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Honoring local heroes and fundraising for community relief

This issue is dedicated to those who have served in the military and their families.  We remember and honor those who came home, those yet to come home, and those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.  For anyone currently serving in the global conflicts, thank you for your service and that of your family.  Freedom isn’t free.

front cover for heroes gala

Douglas County Community Foundation raised more than $550,000 to support local nonprofit organizations and the Community Emergency Relief Fund at its inaugural Heroes Gala. The evening honored military personnel, veterans and first responders – who were on-hand giving demonstrations and interacting with guests.

Douglas County Community Foundation (DCCF) held its inaugural Heroes Gala honoring first responders, military personnel and veterans at the picturesque Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms.

The sold-out event, which was attended by 650 people, including 140 uniformed members from local law enforcement and fire service agencies, raised more than $550,000 for Douglas County nonprofits and the DCCF Community Emergency Relief Fund.

“We exceeded expectations for our fundraising goals, in large part due to the heartwarming and compelling stories shared by our eight award honorees,” said DCCF Executive Director Mike Waid.  “Recognizing these local heroes and raising money to support them in times of crisis in Douglas County inspired generosity in our attendees, sponsors and donors.”

The curated event featured interactive and static displays of emergency equipment, Douglas County mounted patrol, motor and K-9 units, demonstrations with first responders, live music by an all-fireman band, a Colorado Emerald City Pipes & Drums band procession, and a heartfelt awards ceremony – all followed by a spirited live auction.  The evening was punctuated by a “silent disco” afterparty and an acoustic Spanish guitarist serenade.

“Thank you to the Board of County Commissioners for their partnership and support of this first-of-its-kind event,” said Brock Smethills, chairman of the DCCF Board and president of Sterling Ranch, the presenting sponsor of the event.  “The County’s commitment of $200,000 in matching funds to the DCCF Community Emergency Relief Fund will ensure maximum impact of our benevolent individual and corporate contributions.  It allows our community foundation to provide financial assistance in times of emergency, ensuring our first responders have the tools they need to thrive and continue their invaluable work,” he said.

In addition to inspiring generosity, responsibly managing philanthropic contributions, maintaining agile funds for emergencies, and providing support to local nonprofit organizations serving the needs within our community, DCCF is the regional champion for Colorado Gives Day and Douglas County Gives on December 5.  New this year, all nonprofits are eligible to participate, regardless of their annual budget or longevity.

Congratulations to the following award recipients: Jeff Cislo – Law Enforcement Award; Keara Martin – Dispatch Award; Alex Racey – Veteran Award; Jacob Mathis – Armed Forces Award; Kendrick Castillo – Fallen Hero Award; CJ Bailes – Fire & Rescue Award; Michelle Kaye and Operation Equine – Community Award; and Wellspring Community – Best Year Yet Award.

Additional information, photos and videos featuring each of the DCCF Heroes Gala award recipients can be viewed at

Information and photos submitted by Douglas County Community Foundation



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