Marie Beeler says it was all quite unexpected. “It was really surprising to hear that I was named Woman of the Year,” said Beeler. “I found out who nominated me, and I just felt very humbled by …
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The Arvada Chamber of Commerce also gave our Image Awards, Young Professional Leadership Awards and a Rising Star Award at the 70th Annual Arvada Chamber of Commerce Awards Luncheon on Oct. 6:
Image Awards: Gordon Beelsey, Justin Andrade
Young Professional Leadership Awards: Joe Hengstler, Deanna Mayberry
Rising Star Award: Curtis Fay
Marie Beeler says it was all quite unexpected.
“It was really surprising to hear that I was named Woman of the Year,” said Beeler. “I found out who nominated me, and I just felt very humbled by it. I have no involvement with the chamber. I’ve lived in Arvada for 42 years and I have seen a lot of need, and I’ve been very involved with the schools.”
Beeler is the chairperson for HOPE (Help Our People Eat), an organization that provides food for children at Title I schools in Arvada and parents living below the poverty line. Her philanthropic efforts also include work with Arvada High School, the Severe Weather Network, migrant ministry and Hope House.
After retiring from a career as a buyer at Costco and Xanterra Travel Collection, Beeler says she felt compelled to help others after.
“I always thought, `When I retire, I want to do something to help people,’” said Beeler. “I was not used to staying home and I did want to help other people, so I got involved with migrant ministry, and what we did is we collected donations of clothing and food, we had some area companies that were very generous to us and gave us food for the migrants.”
Beeler said that while she noticed the donations of clothing making an impact, the people in need she was working with truly struggled with food insecurity. This drove Beeler to work with Arvada High School to provide support to students and families struggling to put food on the table.
“I’ve really felt compassion for children and for the elderly because they’re the ones that are really struggling from food insecurity,” said Beeler, “and with Arvada High School, I supply them not only with snacks for the students, but I supply food and food boxes that are given out to families that need it.”
Nina Russel, the registrar at Arvada High School, praised Beeler’s work, stating that she aids thousands of people in need.
“She helps foster a lot of the elementary schools she helps get food for and goes grocery shopping for; she impacts thousands of kids,” said Russel. “And she’s a great resource for so many people because she has so much knowledge and she’s willing to share it. It’s awesome.”
Betsy Worley said she’s worked with Beeler for about 10 years and nominated her for the award because she does so much good in the community.
“She’s a great role model and mentor and an example of someone who really sees people in our community, like the students, who will really be our next generation of leaders. And she has a huge heart for those that are overlooked,” said Worley.
Worley added that Beeler would probably dislike the attention being brought on her.
“She doesn’t do these things for recognition and she doesn’t want attention drawn to her. She wants attention drawn to the most needy in our community,” said Worley.
For her part, Beeler was incredulous, positing that everyone should volunteer in some capacity and that she knew many women who deserved the award.
“I wish everyone would consider volunteering in some capacity. There’s so much need out there. I feel like I have so much more of an understanding of the problems that we have in our society, and I just feel like I have gained so much by doing this,” said Beeler. “I do really feel humbled. I know at least 12 women tight now that deserve an award like this.”
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