Kremmling residents win senior volunteer awards
For the Sky-Hi News
Since 1963, May has been a national month to honor seniors and their contributions to local communities. On May 21, the 26th Annual Senior Award Ceremony was held in Frisco to honor senior volunteers from five counties — Summit, Pitkin, Jackson, Eagle and Grand. Representatives from these five counties make up the Regional Advisory Council of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments for this area, providing information and guidance, as well as coordinating the nomination process for the Annual Senior Citizen and Friend of Seniors Awards.
Seniors of the Year
The Senior Citizen of the Year Award is given to an adult or pair of adults 60 years or older who have dedicated themselves to helping other seniors, and whose exemplary service, peer relationship and contribution of leadership, knowledge, skills and time have made a difference in the community.
This year, Dale and Velda Pullium of Kremmling won the honor —a couple that has spent years doing setup and cleanup up at potluck dinners every Friday and helped out with fundraisers. Dale drove the senior transportation bus for the Grand County Council on Aging and even brought seniors to appointments in Steamboat using his own car.
Dottie Janousek, a cook and driver for for the Grand County Council on Aging, explained that Velda writes poems she gives to friends as words of encouragement during a rough time or as a happy birthday or get-well wish. She also submits poems to the local newspaper to commemorate holidays. “They’re great. If anybody needs help with anything, they just call the Pulliums.”
Dale and Velda have been married for 58 years, and have lived most of their life in the Kremmling area. Dale was born in Tabernash in 1934, where his father was employed at a conservation camp during the Great Depression. Velda was born in Craig four years later, the daughter of a rancher.
Dale, who is turning 80 this August, spent 30 years working for Colorado Department of Transportation, driving snowplows and performing avalanche-control work. Upon retirement, Dale and Velda returned to ranching until “the price of hay got so high, we decided to retire.”
The Pulliums have 14 great-grandchildren, and are presently moving to a smaller home near Grand Junction so they can be closer to family and to the VA hospital, which is located three and a half hours away from Kremmling. In addition, Velda needs supplemental oxygen in order to live in Kremmling. In their new home at 4,100 feet in elevation, it will be easier for her to breathe on her own.
“It was really an honor for us to receive the award,” claimed Dale. “We are really appreciative that folks thought so much of us to vote us in. We have really enjoyed being active in the community … we couldn’t just go and sit down somewhere because we’re retired!”
Friends of Seniors Award
The Friend of the Senior Award is given to a Grand County individual, couple, business, agency or organization that has positively impacted the senior community. The Regional Advisory Council nominated Jeff and Marty Pexton of Kremmling, who are very active in helping to run the senior living centers in Grand County and instrumental in supporting the senior community here.
Jeff has been the Cliffview Senior Housing Administrator in Kremmling for the past five years, after 30 years working in the banking industry. He is enjoying this new career, and, although he admits he can be extremely busy, he insists it is far less stressful than banking. “I don’t consider it a real job. It’s very rewarding. I love taking care of our elders,” he said.
Jeff doesn’t keep track of his hours, and even works during weekends if his Cliffview residents need anything (he lives a few doors down from the senior assisted-living center). He also enjoys helping the two dozen residents go to church, shopping, musical events, summer outings and fishing. “The best part of my day is kicking back and visiting with residents.”
Marty is the property manager of Silver Spruce Apartments in Kremmling and Grand Living Senior Homes in Granby (both are affordable independent-living housing for seniors and/or disabled individuals). Marty specializes in paperwork — not the most glamorous job, but processing certifications and annual re-certifications, and correctly and confidentially filing required government forms allows her 44 residents to save a substantial amount of money by living there.
Marty worked in the insurance and medical fields, and was the assistant director of the Kremmling Chamber, so she admits that paperwork is “her thing.” She least enjoys enforcing rules and regulations, but she concedes that her job dictates that she must sometimes be the enforcer, because she is helping them remain in affordable housing.
I wasn’t surprised that Jeff got nominated,” said Marty. “He is always doing and doing, but I didn’t realize that people appreciate what I do. It’s a pleasant surprise.”
The National Council on Aging was established in 1950 to help the elderly in this country live long and fulfilling lives by supporting organizations, programs, services and business practices that promote vital aging. The Grand County Council on Aging has been active for 42 years with an ever-increasing demand for senior programs, transportation, recreational and social opportunities, support groups and educational classes. The Grand County Council on Aging collaborates with other county nonprofits to meet the needs of seniors and disabled residents. The council recently bid farewell to Sharon Shoenberger, and taking over is Sunny Scott, who began in January, 2014.
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