George and Theo: Partners duo plays sports and have fun
January 14, 2015
Steamboat Springs — George Detwiler and his junior partner Theo met years before they were ever matched up as a mentor duo through Partners in Routt County.
Detwiler, a registered nurse at Yampa Valley Medical Center, was the person who handed over baby Theo to his adoptive mother at the hospital more than a decade ago.
Years later, they met again when Detwiler signed up to be a mentor, or senior partner, to a young boy.
"I wanted to be a good male figure that's reliable," Detwiler said. "When I say I'm going to be somewhere, I show up at the right time."
Married in their 50s, Detwiler and his wife never had children, so Theo helps fill a void in Detwiler's life, while Detwiler serves as a male role model to Theo, who lives with his sister and mother.
"We go to the pool a lot, we go to Johnny B's, we fish together," said Theo, 11, a sixth-grader at Steamboat Springs Middle School. "Pretty much everything we do we have fun."
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Theo is a sports lover, playing baseball and football and skiing, which he and Detwiler have enjoyed over the last four years together.
The pair usually see each other a couple of times a week, or an average of about 12 hours per month, sometimes more when a camping trip or bigger outing is involved.
"We just have a lot of fun," Detwiler said. "I like playing sports too, and it reminds me of my childhood."
The two have become like family to each other, with Detwiler and his wife spending Christmas morning with Theo's family and stopping by their home regularly to say hello.
Those interested in becoming a senior mentor should sign up early, as the process can take some time to get going, according to Becky Slamal, community outreach coordinator for Partners in Routt County.
A minimum one-year commitment is expected and an extensive background check is required, but the rewards are well worth the effort, Slamal said.
"It reminds you of what it's like to be a kid, and to see things through their eyes again," Slamal said.
Detwiler said that while Partners claims being a mentor can change not one, but two lives, he said his partnership with Theo has impacted the lives of both of their families.
"We've changed a lot of lives," Detwiler said.