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EVANS, Aug. 25, 2021 – Here at Sunrise, we have always had a strong sense of support from people throughout Northern Colorado who believe in our clinics. When we are out in the community, we receive positive feedback about the work we are doing and the difference we make. From this fertile ground, numerous volunteers rose to stand strong with Sunrise to help wherever they could. Their sacrifices amplified Sunrise’s impact across our local communities, and we wanted to honor a few of them with our inaugural “Community Champion” award. We picked a word to describe each of our volunteers and why we selected them as the 2021 Community Champions.
Our first Community Champion award goes to Jim Riesberg, and we chose the word SERVICE to describe his efforts. Many of you may know Jim Riesberg who served the Greeley and Evans communities as the State Representative for District 50. Jim was one of the first to sign up when we launched the volunteer opportunities for our mass vaccination clinics. He started with the first set of volunteers at Monfort Family Clinic on March 10th, and he came back week after week to volunteer the most shifts in the 3 ½ months we had our clinics. Jim was here in service to health care workers, patients, and our community. Thank you, Jim, for being one of this year’s amazing Community Champions!
Our next community Champion is Deb Suniga, (pictured right) and the word we selected to describe Deb’s champion efforts is EQUITY. Equity work is at the heart of what Sunrise does, and knowing this, Deb called on Sunrise to be an equity partner with her and her advocacy teams. Early in our efforts to reach all populations for vaccines, Deb partnered with Sunrise on numerous events that focused on the Latinx population to ensure vaccine equity. Deb tirelessly organized volunteers from community advocacy groups to put up flyers and share information about these clinics. Deb also served in our mass vaccination clinics for the community. Deb is the Public Relations officer for the Latino Coalition of Weld County and was appointed as the Deputy Director of the COVID Equity Task Force for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment amid all her efforts. Deb’s partnership and focus on equity helped Sunrise to give 45% of our vaccines to the Hispanic/Latinx population!
The final Community Champion we want to recognize is Loveland Mayor, Jacki Marsh, and the word we selected for Mayor Marsh is ADVOCATE. An advocate is a person who publicly supports or recommends a cause, and we can’t think of a better advocate than Mayor Marsh! As with other community partners, Jacki could be found volunteering on a regular basis (almost weekly) in our Loveland mass vaccination clinics. However, Mayor Marsh’s efforts did not stay in the clinic — she took the word about vaccine and the clinics everywhere she went to let people know about the work Sunrise was doing. When we had special guests and legislators visit Loveland Community Health Center, if Mayor Marsh was volunteering that day, she was more like a team member - advocating and sharing about the good work we were doing. We were thrilled she was in the clinic on the day we recorded our professional videos at our vaccine clinic. She advocated like another member of our public relations team, asking patients to share why they were getting their vaccine on video. Mayor Marsh turned being a volunteer into being a champion for our community health center…and for that, we are grateful!
Many individuals in the community deserve our gratitude for their efforts and dedication to Sunrise Community Health this year. However, these three dedicated, humble, and extraordinary volunteers warrant a special thanks and shout out from the rooftops for what they have done. We announced the awards on a Zoom call, and each will receive an engraved clock as a token of appreciation. We are pleased to honor them as our 2021 Community Champions for their enduring commitment to service, equity, and advocacy for Sunrise, our patients, and Northern Colorado!