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In: Tow Rope Heroes

ASSIST – Kalispell

ASSIST connects people to resources necessary in regaining their health and independence. It’s disheartening how many people become ill and depilated with no idea where to turn for help. ASSIST identifies these people and matches them with services to help them recover and get back on their feet. From financial aid to transportation, they and a community of volunteers work to improve the quality of life for 701 people annually who believe there are no options.

Beth Miller – PayneWest, Kalispell

Beth donated over one hundred handmade cards to nursing homes and homeless shelters so that they could write to their family members during the pandemic. PayneWest would like to thank Beth for her service to the community and her service in the Small Accounts Commercial unit as an Account Manager. Beth embodies the volunteer spirit that PayneWest counts on to serve their Clients, Communities and Colleagues.

Betsi Morrison – Alpine Theatre Project, Whitefish

As the saying goes… ‘The show must go on…’.  Betsi was nominated for her dedication to keeping the 2020 season alive!  Shows were performed either virtually or outdoors.  The community was thankful for Betsi and she believed sacrificing the arts during the pandemic was just not an option. The biggest motivator was her desire to continue giving kids in the community a creative outlet as they navigated through a very stressful year.

CASA for Kids of Flathead County – Kalispell

CASA for Kids Flathead County serves over 300 children every year. They train, at great cost, 104 advocates. It costs $1,200 to match one abused or neglected child with a CASA for a year, and 49 kiddos are on the wait list. Right before the pandemic, they answered the call and branched out into Lincoln County, too.

Things got worse around the country for some children during the 2020 lockdowns that we experienced. We all heard the news reports, and listened to our school counselors who knew intuitively that there were children who were going to suffer in their homes. For some children, home is not a safe place. But when a community embraces CASA, those children who come under the Court’s care, have resources and advocacy not available in other communities.

Cinnamon Davis – Northwest Veteran’s Food Pantry – Kalispell

Northwest Montana veterans food panty not only has food boxes and services for veterans they also have a free Durable Medical Equipment program where individuals in need can come borrow medical equipment for free. The equipment comes from donations from the community.  Not only do they loan out equipment, but they also sell equipment as well.  All proceeds made by selling equipment go directly to benefitting veterans in need and the cost of continuing this program.

Flathead Warming Center – Kalispell

Some non-profits resound with the community more than others. The Flathead Warming Center is one of those. In the past, the shelter was housed in one of our church basements but with Covid-19, appropriate spacing became an immediate issue. Their clients were offered temporary space at the Samaritan House, and simple tents were set up for their belongings. At the beginning of the cold season in the Fall of 2020, their clients found warm beds at the Faith Lutheran church.  Then it happened, the $750K in needed funds was raised, friends from churches, businesses and the community came out to help and they were up and running in early 2021. In their first 73 nights the Warming Center sheltered 176 individuals.

Lin Akey – Whitefish

Lin is an excellent candidate to be acknowledged. Lin is active with North Valley Hospital, fundraising for Whitefish Public Schools, Food Bank, Music School, Whitefish Trail, Winter Carnival, Glacier Conservancy, Whitefish Community Foundation, Whitefish Sales Tax and many more. Lin Akey has been active in community activities and fundraising in Whitefish for over 40 years!

Liz Marchi – Polson

Liz is one of those people who is changing the future of Montana. Liz A big advocate for STEM and empowering entrepreneurs in Montana with the funding and support they need. Recently, Liz was pivotal in helping Montana Chamber bring the Youth Entrepreneurs (YE) program to Montana. She is a firm believer that kids can’t BE what they can’t SEE, and she is doing the work to show children the world is at their finger tips!

Mandy Anderson – Glacier Boys & Girls Club, Columbia Falls

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Glacier Country works to save and change the lives of children and teens, especially those who need us most, by providing a safe, positive, and engaging environment and programs that prepare and inspire them to achieve Great Futures. Mandy Anderson joined the Boys & Girls Clubs of Glacier Country in February of 2019 as the Director of Development. She stepped into the role of Interim CEO in August of 2020 and was promoted to the full time position in December of 2020.  She is excited to be pushing into the future with plans of expansion and impacting the lives of more youth in Columbia Falls and the Flathead valley as a whole.

Mark Freidline – Kalispell Parks and Recreation

Mark is with Kalispell Parks and Recreation.  He has been involved with so much in his years as the program manager including kids camps, community nights (like Picnic in the Park), school and educational outreach, swim lessons, and organization of sports programs.  He is a terrific guy and has formed some great partnerships within the community.  He’s making a positive difference  and creating a great inclusive atmosphere.

Paula Bradbury – Project Flowers, Bigfork

Paula uses her connections in the wedding industry to gather flowers from ceremonies and repurpose them into bouquets for hospital and nursing home patients. Her love of others is infectious and brings joy to so many in the community.

Roberta Maness – The Springs at Whitefish

Roberta is an amazing, energetic and out-of-the-box thinker, so as our Life Enrichment Director at The Springs at Whitefish, she was the glue that held it together for our residents during COVID. Life in senior living during the COVID pandemic was a scary place for many seniors and their families and the lock down was even more brutal. The team at The Springs did an amazing job of keeping residents safe and healthy, but that also meant that we had to keep visitors out and sometimes our residents isolated. That’s where Roberta was a life-saver, literally. Her creativity in finding ways to stay connected to residents and for them to stay engaged helped get us through a very difficult time. Roberta even kept Happy Hour going by taking the service cart door to door and making drinks for residents, playing music and creating laughs. Not a day went by that she didn’t personally visit residents 2-3 times and make sure that they were staying well mentally and emotionally.

Additional Mentions:

Big Sky City Lights – Nick Spear and Susan O’Dea

Gabe Merriman – Bias Brewing; ‘Pokes and Pints’

Immanuel Lutheran Communities

Mary Sterhan – Greater Valley Health

Triana Bouillon

Pam Carbonari – Downtown Kalispell Association Business Improvement District

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