The Spirit of Volunteerism in Denver

The mission of the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award (minyasui.org) is to encourage volunteerism by celebrating the voluntary achievements of individuals whose efforts may not otherwise be recognized. Each month of the year (except December), the awards committee selects one outstanding volunteer for this special recognition. The award includes a ceremony honoring their service, a plaque, a mayoral proclamation, and a monetary award to the nonprofit organization of each recipient’s choice.

On Thursday, December 5, 2013, this year’s 12 outstanding Denverites were celebrated and recognized for their community involvement. Each was awarded the Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award at this once-a-year recognition celebration.

Tammy Rivera Berberick was recognized for her work with the Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado;

Kermit Shields for his dedication to Friends of Dinosaur Ridge;

Mike Criner has been a devoted volunteer and leader at Habitat for Humanity in Metro Denver;

Gloria Koshio, a longtime volunteer with the Denver studio of Learning Ally, a national organization that publishes audio textbooks for people with visual disabilities;

Gerie Grimes has worked for more than three decades for children and youth programs in Metro Denver. She has served as President of Falcon Youth Organization for 36 years;

Mary Rogers has been a board member of Anchor Center for Blind Children for the past 16 years;

Barbara Miller has volunteered more than 6,000 hours at the Food Bank of the Rockies over the last 18 years;

Jay Jones volunteers at the summer camp operated by the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado;

Ruben Duran was honored for his volunteer contributions to CHARG Resource Center;

Donn Spector has contributed numerous services over the past 45 years to Jewish Colorado, Denver Public Schools, Denver Urban League and the Autism Society of Colorado;

Brad and Tom Iskiyan, father and son duo, have helped Wish for Wheels give away more than 3,500 bikes and helmets to children who otherwise may not be able to have them.

Mayor Michael Hancock, in his recognition of the nominees, was adamant about the respect and deep admiration he has for those who volunteer in Denver. He heartily thanked all the volunteers proclaiming, “It is you who are honored today, who treat people with sincere kindness, knowing they can do nothing for you. That is true volunteerism.”

The award is named after Minoru Yasui, a businessman who volunteered for 16 years and left a vivid imprint and legacy to Denver. He was known to fight for the rights of all people as well as his tireless commitment to helping those in need.  In 1976, the first Minoru Yasui award recipient was 86-year-old Bertha Simon, who knitted more than 1,000 pairs of mittens for the Head Start program.

The committee looks forward to honoring more volunteers in the years to come as their values continue to guide the work they’re doing through vision, integrity, passion, courage, perseverance, advocacy, inclusion, compassion.

If you would like to nominate an outstanding volunteer for this award please visit the website: minyasui.org, and fill out the online application. Or contact The Denver Foundation, 303-300-1790, www.denverfoundation.org.