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April 17, 2001 - 2001 SAVVY Awards

What: Dinner program honoring three outstanding Denver volunteers

Where: Westin Tabor Center

When: April 17, 2001

Beneficiary: Hospice of Metro Denver, Denver Kappa Alpha Psi Scholarship Foundation, Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness

Master of Ceremonies: Aimee Sporer, News 4

Grand Marshal(s): Jane Barnes, Norm Early, Jo Farrell, Leo Goto, Nick LeMasters, Dr. Dean Prina, Meyer Saltzman, Linda Sease, Lorraine Smith, Gary Vander Ark, M.D., Faye Washington, Mary Winter

Honoree(s): Mickey Ackerman, Keith Matthews and Sue Miller

Presenting Sponsor(s): Foley's and the Rocky Mountain News

Sponsors: The Denver Post, Bouquets, Hospice of Metro Denver, Day of Caring for Breast Cancer Awareness, Brenda and Don Whiteman


 The 2001 SAVVY Award winners: Mickey Ackerman, Sue Miller and Keith Matthews.
The 2001 SAVVY Award winners: Mickey Ackerman, Sue Miller and Keith Matthews.

By Blacktie Staff

You could almost see the halos hovering above the heads of the three honorees at the 8th Annual SAVVY Awards presentation.

Mickey Ackerman, Keith “KC” Matthews and Sue Miller give a very good name to volunteering, and packed a ballroom paid tribute to them on April 17 for their tireless efforts.

The SAVVY award winners are considered the crème de la crème of grassroots activism in Denver, and this year’s honorees definitely fit the mold.

Interior designer Mickey Ackerman has made Hospice of Metro Denver his second home for the past 15 years, lavishly decorating rooms and doing just about anything else the hospice needed. His coup de grace, however, has been the Mask Project, a fund-raiser he discovered on a trip to Israel. In 1998 and 2000, Ackerman raised more than $1 million for the hospice with the Mask Project, a collection of ceramic masks painted by celebrities.

Keith Matthews says he was blessed with strong mentors and a healthy support system as a child, and he has always felt a need to “give back..” Matthews’ mission is to make sure every kid in his sphere of influence has a strong role model. The 38-year-old engineer for the Colorado Department of Transportation is a youth minister at Cure D’Ars Church. He also is chairperson for the Try-Math-A-Lon and an active member of the National Society of Black Engineers Denver Alumni Chapter’s Rocket Club.

Matthews believes in being proactive on the “front end” of working with young men, and is active in the scholarship foundation of his fraternity, Kappa Alpha Psi.

Sue Miller began her career as a model at 13 and ended it 21 years later, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She was devastated by the stigma attached to breast cancer; she lost modeling jobs and was shunned by others who thought her affliction was contagious.

But over the course of 30 years, Miller became a role model for other survivors. Rather than give in, she embarked on a career in nursing. In 1980, she accepted a challenge to organize a fashion show fund-raiser featuring breast cancer survivors as models.

Today, more than 1,000 women attend the Day of Caring, which has grown to include seminars and education programs.

Her program has spread to other cities, where it touches hundreds of thousands of lives.

Foley’s has saluted outstanding community volunteers since 1973, starting in Houston and then Dallas. This is the eighth year in Denver. The event has raised more than half a million dollars for charity.

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