Old ties are usually the strongest, and those ties paid off for the Maybell Ambulance Service.
Meeting Bob Sweeney, former Northwest Colorado resident and the director of the Kenneth Kendall King Foundation, was a stroke of luck for the rural rescue service that resulted in a $500 "encouragement" grant.
That money will be used to subsidize Red Cross training for rural western Moffat County residents.
Sweeney sought Maybell Ambulance Service President Karen Burley out during Northwest Colorado Philanthropy Days in September 2001.
"With his ties to Moffat County and Maybell, he wanted to talk about it," Burley said. "He told me that Maybell was always very special to him."
They talked about the Maybell Ambulance Service's needs and Sweeney asked Burley to send the Foundation a letter of inquiry.
She did, but had missed the foundation's grant cycle.
But Sweeney remembered her and when the foundation's directors got together to chose groups they wanted to give encouragement grants to, he chose the Maybell Ambulance Service.
"That was out of the blue. Completely out of the blue," Burley said. "It'll really help us, we wanted to make sure anyone who wants to learn CPR can."
A CPR instructor, Tanya Stoffle, lives in Maybell and donates her time to teach the classes. The Maybell Ambulance Service helps
provide training materials and supplies.
"Maybe with this grant, we can pay her for her time," Burley said.
She hopes to extend the classes to residents in Greystone, Browns Park and other rural communities and hopefully, make them free.
"With the troubles and struggles we have in Maybell in manning our ambulance, it's so important we have people in remote areas who are trained in CPR or as first responders," Burley said. "It was very nice to see we were still in the heart of Bob Sweeney. I really think he was moved by what we're trying to do out in Maybell and how hard it is to provide the service we're trying to provide."
Philanthropy Days was a five-county effort that matched nearly 100 organizations with 75 foundations.
According to organizer Corrie Scott, director of the Moffat County United Way, it is not yet known how successful the event was in terms of matching groups with funding. She is getting ready to send questionnaires to participating agencies to see if they've received any grants.
The event was successful enough that she will be working to have one hosted in this area every three to four years.
Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at email@example.com.