Steamboat Springs Many seniors in Steamboat Springs may not be able to travel to Africa or India, so Barbara Bronner brings it to them.
They may not be able to make it to Steamboat Springs City Council or Routt County Board of Commissioners meetings, either, so Bronner brings local representatives to them.
For almost a decade, Bronner has been working with the Routt County Council on Aging, first serving as a board member and then as a coordinator for the Monday Speaker Series at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.
She brings in a diverse range of presentations almost every week of the year, ranging from travel presentations and authors to performers and local officials.
“It’s close to my heart,” said Bronner, who is retired from a career as a geriatric social worker. “I think a town can’t be a real community unless the needs of all age groups are considered. The Council on Aging and the programs here do that.”
Her dedication to seniors and their quality of life was recognized May 11 at the annual Senior Awards, where she was named 2012 Friend of the Seniors.
“She herself has an intellectual curiosity and she fosters that in other people with the programs she brings,” Routt County Council on Aging Executive Director Laura Schmidt said. “I think she respects the seniors. She wants to take them new places to give them new experiences.”
Also at the ceremony, longtime Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak was named the 2012 Senior Citizen of the Year.
Stahoviak said she has worked with Bronner for many years.
“I think she’s done a great job … in bringing to the seniors a variety of different programs that helps keep them informed about the community,” Stahoviak said. “That’s really a good thing. It keeps them active and involved and knowledgeable.”
Bronner spent her career in Chicago working with seniors, but she and her husband, Jim, had been visiting the Yampa Valley for four decades. They settled here full time in 2001.
In addition to working with the Council on Aging, Bronner facilitates a caregiver support group and serves as a social work consultant for the Doak Walker Care Center.
“I’ve met a lot of hardy souls,” she said about working with seniors. “I’m learning a lot from people who live here about the history of the area and a lot about life in general.”
In return, she offers the opportunity for seniors to learn more about life, as well.
“I think she makes time for it because it’s important to her; she has a soft spot for the seniors,” Schmidt said. “It’s a career, but it’s more than that for her, it’s a passion.”
An advocate for seniors
For almost 20 years, Nancy Stahoviak has represented South Routt County on the Routt County Board of Commissioners.
In that time, she’s advocated strongly for seniors, including bringing the senior vans into the county motor pool for maintenance and securing grant funding to keep the program afloat.
She also serves on the South Routt Community Center board, helping shape the future of the home of Council on Aging meals and programs for South Routt seniors.
“She’s someone who has really stepped up when it’s been needed,” Schmidt said. “She does stuff that normal board members wouldn’t do. She gives it 110 percent just like she does everything else.”
Stahoviak said she was honored to have received the award last week.
“Working on behalf of the seniors for Routt County has always been something that’s important to me and a priority,” Stahoviak said. “I was pleased to be honored in this way.”
Stahoviak is not seeking re-election to the Board of County Commissioners when her current term expires this fall.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com