work when the director tells me how important we are and how much help we are. It seems like we do a little work, but in their eyes it seems like a big amount of work.”

“I would encourage everyone to work in a hospice office and get to know more about death and taking care of people and their families who die. It is important work and most people have a good experience.”

Oswald is a National Honor Society member. His favorite classes are English and history. He enjoys theater and has worked for the Grand Theatre Company in Winter Park and participates in the high school plays.

He likes listening to music, playing the violin and guitar and singing. He is interested in attending college in a big city, such as Chicago, and pursuing musical theater.

“Through volunteer hospice work, Eldon has surely learned caring and compassion for others, and he is a very deserving young man,” said Principal Jane Harmon.

“Eldon’s maturity and his sense of responsiblity as well as his work ethic are wonderful examples for others. He is a credit to his family, his school, and his community.”

” Katie Looby covers government and education for the Sky-Hi Daily News. You may reach her at 887-3334 ext. 19601 or

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