On the evening of July 27 longtime Evergreen resident Judy Tersteeg will receive recognition she never asked for, an honor she never sought, and a substantial cash prize she has no intention of keeping.
“I’m speechless,” she says.
But if Judy Tersteeg is plainly nonplussed at having been chosen from a state-wide field of worthy contenders to receive the prestigious Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award, the people she works with – and the ones she works so hard for – will tell you the tribute is both richly deserved and long overdue.
“Since she first knocked on the agency’s door over 20 years ago, it’s difficult to put into words just what Judy means, and has meant, to Mount Evans,” says Lori Carpenter, director of events and volunteers for Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice and the admiring fan who nominated Judy for the award. “She has enthusiastically taken the reins of many projects and fundraisers, and she always does a phenomenal job.”
Mount Evans has always been the cause closest to Tersteeg’s heart, and she’s put her whole heart into its service. Her tireless efforts on behalf of the nonprofit’s annual benefit gala have helped ensure home health and hospice care for thousands of her uninsured and under-insured neighbors. Her marvelous work as co-chair of “Under a Summer Moon” has been instrumental in making that elegantly edible event one of Mount Evans’ most successful fundraisers. A twice-yearly volunteer at Camp Comfort, Tersteeg has helped dozens of bereaved children overcome crushing loss; and as coordinator of “Ellie’s Evening” at Willow Creek Restaurant, she’s helped guarantee that Mount Evans’ essential services remain available to everyone in the mountain area regardless of their ability to pay.
Tersteeg never fails to step up as “Goodie Bag Coordinator” for Mount Evans’ popular Fourth of July Freedom Run 5K Race, and she’s helped direct the celestial choir of Mount Evans Angels for nearly 20 years. She’s lent her heart and hands to the Triple Bypass benefit and the Slacker Half Marathon, and she’s volunteered her discerning eye for the Seasons of Our Mountains Calendar and the Patient Photos project. Fact is, there are a thousand and one thankless jobs that must be done if Mount Evans is to continue its compassionate mission, and Tersteeg has put her strong shoulder behind most of them. And as far as Carpenter’s concerned, that’s worth a word of heart-felt thanks from a grateful mountain-area community.
“With every task that Judy takes on, she does so as a true ambassador of Mount Evans and the incredible services that we provide to the community,” says Carpenter. “Her dedication and passion are so appreciated.”
In accepting the July 2017 Minoru Yasui Community Volunteer Award, volunteer Judy Tersteeg will receive a tangible symbol of that appreciation, the genuine esteem of the award-sponsoring Denver Foundation, and a tidy $2,000. She’ll keep the award, of course; but she’ll turn the cash over to some folks she knows who’ll put it to very good use.
“She’s donating it to Mount Evans,” smiles Carpenter. “I don’t know what we would do without her.”
As far as Tersteeg’s concerned, they’ll never have to find out.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to volunteer for such a fantastic organization, and I hope this award brings awareness to the wonderful work Mount Evans does,” Tersteeg says. “Being a volunteer at one of the Top 100 hospice agencies in the country is extremely gratifying, humbling and worthwhile.”