Governor Hickenlooper proclaims the day as “John Zabawa Day” in Colorado

Mark Koebrich introduces John Zabawa at the VIP reception
Gala photos by

After 36 years serving Seniors’ Resource Center (SRC), retiring President & CEO John Zabawa was sent off in style at The Giving Hope Gala on June 23, 2017. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science received 300 SRC supporters and partners for an evening of memories, gratitude and celebration – and a little fundraising.

Beth Bowlen-Wallace speaks at VIP reception about challenges of caregiving

The evening started with a VIP reception emceed by Mark Koebrich of 9News Senior Source. Beth Bowlen-Wallace, daughter of Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, shared her experience as a caregiver, underscoring how much support caregivers need and how important SRC’s work is in supporting families with aging loved ones. John Zabawa addressed the crowd:

“Caregivers come to us feeling lost, not knowing where to turn. . . Over and over, we see caregivers go from despair to hope, once they have a place to turn for help, once they know they are not alone. Tonight we are celebrating this hope.”

Emcee Reggie Rivers jokingly announced himself as the next CEO of SRC

All the guests joined Reggie Rivers, former Denver Bronco, for the cocktail reception.  Karen Masters of Lutheran Medical Center, Cheryl Haggstrom of Community First Foundation and Jayla Sanchez-Warren of Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) spoke about the important partnerships SRC has made that make its mission possible.

Deborah Brackney, SRC Board Chair, introduced John Zabawa, retiring President & CEO, with a surprise proclamation from Governor John Hickenlooper, designating June 23, 2017 as John Zabawa Day. Zabawa ended the reception with a farewell address that was received with rousing applause and a few tears.

“I can’t adequately express what it means to have been a part of this effort for so long. I truly believe that how we treat our elders represents who we are as a community. Making sure older adults have hope and dignity is the core of a great society.”

“Thirty-six years is a long time and I have traveled this path with so many of you. I look forward to traveling this path with you tonight and into the future. I will continue to be involved in supporting SRC. It has been my privilege and honor to serve as President & CEO of SRC. Thank you for joining us tonight and for supporting me, this great organization and, most importantly, our seniors.”

Guests were educated and entertained during the dinner portion of the event with videos about SRC’s mission and client stories.

Reggie Rivers followed the client stories with a successful paddle-raiser that brought in SRC’s highest receipts at a fundraiser. The evening concluded with Hazel Miller keeping everyone dancing in the Science Atrium.

Marla Williams, Steve Burkholder, Margie & Felix Cook

Other guests included Grant Wicklund, President & CEO of Exempla Lutheran Medical Center; Marla Williams, President/CEO of Community First Foundation;  John & Lorraine Bandimere, Jr (owners of Bandimere Speedway), along with daughter Tami Bandimere-Shrader; Jerry Pifer, assistant to U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter; Colorado Representative Steve Lebsock;  Mayor Joyce Jay of Wheat Ridge; Steve Burkholder, former mayor of Lakewood;Michele Haney, President of Red Rocks Community College; Ben Wiederholt, President & CEO Metro Community Provider Network

Gala Committee Members:

  • Steve Burkholder: Former Mayor of Lakewood, Honorary SRC Board Member
  • Gretchen Cerveny: Former Mayor of Wheat Ridge
  • David DeMott: VP of Technology, Source Office and Technology, SRC Board Member
  • Barbara Engemoen: Federal EAP Consultant (retired)
  • Jennifer Gormley: Attorney, SRC Board Member
  • Tamra Palmer: Attorney, SRC Board Member
  • Palmer J. Pekarek-Greer, Senior Vice-President of Operations, Ruby Lane, Inc.
  • Kathleen Stapleton: Retired RTD SeniorRide Coordinator, SRC Board Member
  • Jack York: Co-Founder/President of It’s Never 2 Late

Giving Hope Gala Honorary Committee

  • Pam Bales; President & CEO The West Chamber, Serving Jefferson County
  • John & Lorraine Bandimere; Bandimere Speedway
  • Dr. Michele Haney; President, Red Rocks Community College
  • Tom & Marta Murray; West Metro Fire Rescue Board of Directors (Marta), President Summit Brick Company (Tom)
  • Pam Nissler; Executive Director Jefferson County Public Library
  • Mag Strittmatter; Executive Director The Action Center
  • Marla Williams; President & CEO Community First Foundation


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