Ivy named United Way Volunteer of the Year


Cheryl Ivy and her toothbrush-packed car spent most of February crisscrossing Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties.

Ivy had shouldered the task of distributing the items to schoolchildren on behalf of the Northwest Colorado Dental Coalition, recognizing "Children Oral Health Month."

By March, more than 5,000 toothbrushes found children's hands.

"She went clear down to Oak Creek for kids there," said Debi Garoutte, Dental Coalition executive director.

But friends say Ivy -- who was honored Thursday by the United Way with the 2002 Arlene Roth Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award -- already had gone an extra mile through the Dental Coalition's darkest hours.

By March 2002, the non-profit group, which provides dental care to uninsured qualifying youth, was reeling in the wake of a former director's $37,000 embezzlement.

"There were months of sleepless nights and people would say it's too much work to save it," said Ivy, the Dental Coalition's board chairman.

Garoutte, who inherited the wrecked group that spring, largely credits Ivy's support in getting through the tougher days.

"She was my daily inspiration and motivation," Garoutte said. "It was Cheryl who continued taking those steps forward in the recovery process."

Both point to the community for making that happen.

"If you live in Craig long enough, you realize that people give to things that are worthy," Ivy said.

Ivy also is involved with free screenings at local schools and health fairs. Her volunteerism extends to her church, where she teaches Sunday School among youth, sponsors youth camp, works as a children's camp coordinator and ministry team leader.

Ivy points to her faith for inspiration.

"I love Jesus," Ivy said. "He puts that in my heart and he was the ultimate volunteer."

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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