Steamboat Springs Meghan Hanrahan thought she was just getting a free lunch. As it turned out, she was about to get hooked on community service.
Hanrahan, who was honored Sunday as the Yampa Valley Community Foundation's Youth Philanthropist of the Year, will be a senior at Steamboat Springs High School next year. During Hanrahan's sophomore year, one of her friends was asking people to come to a meeting for the El Pomar Youth in Community Service group. There would be pizza, and Hanrahan didn't have lunch.
"We went thinking we would get free pizza, and it ended up being a really cool club," she said. Since then, she has been involved with Integrated Community, the Rotary Interact Club and other community service groups.
Hanrahan accepted her honor along with two others Sunday. At its 11th annual Celebration of Philanthropy dinner, the Community Foundation also presented awards to Mary Brown and SmartWool. Brown was named Individual Philanthropist of the Year, and SmartWool was named Business Philanthropist of the Year.
Brown has served on the Steamboat Springs City Council and has been involved with a variety of community and government groups, the Community Foundation stated in a news release.
In 2007, Mary and Steve Brown made a $1.2 million gift and created the Brown Family Charitable Fund at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, according to the release. The fund has benefited Rollingstone Respite House, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps and Yampatika's weather program for fifth-graders at Storm Peak Laboratory.
Creative Director Carol Davidson accepted the award for SmartWool on Sunday. Community service is important to both the company and its employees, spokeswoman Molly Cuffe said.
"We are absolutely honored to receive an award like this," Cuffe said. "For SmartWool, we love being in Steamboat, and it's a pleasure to be part of such a wonderful community, and so it's important to us to give back to community in ways that are meaningful."
The company pays employees for 40 hours of community service each year, and workers did about 1,000 hours of service last year, Cuffe said. SmartWool also donates items to auctions and nonprofit groups across town, and it closes its doors two days a year and does community service work.
"With so many nonprofit organizations around, it's easy for us to do this because they provide us with so many wonderful choices," Cuffe said.
The winners were nominated by members of the community and then were chosen by a panel at the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, marketing manager Heidi Barbee said. They received prints of a photograph by Rod Hanna.
Hanrahan, 17, said she would encourage other young people to serve the community. She plans to keep it up and to pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.
"There are really cool things you can do," she said. "We're doing Relay for Life and helping build playgrounds. It's not all drag work - it's surprisingly fun and rewarding."
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