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Mount Evans Volunteer Awarded the 2019 Allen Buckingham Senior Leadership Legacy Award by the Colorado Commission on Aging

Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice is pleased to announce that long-time volunteer Walt Blake has been selected as the 2019 Allen Buckingham Senior Leadership Legacy Award.

The Colorado Commission on Aging will present Walt with the award during a special ceremony on Friday, January 25th, 2019 at the Summit Conference & Event Center in Aurora. The award honors individuals with exemplary volunteer experiences and participation in activities that promote well-being and quality of life for seniors.

Walt Blake, Mount Evans Volunteer and Recipient of the 2019 Allen Buckingham Senior Leadership Legacy Award

To perform its countless essential services, Mount Evans relies on the selfless efforts of hundreds of volunteers.  During the last ten years, it’s been able to rely on no one more than Walter Blake. Two decades ago, Walt was in the middle of a very successful business career when fate stepped in with an unscheduled priority adjustment.  “I got sick,” says the longtime Upper Bear Creek resident, matter-of-factly.  “I recovered, but I decided I needed to spend more time on other things”.

Walt’s personal introduction to what Mount Evans does began seven years ago at Camp Comfort.  He signed up to be a “Buddy,” tasked with providing quiet, constant, attentive support and companionship to a bereaved child, and he continued to be a rock-solid Buddy each summer for many years.

Walt had gotten his feet wet, and he’d begun to see more clearly just how deep the waters Mount Evans navigates really are.  Seven years ago, he saw a notice for a Mount Evans volunteer training course and took a leap of faith.  “I went,” he says.  “I learned a lot about the different opportunities Mount Evans has for volunteers.  I really liked the idea of caring, but without a lot of fanfare.  This business of dealing with folks at the end of life is incredible.”

Walt clocks in many hours a week in service to Mount Evans, much of that time spent performing companion visits.  “I feel like that’s where I can best use my listening skills.  Frustration at the end of life is a really bad thing.  Patients have something to say.  The great thing about volunteering for Mount Evans is I can give people their voice and honor what they’re saying.  I’ve come to realize that life is really a journey, and honoring someone’s voice makes that part of their journey really important.”  When Walt isn’t listing for Mount Evans, he’s often driving for it, racking up miles giving home-bound clients a lift to necessary appointments all over the Front Range.

“Mount Evans needs folks with all kinds of skills,” he says, simply.  “I just do what I do because it’s something I know how to do.”  More than once he’s asked to share his experiences and insights with new volunteers just starting out on their own Mount Evans journey.  He tells them that, whatever they do to contribute, from licking stamps to folding chairs to writing grant proposals, their efforts are equally necessary to the organization’s compassionate mission.

And, finally, Walt tells prospective Mount Evans volunteers that everything they give away in time and labor and patient understanding will be returned with interest.  “I just want to do whatever I can to make that part of a person’s life good,” he says.  “What I found is that when you really work to honor others, you feel pretty good about yourself.”