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The “forever cherub” of the Beacon Center and the founder in 1998 of the Center’s charitable arm, the “Cherish the Children Guild”, Annabel Bowlen, feels fortunate that she has been given the opportunity to make a difference in our community.  Annabel, and her husband, Pat Bowlen, owner of the Denver Broncos, are among the most generous benefactors of the Beacon Center.  Mrs. Bowlen’s passion for the Beacon Center was sparked by her love and concern for neglected children in her years as a teacher. 

When asked how Denver has changed since 1980, the year the Bowlen’s first bought the Broncos, Annabel noted:  “Denver was still being called a small “cow-town.”  It has grown into a beautifully well planned – and landscaped - city.  I love all the parks!” 

Along with her many good deeds, Annabel encourages others to share their love and resources with under-served children and help provide them with the attention and the crucial treatment they need.

As Pamela O’Neal, a director of the “Cherish the Children Guild” - and along with her husband, Michael - this year’s “Golden Cherub Award” recipients (Pam was introduced to the Beacon Center by her close-friend Annabel Bowlen), commented:  “When Annabel relayed the heartbreaking stories and the wonderful successes and lives transformed because of the Beacon Center, I was immediately drawn in to help.”

I have yet to hear someone who knows Annabel not sing her praises with such comments as:   “Annabel has a laid-back, down-to-earth quality about her.”  “It’s a joy to talk with her.”  “With love and kindness, Annabel does everything she can to nurture her children, and help them live a normal, balanced life.”  "Along with her trademark beauty, she always makes smart decisions.” “Annabel comes through for people and has a stabilizing effect on whatever she gets involved with.” 

As the First Lady of the Denver Broncos,  Annabel Bowlen has made a profound impact on other yearly Colorado fundraisers.  She’s generous and compassionate and has demonstrated her strong commitment to philanthropy.  Annabel Bowlen is a unique gift to our non-profit community.  Like other famous “First Ladies,” she is destined to leave a rich legacy of her own.  Annabel Bowlen knows who she is, and does what she does with conviction.    

Tell us about the upcoming 40th Anniversary Celebration of the Beacon Center – Cherish the Children’s Guild – “Red Hot Ruby Ball” coming up on May 9 at the Hyatt DTC?  Our annual event raises much needed funds and creates awareness for the children and families Beacon Center serves.  Each year, “Cherish the Children Guild” members raise additional funds through the “Cherish the Children Gala”.  This year is especially meaningful since it celebrates Beacon Center’s 40th anniversary; and it will also recognize the recipients of the “2009 Golden Cherub Award”, Michael and Pamela O’Neal.  “Red Hot Ruby Ball” should be a fun and memorable night.  Money raised through ticket sales and the live and silent auctions will aid Beacon Center with their ever-increasing demand for services to help our children. These precious children can be the ones to pay a heavy price when the economy is tough. To buy tickets or get more information call: Beacon Center at 303-761-6756, or email:  You can also go to the Blacktie-Colorado website and click on the Denver event calendar icon for May 9th to buy tickets on-line.

How and why did the Beacon Center get started? In 1969, Judge Marvin Foote identified a problem in our community with youth who were detained in jails along with adult offenders. The judge found this practice harmful to the success of juvenile rehabilitation for kids who were only between the ages of 12 and 18.  Judge Foote created a separate facility to treat at-risk adolescents with community-based programs, individualized licensed drug and alcohol treatment, educational services and professional mentoring services - which eventually became Beacon Youth & Family Center. These young people struggle with substance abuse, challenging social or emotional behavior, and mental health issues, and the Beacon Center services help transform them into healthy members of the community.   

How did you initially get involved with the Beacon Center?  I have always loved children.  They have a special place in my heart.  I was a school teacher in Canada, and I also taught figure skating.  I saw what could happen to their inner souls and self worth when they had been mistreated, and it broke my heart.  I knew this would be the perfect cause and charity for me to help and make a difference!

There are so many wonderful charitable organizations around; how can someone decide which one (or ones) to support?   I believe that the best way would be to pick a cause or crisis that they are in or in some way connected to in their life, or to the life of a family member, or a friend’s life.  It’s important also to make sure they are a reputable organization within the community.

How do we get our young people more involved in charitable giving and volunteering?  By exposing them at an early age to the different causes you are involved with and having them help you wherever they can.

Who is the wisest person you know?  My Mother – Joan Spencer.

What’s your favorite vacation spot in the world – and why?  The Greek Islands.  I love the amazing history and incredible artifacts there.  I also love the weather, beaches, and food.

What is the best book you have ever read?  “Tuesdays with Morrie.” By Mitch Albom.

What never fails to make you laugh?  The funny things and sayings that come out of our 5 children’s mouths!

What do you do to stay so fit?  I do the elliptical machine for 45 minutes - five days a week and walk my Samoyed Husky daily.  I love skiing in the winter – and figure skating.

Do you have a favorite saying, words of wisdom or a motto?  “If at first you don’t succeed, try try again.”

Do you have a favorite restaurant – anywhere in Colorado?  Splendidos at the Chateau Residence Club in Beaver Creek.

What qualities do you look for in a friend?  Love and loyalty.

How do you want to be remembered by future generations?  As someone who made a difference in the lives of children and the homeless and hungry.

Hi Anabel. So many years and such a life journey we have both had, however we did not stay in touch. I have thought of you over the years and today watched your speech accepting your husband's award. Thinking of you in friendship with light and love...Melinda
Melinda McNie (Millar)

I just wanted to say how wonderful you are to those around you. I have always had a interest in my family due to my great great great grandmother Dr. Marie Nordlund who graduated from the very first class in 1847 of the Denver Holistic Medical College. My dream is to know where she came from and to document her struggle to take care of her children as a single mother at times and that she still became a Dr. and Surgeon as a woman that was phenomenal. The most important dream is to find a way to give all the girls that are underprivileged the ability to become a Dr. Dentist or Nurse. I don't know how it can happen but dreams can come true if you work hard enough. I think you and your family have proven that anyone can make a difference if their heart is in it 100%! Denver is blessed to have you as the first lady of the Denver Broncos!

Hi Annabel - My name is Phil Sukel. I was watching Monday Night Football and they were discussing your husband and his fight with Alzheimer's. I am not sure if this is for you but I have something that may help him. I know this may sound a little weird and you probably get a lot of these sorts of messages. But truly, what I have may help. Would love to chat. Please email me your email and cell. Would love to share something that is changing people's lives if you are open. All the Best! Phil
Phil Sukel

I am so sorry to hear about Pat's illness. He is so very lucky to have you by his side. Hope to see you in Hawaii. I have some bad news for you, your former neighbor, Ann, died two years ago in California. It was time, her health was horrible and declining. As you know, she was a great person and is missed.

Hi Annabel, Thank you for devoting yourself to loving others. You are making a beautiful difference in the lives of children in need and you are inspiration to us all! "Tuesday's with Morrie" is one of the most inspiring books I have ever read. You may remember this great quote: "So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." (43) --Morrie Love, your friend, Nepeta
Nepeta Godec