Picture: From left to right: Eva Veitch, Trish Hawarny, Barbara Edwards, and Sandy Walker

Region 10’s resources continue to grow in ways that serve—and value—community members of all ages. Now, two new volunteers have joined Region 10’s Community Living Services program—Ombudsman Barbara Ward and Volunteer Coordinator Trish Hawarny.

Ward, who helped coordinate the first Region 10 Caregivers Summit last year, was inspired to move to Montrose six and a half years ago to be near her beloved grandchild. Her work as ombudsman is also inspired by a family experience; “My mom is in a nursing home,” Ward said. “This generation needs to know that they have a voice—I have seen the best and the worst when it comes to care.

“This is my way of giving back.”

Along with completing 15 hours of intensive, one-on-one training through Region 10, Ward has professional experience in the field, having spent her entire career caring for seniors.  “I spent five years as the RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) Coordinator for Boulder County,” Ward said. “I also worked for three years in an assisted living center in Boulder, and worked for the Bridge Assisted Living facility in Longmont.”

“This (older) generation needs to know that they have a voice—I have seen the best and the worst when it comes to care. This is my way of giving back.” ~ Barbara Ward

Regional Ombudsman Sandy Walker said that Ward brings greatly needed skills and energy to the program. “Having a volunteer to help will take the pressure off, especially with two facilities that need a little more oversight,” Walker said.

Region 10 currently works with 14 care facilities in a three-county area, Director Eva Veitch said. “That’s too much territory for one person,” she said. “Barbara’s health care background makes her a good fit.”

Ward said she has learned never to judge a book by its cover when it comes to care facilities, and to appreciate the variety of resources available through Region 10. “Working with seniors gets in your blood,” she said. “It never goes away. And this community is growing; Montrose is so unique and giving, and Region 10 has really been reaching out.  There is a lot of help available here—they are really keeping community spirit alive.”

Connecting with other agencies has been an important part of the mission for Region 10 Community Living Services, Veitch said. “We are all stronger together.”

Hawarny, who is currently training as Volunteer Coordinator, said that she is impressed with the “reach” the non-profit council of governments is able to achieve with its programs.

“Region 10 welcomes volunteers of all ages,” she said. “From high school kids to seniors and everyone in between—there are so many opportunities.” She has been experiencing a number of those opportunities firsthand in recent weeks, from helping to shovel snow for Snowbash Challenge clients, to driving a senior home to Norwood after a medical appointment. In addition to the programs they already offer, Region 10 hopes to expand Community Living Services to include post hospitalization assistance for those in need.

“We just want to be there for people,” Hawarny said.

To learn more, call Region 10 Community Living Services Director Eva Veitch at 970.249.2436, or visit the web site http://www.region10.net/community-living.