When Evergreen resident Judy Tersteeg has the time, she likes to travel. She likes to walk the wooded ways around her North Evergreen home. She likes to swim laps at the Buchanan Rec pool, and play a few sets of tennis at the Evergreen Sports Center. But if Judy doesn’t always have time to indulge in those simple pursuits, it’s because she gives so much of it away in service to her mountain-area neighbors.
“Judy’s the perfect volunteer,” says Kathy Engel, executive director of Mount Evans Home Health and Hospice, which organization accounts for the greater part of Judy’s discretionary time. “She always asks ‘What can I do to help?’”
Growing up with her brother in little Redwood Falls, Minn., some two hours west of the Twin Cities, Judy was ever finding ways to get involved. A proud Redwood Valley High School ‘Cardinal,’ she sang in the choir and piped a flute in the band, and when her active nature found no competitive outlet she gladly donned the red and black uniform of a Redwood Valley cheerleader.
“It was really the only choice,” she recalls. “Back then they didn’t have sports for teenage girls.”
Upon graduation, Judy set her sights on a career in child care and enrolled at all-woman Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. As it happened, her plan to one day run a nursery school ran into a decidedly happy obstacle.
“I got married, instead,” she smiles. “Glenn also grew up in Redwood Falls, and we’d been on exactly eight dates together. We got engaged over the phone. We’ve been married for 48 years.”
The young couple eventually landed in Honoeye Falls, a scenic village in upstate New York. While Glenn was busy developing a bright career with Eastman Kodak Co., Judy found satisfying work in a local doctor’s office. In time they increased their contentment by a factor of two – daughters Beth, now a senior vice president with Armani Exchange, and Patricia, a talented equine veterinarian.
“After the girls grew up we wanted to go someplace else,” Judy says. “My dad grew up in Colorado Springs. Beth was going to CU in Boulder, and she said, ‘You gotta’ live in Evergreen.’”
Judy and Glenn took one look at Evergreen and agreed with their daughter. They settled in The Ridge in 1995, and Judy immediately started looking for ways to get involved in her new community.
“My father was a funeral director, and having worked in a doctor’s office I knew I wanted to do something in that field. I saw an ad in the paper for Mount Evans, and it just clicked.” It did a lot more than that.
“Judy’s the only person at Mount Evans who’s served as an employee, a volunteer and a board member,” Engel says.
These days, much of Judy’s time is spent working with Camp Comfort volunteers, heading up Mount Evans’ auction committee and co-coordinating the Angel project. Perhaps most notably, when the organization recently found itself shy a full-time volunteer coordinator, Judy threw herself into the breach until a replacement could be hired. “She saved the agency by stepping in as a volunteer for six weeks,” says Engel. “She’s given way, way above what we would ask of anybody, volunteer or employee.”
For her part, Judy reserves her admiration for the community that comes through for Mount Evans time and time again.
“People want to give,” she says. “I get goosebumps sometimes when I think of what people give for the benefit of Mount Evans.”