Starting out as friends first, Helen and Warren realized that they were true soul mates and needed to be husband and wife. Rarely seen apart from each other, Helen and Warren are never-ending in their quest to provide aid for the helpless and the needy.
They assist many charities with event mailings - in fact, through the years; they’ve addressed, stuffed, sealed and stamped thousands of invitations. The Hanks have also helped to raise thousands of dollars for nonprofits, as well as recruit for future leaders. They spend four days every other year helping host the “Management of Diabetes in Youth” Conference in Keystone, and they still find time to volunteer at their church on a regular basis.
How long do the Hanks plan on keeping up this pace? They say, “forever!”
How did you guys meet? Helen: In 1980 we were both working at Columbine High School. Warren was the Principal, and I was Executive Secretary at the school. We were no longer there when the awful tragedy took place on April 20, 1999, but we knew Dave Sanders quite well, the teacher who was killed, and Warren hired the Principal, Frank DeAngelis. As Warren and I became friends, I was always trying to fix Warren up with teachers, etc. Then mutual friends got us together to go square dancing, and the rest is history!
What is your favorite vacation spot together? All of them. Warren: I like the Pacific Northwest. Helen: Our spot would really be here in the Mountains. We have a lot of trips planned coming up that we haven’t even taken. We’ve been to California, we’ve been to Florida, but we like the Mountains best.
Between the two of you, who is the more emotional? Warren: She is. Helen: Oh I don’t know about that. He’s pretty calm until he blows. Everyone thinks I rule the roost, but he has me on a fishing line, and when he’s ready, he just reels me in. Warren: We both have different emotions at certain times. At our wedding, she was the emotional wreck, and I stayed calm. Helen: Well, I’d been living on my own for a while, and I was afraid of commitment. Warren: She likes to speak to groups, and I just like to listen.
Helen, I hear you were a professional singer? Yes in Iowa and Cleveland I was with the Sweet Adeline’s. My quartet won regional competitions quite often so we traveled to a lot of Sweet Adeline’s shows all over the East and Canada.
Do you miss it? No. I kind of miss the singing part of it. Maybe when I’m 70 I’ll go back to it.
Who is handier around the house? Absolutely neither one of us.
How do you guys complement each other? Warren: She’s a type “A”, the total package with a confident, dynamic, effervescent personality. I’m a type “B.” Helen: He’s near-sighted and I’m far-sighted. So he can’t see anything up close, and I can’t see anything far away. I have very good hearing, he doesn’t. He is very low key, I’m very high strung, and so we complement each other very well. Opposites do attract. He’s trying to slow me down, and I’m trying to speed him up.
What’s a typical day for the both of you? Warren: Retired but not retired. We always have a full calendar Helen: Today we left Castle Rock early this morning, have been over in Littleton for an hour and a half at our son’s taking care of their home while they are away, now we are meeting with you, then we will be at church this afternoon, and then we have a party to go to this evening. I promised Warren we wouldn’t do more than two things a day, so I have just fouled that one up. We still work part-time for Jeffco. We golf two or three days a week. Warren: And Helen has six or seven Bridge Groups that she’s in. We are very rarely home.
Who is taking care of the five acre Ranch? Helen: Our cat. We haven’t watched a TV show in about five years – we catch the news now and then. My big joke is, someday, we are going to buy an 800 square foot house with a big screen TV. Warren says, “You don’t watch TV” and I say, if I have an 800 square foot house, I will!
What is your favorite place in your house? The kitchen and the great room; that’s where everybody ends up.
If your house were up for sale and a prospective buyer did a walk-through, what would your home tell them about you? Helen: That we like color and comfort, and it’s pretty clean - we share in all the chores.
What social or charitable event is your favorite? Helen: I don’t think I can pick a favorite. We love Arapahoe House – Pillars of the Community; they have the neatest staff. I can’t say enough about the Children’s Diabetes Foundation. Kempe, of course, is Georgia! I’ve fallin’ in love with everyone on that staff, but we are losing quite a few, such as Rhea Ingles. There will be more good people, there always are. – And the Hearts for Life staff – we just can’t pick a favorite; they all have such special qualities. We are either beggin; sellin, or buyin’ for all of them.
