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January 11, 2008 - All the Best to Jackie Norris

What: Retirement reception for popular director of Metro Volunteers, Jackie Norris

Where: Denver Botanic Gardens

When: January 11, 2008

Time: 5:30 p.m.

Ticket Prices: Free; suggested donation to "Heart of Giving Fund" at Metro Volunteers

Beneficiary: The Heart of Giving Fund at Metro Volunteers, in honor of Jackie Norris

Honoree(s): Jackie Norris

Gala Chairperson(s): Gary Renville

Committee Members: Greg Geissler, Christine Soto, Sally Rippey, Elizabeth Norris, M.L. Hansen, Deborah Brackney, Jill Friedman Fixler, Gary "Superman" Renville

Staff: Angela Davis, Director of Board Development; Gary Renville, Director of Development and Marketing; Martina Torres, Office Coordinator/Membership/Seminars; Brian Leftwich, Manager of Volunteer Programs; Cheryl Clark, Mentor Recruitment Specialist; Alexandra Lee, Development and Marketing Associate; Paula Henry, Corporate Relations Manager

Catering: Continental Divine

Sponsors: Metro Volunteers Sponsors include: Coors Brewing Co., Points of Light Foundation, Hands On Network, Mile High United Way, Denver's News7, Hundreds of Heads.

Menu: Imported cheese display, macaroni & sharp cheddar cheese, vegetable crudites basket with herb dip, brown sugar, ketchup and Bourdon little smokies, hand-carved herb encrusted sirloin, passed mini grilled cheese with tomato soup, souffle

Attendance: 150

Attire: Business casual

Board of Directors: Phil Nash -Chair; Deborah Dale Brackney - Vice Chair; Peg Thompson - Treasurer; Carol Wright - Secretary; Directors: Christine Benero; John Casper; Jandel Allen-Davis, M.D; Carey Wirtzfeld; AnneMarie Kemp; Maureen McDonald; Carrie Ripes; Gina Salazar; Matt Smith; Palmer Pekarek; Tony Tapia; Cindy Willard

Blacktie Photos by: Pamela Cress and Nancy Koontz

 Steve Norris, left, Jackie, her son Andrew Norris and his wife Amy.
Steve Norris, left, Jackie, her son Andrew Norris and his wife Amy.

As guests arrived amidst the beautifully lit tree celebration at the Denver Botanic Gardens for the Jackie Norris retirement party, they were given "Friends of Jackie Norris" buttons to wear. One guest commented, "This is when you know you've arrived, when you are able to have your picture on buttons and hand them out to your friends." That statement summed it up for the well-wishers, as more than 150 people came to give their best to Jackie, who is well-known and respected as a lover of philanthropy and life in general.

Jackie began her career as a volunteer in Vietnam for the Red Cross in 1968, as chronicled by a touching video that was played for Jackie and her 150 friends, showing Jackie in all types of situations, but always with a smile. Not only were her family and friends there to support her, but also people from all aspects of the community, who took the stage to pay tribute and provide an informal "roast" for Jackie.

Phil Nash began the accolades, telling Jackie, "You've shown us how to have a good life." He went on to quote Mae West, "in her own way, a great volunteer," who said, "You only live once, honey, but if you do it right, once is enough!"

Toya Nelson from the Governor's Commission on Community Service also brought good wishes in letters she read from the Governor and Lt. Governor and added a quote of her own from Maya Angelou, "Content is important, but never underestimate style."

Denver City Councilman Doug Linkhart provided a few laughs when he read only the first four words of each line from a proclamation Jackie received, and closed by saying, "You are truly the wind behind our sails."

Ann Block, the first chair of the Metro Volunteers board, was joined by past chair Pamela Kenney Basey and incoming chair Deborah Brackney to wish Jackie well and present her with several gifts for her travels. Block joked that even though she was with Frontier Airlines, they were presenting Jackie with bus tokens ("due to rising gas prices,") coffee mugs, bookmarks, a beach towel, and then got serious and presented her with two roundtrip airfare tickets on Frontier.

Present and past staff members that were in attendance were invited to congregate below the stage, as Director of Development Gary Renville presented Jackie with the "Prismo Heart" award. It was evident that Gary and staff will miss Jackie's optimism, style and sense of humor.

Joy Krimminger provided an upbeat limerick, followed by Jackie's daughter Elizabeth, who said a few heartfelt words to Jackie. "They say apples don't fall far from the tree, and I am so glad I didn't fall far from this tree. I've got your looks, personality and passion for life." Elizabeth, a philanthropist herself working with the National MS Society, closed her tribute to her mother by saying, "I just have one more question. I love you....will you join our board of directors??"

As the invitation read, "Retirement may be an ending, a closing, but it is also a new beginning." And for those in the community who know Jackie Norris, we all know she won't sit still for long.

Metro Volunteers is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals, families, and corporate and community groups find volunteer opportunities at diverse service organizations throughout the metro Denver area. Their capacity-building programs and services allow volunteers to work hand-in-hand with nonprofit agencies to develop strong and vibrant communities.

Nearly 100,000 potential volunteers utilize the Metro Volunteers website and other services annually to build community and meet critical needs. Volunteers from across the metro Denver area share their time and talents by mending fences, painting shelters, building trails, feeding the hungry, and helping where it is needed most. Since their inception in 1994, Metro Volunteers have helped transform over 200,000 people and countless communities by matching individuals and groups with meaningful and enriching volunteer experiences. For more information, log on to

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