Impact Award Goes to Nancy Gripman
The winner of the 2016 Impact Award was Nancy Carol Williams Gripman, a long-time Parker resident who helped found the Parker Task Force and passed away in December.
Nancy was one of three nominees for the award, which is presented annually by the Rotary Club of Parker. Her husband, Bill Gripman, received the award in her honor during the annual State of the Town. The other two nominees were Kim Moore and Steven Strain.
Here’s a snapshot of what this year’s amazing Parker citizens have accomplished:
Nancy Carol Williams Gripman
Nancy went home to be with the Lord on December 1, 2015, at the age of 86, but her memory is forever etched in the minds of many Parker area residents.
Nancy and her husband, Bill, came to Parker in 1981 and settled on a 10-acre spread where they had a barn and kept some livestock. It was from that barn that she and some women from various churches distributed food that they collected for the needy back in 1987. That effort marked the birth of the Parker Task Force, which over the next 29 years became a non-profit corporation, and Nancy was its first president. The Task Force was and still is staffed by an all-volunteer workforce, which in one year provided 6,100 people with food; 450 families with rent, utilities, medical care and hotel stays; 2,800 backpacks of food through our schools; and hotel nights for 153 homeless families.
The Task Force moved from the Gripman’s barn to the Community Building on Mainstreet, then to Town Hall, then the Mainstreet Center, then back to the Town Hall, and finally last year into its wonderful new 8,500-square-foot facility at 19105 Longs Way. There are now 120 trained volunteers providing service at the Task Force.
Nancy also volunteered in many other areas locally and internationally, including developing the community garden near the Senior Center. Nancy had much love, energy and compassion packed into a small body, and she made a huge impact on Parker.
Kim is an educator, who spent 40 years teaching at the college, high school and middle school levels. She recently retired from Ponderosa High School after a 20-year distinguished career in theater. In fact, Kim still does some substitute teaching for Douglas County.
On top of her teaching duties, Kim has devoted thousands of hours as a volunteer director of musicals in the Parker community. She founded Parker Theatre Productions, and directed and produced Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, and Guys and Dolls at the PACE Center with casts and crews of 100 or more volunteers. She also directed Into the Woods at the Mainstreet Center, and through proceeds from that event, $20,000 was donated to the Parker Task Force where she now works as an interviewer.
Kim also produced and directed numerous additional productions at Parker United Methodist Church and the Mainstreet Center. A partial list includes Godspell, Music Man, Winnie the Pooh, Little Mermaid, The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood and Oliver. Most importantly, she has earned tremendous respect and affection from those involved in her productions. Her efforts have improved the culture and quality of life in the Parker community immeasurably.
The Warhorse restaurant in downtown Parker was practically an institution and served area residents good food and good cheer for 30 years, all under the ownership of Stevan Strain.
As those in the Parker area well know, the Warhorse was a favorite meeting place of many folks, groups and organizations for three decades. The Warhorse Inn was the site of anniversary dinners, Mother’s Day brunches, business transactions, retirement parties and political campaign kickoffs. Debbie Lewis, who celebrated her election to the Parker Town Council at the Warhorse in 2000 and 2012, says that it was part of the fabric of the community.
In addition to his prominent role as owner of the Warhorse, Stevan has served on numerous boards, including the Douglas County Libraries and the Science and Cultural Facilities District. He has also served on the Douglas County Planning Commission and the County Open Space Advisory Board. Stevan is a former president of the Parker Chamber of Commerce and the Parker Economic Development Council, and he ran for Douglas County Commissioner several years ago. He has indeed been a true public servant.