LIFT-UP's Lucas leaves for Fort Collins

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Penny Lucas is leaving Steamboat Springs after four years of service to LIFT-UP of Routt County. Robin Heide, who moved here recently from Bennington, Vt., will replace her.

Lucas said she is and her husband are moving to Fort Collins, where he will attend graduate school at Colorado State University.

"I think it was time for a change," Lucas said. But she said the move will be bittersweet.

"I'm leaving with mixed feelings," she said. "I'm sad that I'm leaving Steamboat Springs and all the wonderful people here."

LIFT-UP Executive Director David Freseman said Lucas will be missed.

"I worked closely with her," he said. "Penny has been a valuable asset for LIFT-UP. She's worked very closely with clients who have needed emergency assistance over the years."

Lucas's job required that she handle emergency assistance requests as well as managerial duties at the LIFT-UP Food Bank.

Freseman said Heide's job title will be different than Lucas', to better describe the actual job responsibilities. Heide will be termed the food bank manager, though she also will be handling assistance cases.

Heide said she initially moved to Steamboat Springs to be close to her mother and brother who live here. She also liked the kayaking and climbing opportunities in the area. She saw a newspaper ad for the LIFT-UP job.

"I was looking for a job that would be more professional and also that you could help people with," Heide said.

Before moving to Steamboat Springs, Heide had worked as a home health care provider, a nursing assistant, a park ranger and a firefighter. She graduated from Montana State University with a bachelor's degree in psychology.

She has been training with Lucas since June 2.

"I really enjoy it," Heide said. "It's a pleasure to help people."

Lucas said Heide has been doing a great job.

"She has insights that are helpful," Lucas said.

Freseman said Heide's ability to speak Spanish will be especially helpful in her job.

"We're seeing a lot more Hispanic people who don't speak any English at all," said Heide, who learned to speak Spanish while living in Baja California, Mexico.

LIFT-UP will hold an open-house farewell for Lucas 5-7 p.m. June 25 in the Community Center. The event will be open to the public.

"I'm glad to have been part of this organization," Lucas said.

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