When you were little kids what did you say you were going to be when you grew up? Warren: I was going to be a professional baseball player. Helen: He could have played - he was that good, but he put his baseball career on hold to get an education. He got his degrees without anyone giving him a dime; he worked and did it all by himself; it was very rare. I was always going to be veterinarian. Women were kind of frowned upon in that arena back then, so I became a lab tech.
A veterinary lab tech? No, I worked with the other kind of animals – humans.
What do you value most in your friends? Both Helen and Warren: Honesty and Loyalty.
What do you consider your proudest achievement? Both: Being so good with our grandkids.
What is your advice for a happy marriage? Both: Marry a friend. Neither one of us did the first time we got married, and it didn’t work out.
If there is a movie about your life, and you get to pick who will play the both of you, who would you pick? Helen: Tom Hanks for Warren, and the late Ethel Merman for me. Maybe Brad Pitt for Warren? Warren: I like June Allyson for Helen. Helen: No, June is too sweet!
What do you think is the lowest depth of misery? Helen: Abused child or animals. Warren: Poverty and abused children.
Do you each have a personal quote or motto that you like? Warren: “This too shall pass…” Helen: “If you say you’re going to do it, do it!”
What is your current state of mind? Helen and Warren: Trying to find it.
Where would you like to have a second home? Helen: We came very close to buying something in Palm Dessert, Arizona, or Florida, but we like to travel too much, and Warren doesn’t like to be in the same spot more than once or twice.
What is something both of you would still like to do? Helen: I’m sorry I never took a language in school, and I do wish I’d taken Spanish. Maybe someday I will go back to school and learn it. Warren: I’d like to learn how to improve on playing Bridge.
What is the best advice your mom/dad ever gave you? Helen: My parents were such great role models, they showed me what to do, and what not to do, and hopefully I’ve tried to do it that way. Warren: “Lead by example.”
What is a treasured memory for both of you? Both: Our wedding day. Warren: Plus the day I hired her. Helen: Never thought I’d have the opportunity to marry someone as kind and wonderful as Warren.
What are you most proud of about each other? Helen: I’m just proud that he is so well loved and appreciated by so many people. Warren: She is just so good at everything, her leadership in charity work, just her overall abilities and personality. Helen: We like each other! Forever friends…. (Both Helen and Warren got a bit teary-eyed at this moment.)
What would each one of you like to be remembered for? Helen: I hope I didn’t hurt anybody, and I tried to do the best I could. Warren: I’d like to be remembered for making a positive contribution to society and to our friends. I think I made a positive contribution while I was an educator. Helen: Let me tell you, there isn’t any place in any state where we go that someone doesn’t come up to Warren and say, “Weren’t you my elementary teacher, weren’t you my junior high school teacher, weren’t you my high school teacher? We got a call the other day from a gal he taught in elementary school, and she tracked Warren down, to say what a difference he had made in her life. He was a good, fair teacher and principal. Honesty is Warren’s middle name. I’ve tried to corrupt him for over 25 years, and just haven’t had any luck! Warren: If there was a sign that said “Do not enter!” Helen would say: “Oh, but we need to see it!” Yes, she put me in a few situations I didn’t know if I’d come out of : ) Helen: He’s never bored that’s for sure!
Community Involvement, Awards & Recognitions:
Helen: Four-Time President of her local P.E.O. Chapter. Past President of the American Heart Association’s “Hearts for Life” Guild, the Community Arts Symphony, The Guild of the Children’s Diabetes Foundation (CDF) at Denver, and the Kempe Children’s Foundation Alliance. A former Co-Chair of the CDF “Brass Ring Luncheon.” Presently serving as Recording Secretary for the Kempe Alliance, and Advisor on this year’s CDF Guild Board. Chair of “A Night of Magic Moments” for The Arapahoe House, volunteered for the “Colorado Uplift Event Volunteering Days” at Castro Elementary School. Helen also remains active in the Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis Center Guild, Denver Center Alliance, and Friends of Nursing. She was honored and modeled twice in the Colorado Ballet Auxiliary’s “Women On Their Toes” fashion show. Helen and Warren both are Presidents’ Elect of this year’s Arapahoe House Support Group.
Warren: Chosen “Man of the Year” by the City of Lakewood in 1979. Served on Perry Park Metro Executive Board, and the Board of Bell Mountain Ranch. Serves on the Kempe Children's Foundation Alliance Board. Warren has judged the Children’s Diabetes Foundation’s scholarship program for the past five years, and he continues to assist in numerous ways with multiple charities.