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Brighton resident Susan McCauley said she learned the value of helping others at a very early age. “My mother always taught us to give back and that’s where it came …
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Brighton resident Susan McCauley said she learned the value of helping others at a very early age.
“My mother always taught us to give back and that’s where it came from,” she said. “Mom always adopted a family at Christmas. She was a seamstress so she would make outfits for the kids and give them a basket of food and gifts. She didn’t have that much money, but she still managed to do that every year.”
This attitude of service stuck with McCauley over the years. In 1992, she started Harmony Host Homes, providing support services for adults with developmental disabilities. The organization currently works with 25 clients, she said.
She formed the local volunteer group, the Harmony Angels Foundation, in 2000. McCauley and her volunteers, or angels, as she calls them, do a variety of large service projects throughout the year.
“We have seven women in the group and they all work like dogs,” she laughed.
For her efforts helping others in the community, McCauley was awarded the annual “Person of Vision” award by the local Lions Club chapter last week. She said she was surprised, honored and humbled to receive the award.
“I guess almost two years ago, some of my angels nominated me for this award and I didn’t know anything about it,” she said. “I guess my number came up.
“But this is actually a team award,” she continued. “I am just one of seven, and believe me, all of these gals work so hard. They’re all angels.”
McCauley was born in Kearney, Neb., and moved to Brighton with her family as a high school freshman. She’s since lived in Brighton, except for the years she and her husband Jerry lived in Alaska from 1981 to 1988.
The Harmony Angels Foundation was founded in memory of McCauley’s mother, Marjorie Price. McCauley found herself in a store around Mother’s Day one year and started to look at the Mother’s Day cards, before realizing she didn’t have anyone to buy a card for anymore. She realized there must be older women in the community who might not be recognized on that special day and she was determined to find them. Last year, McCauley and her angels delivered flowers to 550 ‘mothers’ in the area for the May Baskets for Moms program.
McCauley said one of her favorite Harmony Angels Foundation projects throughout the year is the annual holiday Angel Tree program. Last year, the community helped donate enough gifts to be presented to 265 seniors.
“The Angel Tree is for seniors, nobody remembers the seniors at that time of the year,” she said. “These are people who don’t get Christmas presents. This was an area that was neglected and we tried to find a niche.”
In addition, the Harmony Angels Foundation delivered 250 Father’s Day gift bags to elderly men in nursing homes last year, collected coats and winter clothing to donate to underprivileged students in the area, and worked to recognize Colorado military veterans at Fisher House. McCauley also cheers up local kids and nursing home residents alike when she transforms herself into a clown as part of the Christian Clown Posse. Her clown name is Harmony, of course.
The Harmony Angels have a couple of new projects lined up for 2010. The group received a $5,000 grant from the El Pomar Foundation, which they will use to perform random acts of kindness throughout the year. One event the group has planned is an Easter party for a nursing home in Commerce City.
The angels will also work in conjunction with Brighton Shares the Harvest and the local Boys and Girls Club this year to plant seeds and tomato and pepper plants in 5-gallon buckets to give to seniors and local families.
“If we see a need, we try to fill it in the community,” McCauley said.
The Harmony Angels Foundation has one large fundraiser each year. This year’s event will be July 17 in Brighton and will feature a barbecue and music from country singer Liz Masterson.
McCauley said she will continue to look for ways to help in her community.
“They say people that do volunteer work live longer and have more fulfilled lives,” McCauley said. “Life is what you make of it.”
The Harmony Angels Foundation is in need of five-gallon buckets (cat litter or laundry detergent buckets, for example) for the summer project with Brighton Shares the Harvest and the local Boys and Girls Club. For information on the Harmony Angels Foundation or on how you can help, visit www.harmonyangels.org, call 303-659-6992, or e-mail HarmonyAngelOrg@aol.com.
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