Patriotic, proud and community-minded. That's David Dey.
As a member of the local Elks Lodge #2363 for the past 25 years, Dey (pronounced "die") has been involved in nearly every aspect of the organization all the way up to holding the title of Exalted Ruler (ER) in 2009-10.
He's very proud of the group of men and women who comprise the Elks and takes great pride in what they do for the community. Despite declining membership nationally, David points out that membership in the Elks is increasing locally, now boasting of 350 members.
It's an organization that puts family first, he says, as he lists some of the many activities designed for young people to senior citizens, sponsored by the group. From Outdoor Skills Day to the Easter Egg Hunt, the Elks are supportive of their own families and work to stimulate family activities within the community.
As Exalted Ruler, David worked to increase awareness of the organization throughout the Evergreen community, attending Chamber mixers, meeting with heads of nonprofit organizations to get more familiar with the missions of those organizations, and building relationships between the Elks and potential recipients of funding.
He is responsible for starting the Community Awards Banquet to honor fellow Elks who worked year-round at Bingo to raise money to support the many programs of the Elks, and to distribute money raised by the Bingo efforts. The first year $7,000 was distributed; in just a few years the number has grown to $15,000 and most recently was distributed to 30 nonprofit organizations in the mountain area.
Although not his idea, he was supportive of the fundraiser organized by ER Mark Ryan to raise money for the victims of the Lower North Fork Fire earlier this year. The event was the largest fundraiser ever held by Lodge 2363 and one of the largest by an Elks Lodge in the state of Colorado. Members are currently investigating the possibility of tapping into national funds designated for disasters on behalf of the Lower North Fork Fire victims.
As a member of the Sons of the American Legion, he wears a hat that differentiates him from the veterans he holds in such high esteem. Explaining that he "came of age" just after the Vietnam War wound down, he points out that he did not serve in uniform like his father, who served in the army. But he's a great believer in his country and admires those who have fought to protect our freedoms. He honors them year-round in numerous ways and marches with them side-by-side in parades and other ceremonies, presenting colors, and saluting the flag of his country frequently.
He takes part in the Blue Star Salute, which started after 9/11 to honor those who have served and are still serving their country. The Blue Star dates back to World War I when families hung a small flag in their windows with a blue star on a field of white, bordered by red if they had a son serving in the military. When the flag disappeared from the window, neighbors would know the son had been killed in action. Flags with gold stars are now presented to families when their sons and daughters give their lives while on duty with the armed forces. The American Legion conducts the Blue Star Salute annually, gathering together the families of servicemen and women at the Elks Lodge for a ceremony.
David explained that there's a lot of crossover between the Elks and the American Legion and also between the Elks and the Evergreen Rodeo Association, of which he's also a member. He's an enthusiastic supporter of the National Little Britches Rodeo Association, for kids 5-18, and helps out each year at the local event here in Evergreen. "Rodeo is the core of this community," he says.
One of his favorite activities attached to rodeos is the Catch-a-Calf program, held at the National Western Stock Show and designed for 4-H members between the ages of 12 and 16 who get to take home a calf to raise, returning the following year to sell it. Youngsters keep record books of the calf's development and maintain written contact with sponsors throughout the year to report on how the calf is progressing.
When he's not volunteering, Dey works in the remodeling business. Sometimes you might catch sight of him playing hockey at the lake, but he gave up competitive hockey after a serious leg injury in 2003. He acquired a love for the sport while spending much of his youth in Minnesota. But it was the summers he spent with an uncle who worked as a ranger at the Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado that developed his love for our state.
David Dey is a grateful person, feeling blessed by having been brought up by loving parents and for not being born into a family of poverty. He loves living here in Evergreen – a resident since 1975 – and is thankful for the life he and his wife, Sharon, have experienced. He tries to give back with all that he does, wanting so much to encourage kids and provide them with the tools they need to succeed. He serves as a good role model for young and old alike.
David Dey, we salute YOU.