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September 25, 2012 - Denver DOVIA Salutes Amazing Volunteers

What: Denver DOVIA held its annual Award Luncheon Monday, September 25, at the Wildlife Experience. Denver DOVIA also celebrated its 40th anniversary with a toast and cake cutting ceremony.

Where: The Wildlife Experience

When: Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Time: 11:30 a.m.

Master of Ceremonies: Mitch Jelniker, Channel 7

Presenting Sponsor(s): St. Anthony's Hospital

President(s): Matthew Gray

Catering: The Wildlife Experience

Sponsors: Action Awards, Mitch Jelniker, Mossholder Flowers, Taylored Graphics, The Wildlife Experience

Florist: Mossholder Flowers

Board of Directors: For a complete list of the board of directors and information about DOVIA, go to

Blacktie Photos by: Bob Fontneau

 Matthew Gray with Exceptional Volunteers Sheila Richardson, Bettina Holder and Lonnie Shinault
Matthew Gray with Exceptional Volunteers Sheila Richardson, Bettina Holder and Lonnie Shinault

Denver DOVIA held its annual awards celebration Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at the Wildlife Experience.  The theme of the awards was 'We Count On You,' and this year's ceremony was made even more special with the celebration of DOVIA's 40 years of service.  In addition to the awards, the program included a birthday toast and cake-cutting ceremony.

Lunch was served at 11:30 a.m. and was catered by event host The Wildlife Experience.  As guests ate, they were entertained by the Chamber Music Quartet from the University of Denver.  After a delicious lunch, DOVIA President Matthew Gray called the program to order.  The first order of business was to recognize past recipients of the Marlene Wilson Award.  Gray then introduced former DOVIA President Mark Smith, who spoke of how DOVIA services the volunteeer community.

Master of ceremonies Mitch Jelniker, of Channel 7, then took the stage to present awards to outstanding volunteers in various categories.  The award for Outstanding Volunteer Manager of the Year was presented to Justine Zollo for her work at the Gathering Place, a safe shelter for women and children.

Del Kelley, of Colorado Parks and Wildlife, received the award for Outstanding Board Member of the Year for his work with Friends of Roxborough State Park.  Next up was the Exceptional Youth Volunteer of the Year, which went to Amy Marks of the Volunteers For Outdoor Colorado-Cairn Youth Program.

In the category Exceptional Volunteer Group of the Year, the award went to the quilters from the Donor Alliance: Beverley French, Elaine McFarlane, and Cheryl Walters, who created quilts for recipients of organs that would then go to the donor as a memento.  The award for Exceptional Dynamic Duo of the Year went to Ed Dash and Roger Williams for their outstanding work with the Douglas County History Research Center.

The highlight of the awards was the presentation of the Exceptional Volunteer of the Year award.  There were 26 nominees for this award and all took the stage as their names were called.  Three awards were given in this category and all three recipients were richly deserving.  Bettina Holder was honored for her work with Volunteers of America-Brandon Center/Theodora House, Lonnie Shinault for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Sheila Richardson and her service dogs Juno and Chaco, who provided therapy to patients in hospice care through PeopleFirst Hospice.

When the awards were through, Sarah Christian delivered a touching and humorous toast to Denver DOVIA in celebration of the 40th birthday and then Matthew Gray and Mark Smith led in the ceremonial cake-cutting.  It was a fitting conclusion to a program celebration the volunteers.

If you would like more information on Denver DOVIA and their work in the volunteer community, you can visit their website at


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