Volunteers are the vital core of any community. They’re the thoughtful heads that give it purpose, the willing hands that mold its contours, and the generous hearts that elevate its character. For an excellent example of that class of quiet community campaigner, one needn’t look farther than the pine-girt Upper Bear Creek home of Bob and Joy Poirot, who’ve been setting the standard for neighborliness in the mountain area since 1964.
“They’re just very giving people,” says Judy Tersteeg, former volunteer director for Mount Evans Home Health and Hospice. “Whenever I see them, they’re giving of themselves.”
That’s high praise coming from Tersteeg, who spent the better part of nine years coordinating the benevolent energies of up to 600 of Evergreen’s most giving souls. For their part, the Poirots are more comfortable standing in the shadows of the institutions they support.
“Most of what we do is through other organizations,” explains Bob, a retired Army brigadier with a general’s focus and a private’s humility. “We’re just happy to help out.”
In fact, it would be hard to name a local organization the Poirots haven’t helped out. Through the Knights of Columbus they support the many charitable programs undertaken by Christ the King Catholic Church. Through Evergreen Kiwanis, they lend their spirit and sweat to dozens of worthy causes, everything from Alpine Rescue to the Senior Resource Center, for which Bob volunteers as a driver. Through both official and unofficial Clear Creek County channels they’ve advocated for everything from Guanella Pass Road improvements to the Beaver Brook Watershed. And when they see a need that isn’t directly addressed by a local organization, the Poirots don’t miss a beat.
“I started a satellite club at Kiwanis to help SRC,” says Bob. “We clean up the yards of seniors who can no longer do it themselves.” The Poirots even found a way to make cleaning up their own 20-acre yard benefit the larger mountain community. “Last year we donated about 20 Christmas trees and about 15 cords of firewood to Evergreen Christian Outreach.”
While Joy doesn’t claim to be much with a log splitter, she’s handy with an ice cream scoop and regularly dishes up sweet kindnesses at Evergreen Life Care Center. And while their sociable Shih Tzu, Bruiser, is useless with an ice cream scoop, he’s a master at dishing up “kissies” to Life Care residents on those many days when he and Joy come a-visiting.
“Many of them will ask me to put Bruiser in bed with them,” Joy smiles, “It’s very healing.”
But, as Tersteeg doubtless suspects, it’s Mount Evans that reaps the greatest share of the Poirots’ altruistic inclinations. Bob spent six years on its board, working hard to expand Mount Evans reach to the mountain area’s most vulnerable residents and put its essential programs on a more sure financial footing. Joy spends many hours each month assembling the thick patient packets that greet each new client. And both are among the most familiar of faces at every MEH fundraising event from the Dam Ducky Derby to the Triple Bypass.
“Joy ran the Freedom Run this year, and immediately went and worked on something else,” says Tersteeg. “On the Fourth of July. That’s the kind of people they are.”
If you ask the Poirots, they’ll tell you they’re simply the kind of people their parents raised them to be.
“In the small farming community where I grew up, my dad was kind of the unofficial veterinarian for the area,” Bob says. “He was still delivering calves when he was 90 years old. Volunteerism was instilled in us.”
“If everybody would just do what they’re able to, when they’re able to, the world would be a better place,” says Joy. “There’s such a need for it, and you don’t have to look far to find a way to help.”