Jones, Newkirk named Muldoon Humanitarians of the Year
The Craig Rotary Club has chosen its Bill and Nancy Muldoon Humanitarian of the Year, and this year, the committee chose two deserving candidates upon which to bestow the title.
The two winners are Pat Jones, executive director of Love INC, and Beth Newkirk, who serves at the Community Kitchen at St. Michael’s Church.
Love INC, a long-established resource for Craig families in need, organizes resources such as Clothes for Kids, Project School Supply, food pantries, a household items ministry, a gently-used furniture ministry, cooking classes and budget classes. Jones will come up on her 20th anniversary of serving in the role in October, and said that she feels serving her community is her life’s purpose
“I really feel that God has prepared me for this job,” Jones said. “I really enjoy serving. After 20 years, I feel like the whole town is my family.”
Sometimes, Jones even uses her own personal finances to fill in when ministries, agencies, churches and Love INC can’t cover everything someone needs. She works overtime without pay just to serve others who need it. In the end, the goal is to help her neighbors become self-sufficient.
“To understand people really helps in finding out how to help them,” Jones added. “We started with a really small office at St. Michael’s, and they had a small building that we moved into, and that’s the building we use now. We started out with just taking phone calls, but we started seeing some gaps in community services and wanted to fill them.”
Jones is looking to retire this year and hopes a successor will be able to take on the various roles and responsibilities she manages. She commended the work of her staff and volunteers to help keep Love INC running.
“There’s not a single moment that’s inspired me — it’s been sort of a snowball effect over the years,” she said. “Our volunteers are just wonderful and do really good things for the community.”
Newkirk, who has served the Community Kitchen at St. Michael’s Church in Craig for 10 years, said she cried when Rotary members called and told her that she had won the award. Newkirk was among the leaders in helping move a local Vietnam veteran into a new home after his current residence became unlivable. Now, a fellow member of the community has the accommodations he needs to thrive.
It’s not the only time Newkirk has worked to provide necessary goods to her neighbors.
When another veteran in the community needed a stove to cook with, Newkirk took the lead to get them a new one. Another homebound resident had nothing to heat food with, so she provided him with a microwave. When someone else needed winter gear, Newkirk got it to them.
“I do not do my work to be recognized. I do it for the people we serve,” Newkirk said. “I help people because that’s what God wants me to do.”
Newkirk gave a lot of the credit to her team at Community Kitchen, which provides meals twice a week and serves approximately 150 shut-ins. She said that when she is giving to the community, it never feels like work.
“We have a very good support system in Craig. It’s just a really good community,” Newkirk said. “Even though we’re kind of tiny, we have a big heart. Anyone who can come to visit with us can see that.”
This year’s Diamonds and Spurs celebration will take place on Jan. 22 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. Individual tickets are $70 per person. Corporate tables are available for $560, which includes eight tickets. Larger tables can also be purchased for 10 guests for $700. Money raised from this event sponsors local scholarships, various literacy programs in schools and other local Rotary projects.
Activities for the evening include a silent auction, music for listening and dancing and a celebration of this year’s Humanitarian Award winners. A cash bar will also be available.
Capacity will be limited to 185 attendees. To purchase tickets, contact any Craig Rotary member or Randy Looper at 970-629-0654.
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