Heroes are Hard to Find

There are many of us that do not have the time to volunteer or we just choose not to (and there is nothing wrong with that).  Day to day life can be a grind without having to take on more.  Enough said.

I was talking to a a friend of mine the other day and he is an individual that does give up some of his time.  He volunteers for an organization he believes makes a difference.  Before I let him tell you why he does what he does, let me give you a little background about him.

His name is Garo Chalain and he is an owner of a condominium at the Antlers.  He is from Clinton, Iowa so you know he has that mid-west innocence and country style about him (not really, but I told him that’s what I would say if anyone asked).

He worked hard for the degrees and certifications that follow his name when written professionally.  His success as an oral surgeon was abruptly halted in 2008 after a motor cycle accident while he was doing what he loved, “just messin’ around in the Vail Valley”.

Unable to practice dentistry in the office he established, he went back to school and received his certification to practice law in Colorado.

I asked him after all his hard work, what he does now for entertainment and pleasure.  “Still messin’ around in the Valley but now I have Val to cook for and all the friends that want to join us.”  (Garo has never been married and Val is the bride to be.  They will be tying the knot in September right here at the Antlers.)

The other question I asked was about his work with Wellspring as a volunteer and what satisfaction it brought.  This was his response and I encourage you to watch the video on the web-site.  Garo is the one being interviewed.)

 

Give me some short summary of why you volunteer every week at Wellspring Community (satisfaction).

Approximately a year and half ago the 12 year old son of one of our endodontist partners approached me and said “I’m not making a difference in this world.”  Initially, I took pause, and thought “you know,  I’m  40 years your senior and I’m not making a difference either.”   Young Will Holtzmann and I then actively sought out a way to make a difference. We landed at the doorstep of Wellspring Community. Wellspring is a community of developmentally disabled adults who are empowered to maximize their special skills and personalities as productive members of society.

Wellspring Community offers some very innovative programs to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities – like Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and even folks with traumatic brain injury.  They operate Best Buddies Bakery where they train these adults in every aspect of baking and packaging, selling their products nationally – and they have plans to start other business enterprises to give these individuals the opportunity to enjoy meaningful, productive work.  In addition to this, they offer on-going education in all kind s of life skills and enrichment activities, such as Self-defense, Art, Dance, Sign Language, Science, Culture and much more.  This summer participants are learning to grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs in a community garden.  A professional vocal coach directs the Wellspring Wonders Choir, giving these adults the thrill of enjoying music and performing before audiences.  On weekends, Club 21 gives adults with special needs a place to socialize with friends in a safe, supervised and structured setting; and it gives their parents a time of respite.

We are currently working on a residential program so that our participants will have a place to live when their parents can longer care for them.

Until I got involved, I had no idea how desperately these services were needed.  The state of Colorado ranks among the lowest in the nation (47th – 48th) in funding services for individuals with developmental disabilities and the waiting list for services is thousands of people deep.   Wellspring is giving hope to these folks and their families – and we need more partners to advance our mission………

Please go to the website http://wellspringcommunityonline.org/.

One of the things that makes him a nice guy is the fact that he inspires you and doesn’t even know he’s doing it.  And for all the years I’ve known him, never once have I heard him complain about “the accident”.

Greg

 

One Response to “Heroes are Hard to Find”

  1. Armen Chalian says:

    Very informative & Garo has always been an inspiration to his 10 cousins & 3 siblings!!!! From the youngest age I can remember, he’s always truely had a heart of gold!!!!