When Pres Askew moved to Craig in the 1990s, it was to help take care of his grandchildren after retirement, not to help take care of the entire community’s children.
Soon, however, he found himself doing exactly that.
Askew was named the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year at the 20th Annual National Philanthropy Day in Colorado on Friday in Denver, in part because of his role in galvanizing community support to open the Boys & Girls Club of Craig about five years ago.
Askew’s daughter, Pamela Kinder, who co-owns Kinder Family Clinic in Craig, said she never knew him to be very active in programs for youths until he moved here.
Now, Askew is the president of the Colorado Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs and chairman of the Tony Grampsas Youth Services Board, which grants state funding to local youth organizations around the state.
“It was really surprising, and now it’s kind of his passion,” Kinder said. “I couldn’t be more proud.”
Askew said he started as a volunteer for the Recreation After-school Doorway program once available to Craig’s fifth- and sixth-graders, and he soon realized it did too much good to limit it to select students.
“I was just helping kids with their homework and other things,” Askew said. “You could see from being involved in it that it was really beneficial for children to have something after school. We would hear from teachers, also, who would say the kids were doing better with their behavior and in their schoolwork.
“I thought, ‘Well, if it’s good for fifth- and sixth-graders, it would be good for all kids.’”
When he first met with interested community members about opening a Boys & Girls Club, Askew said he told them they needed to develop and fund a $400,000 a year budget to make it work.
At first, no one thought it was possible, he said.
“When we were doing it, it was just a vision,” Askew said. “No one really knew what a Boys & Girls Club was, and it was hard to see spending that much on it.”
In about a year, Moffat County raised $600,000 to spend on renovating the Craig National Guard Armory on East Victory Way, now the club’s home.
Although Askew has since moved back to the Front Range, he said he still remembers waiting at the club when school let out to see the children arrive.
“Just watching them jump off the bus and run to be the first one inside made it all worthwhile,” he said.