Top philanthropists named


The term "philanthropy" evokes images of wealthy people writing checks. But there's more to it than that, as the board of directors of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation recognized during its annual Philanthropist of the Year awards.

"Contributions of time are sometimes more valuable than money," said Linda Haltom, executive director of YVCF. "Time is a commodity in short supply, especially in a community where many people are working several part-time jobs."

On Sunday, YVCF held its Celebration of Philanthropy dinner and gave an individual award, a business award and a teen award.

John and Patty Kerst were given the award for individual philanthropy.

The Kersts were chosen not only for their financial generosity, but also for the many years and long hours of volunteer time they have given to the community.

John Kerst has been a member of the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs for many years. He has been a member of the Strings in the Mountains Board of Dir--ectors since 2000, a supporter of the Hospice program at the Visiting Nurse Association of Northwest Colorado and a generous supporter of the Community Agriculture Alliance.

"There are some people who seem to have their pulse on the community," Haltom said. "There are people who are very generous in ways that many people are not aware of, and the Kersts are those people."

The award for the Business Philanthropist of the Year was given to the Kaminski family, owners of B & K Distributing.

Since the business began 30 years ago, the Kaminski family has donated regularly to groups such as the Booster Club and any club that needs beverages for an event, Haltom said. "They are the nicest and most giving people.

Every year, YVCF attempts to find a young person to give the Youth Philanthropist of the Year award to. They don't always succeed, which is why they were so proud of Chantal Gregory.

Gregory graduated from Hayden High School in June. During her senior year, she was active in the El Pomar Youth in Community Service, Future Business Leaders of America and the Community Action Network. She also volunteers with Partners in Routt County.

"It's nice to see a young person who is taking the time to give," Haltom said. "She will be a great asset to whatever community she decides to settle in after college."


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