VOLUNTEERING & A WHOLE LOTTA LOVE



My oh my, Joel Koenig sure has done a lot for the Boulder community and that is exactly why he deserves the Outstanding Volunteer Award. A retired CPA and Senior Partner of Deloitte, Joel fell in love with volunteering when he moved to Boulder seven years ago. He always had a passion for libraries and thought this would be a great place to start his volunteering career. Six years ago, Joel began volunteering for the Collection Department in the Boulder Public Library. He would sort out old, unusable books and make room for new ones. Joel states “Seeing the visitors happy [in the library] is everything to me; I just want to help in any way that I can.”

From his love of books, Joe segued his volunteering career into the Boulder Public Library’s Boulder Reads Program. This program provides 1 on 1 tutoring and aids individuals of all ages learning how to read. It was here that Joel tutored Keera Yoo, a South Korean native. Keera Yoo nominated Joel for the Outstanding Volunteering Award for his efforts in teaching her how to read in English. Keera expresses “Joe showed interest in me and wanted to truly help me learn English. Now I can speak and write English well, and it’s all because Joel took the time to help me..”

His new found love of volunteering has led Joel to give his time in other unique ways as well. From GED tutoring at the Boulder County Jail to becoming a victims advocate for Boulder County, Joel has spread his giving heart all over Boulder County. As if he doesn’t already have a full volunteering plate, Joel has even been volunteering through Open Space Mountain Parks for the past 6 years. It is here that he helps as a trail guide, providing help and direction to visitors. He also hosts at the Ranger Cottage and gives visitors direction and advice about trail difficulty.

His passion for helping others is very visible in the Boulder Community and Joel has no intention of slowing down. Joel explains “Volunteering for me is really rewarding and I love seeing the end result. Self-motivation drives me to help others; I wouldn’t volunteer, if I didn’t love it.”

Joel’s advice for others interested in volunteering - “Time is so important, so look inside yourself and discover something that you truly love.”

TRU VOLUNTEERS AT WORK

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands — one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.” — Audrey Hepburn

Here at Foothills United Way, we know that volunteering is no easy task. And that’s why we are so excited to honor Bill and Mary Althauser with the Volunteer Connection’s Outstanding Volunteer Award. This amazing couple was nominated by Carol Arnett Thompson, the Volunteer Coordinator at TRU Hospice. She expresses, “I have worked as a volunteer manager, program manager, and executive director of several nonprofit organizations over the last 30 years and never have I experience such devotion to a cause, a mission, and a volunteer position as I have experienced with these two volunteers: Bill and Mary.”



Having volunteered with many other organizations prior to volunteering with TRU Hospice, these seasoned volunteers have dedicated a lot of time and energy to helping others in need. After Bill retired from IBM’s engineering department and Mary retired from teaching Microbiology at Colorado State University, they both felt called to give back to their community. Mary joined the TRU Hospice volunteer team in May of 2005, and Bill joined three short years later. And ever since, this dynamic duo has worked with whole hearts and such willingness for TRU Hospice’s cause. For nearly 12 years, they have both worked in a variety of the thrift stores’ departments and always jump in when a second hand is needed. Mary is an active, outdoorsy Boulder-ite and has used her athletic nature to lead the ‘active wear’ department into growth and success. Bill’s background in engineering and business expertise has steered him to volunteer in other areas of the thrift store. Not only does he lead a team of electronics volunteers, but Bill has helped build and grow their eBay business as well. “I have all these skills and knowledge, and I just want to contribute what I have to help others,” says Bill.

Aside from actively volunteering themselves, Mary and Bill also serve as volunteer recruiters and encourage others to take part in TRU Hospice’s mission. “I can count on Mary to not only bring in new volunteers, but to train them and encourage them,” Carol praises. “Mary’s recruits are some of my most reliable and talented volunteers.” These two passionate volunteers serve as the moral boosters for the volunteer team. They are leaders with exceptional expertise and experience, but know too how to keep a fun and happy environment for the other volunteers. Bill and Mary’s passion is so visible because most importantly, they believe in TRU Hospice’s mission whole heartedly. “Not only does volunteering provide ways to give back to the community, but you also get to meet people that you would otherwise not have the opportunity to meet,” says Mary. “The bonds you build with other volunteers are strong and keep the mission of the organization alive. You have to believe in its mission and from there, your volunteer experience will come to mean so much more.” 

Thank you again Bill and Mary for all the hard work and volunteer time you have donated to TRU Hospice. You both take on what it means to be an Outstanding Volunteer with humble and giving hearts. We applaud you for being exceptional role models and showing others what it means to be TRU Volunteers.

TRU Community Care is a 40 year old hospice organization that provides the only non-profit hospice care in Boulder County and several other counties in Northern Colorado.