2022 AFN Conference

Getting it Right: A Plan with Access and Functional Needs (AFN)  Conference Archived Information 

2022 AFN Award Winners

We are eager to continue to recognize the following individuals and organizations that have set the standard of excellence during this past year.  Join us in celebrating them and their teammates.

Getting It Right: A "Plan With" Approach Award

An individual who has made great strides toward planning; especially incorporating partners, stakeholders and community members. Someone who strives to have a plan and is a community contributor.

Awardee Lisa Lucero

Lisa Lucero maintains a management role with San Luis Valley Area Health Education Center (AHEC) but has a larger community role caring for the whole community while focusing on the under-served migrant and farm working heroes. Lucero is constantly forging paths forward down roads that didn't exist previously to provide resources for those less fortunate. Lisa has a servant's heart and focuses her days outwards to help others. Lucero wears many hats in our community and we're grateful for everything she does. Lisa has never operated in a box, instead, she pushes all boundaries of service to help anyone that needs a hand. Lisa has coordinated COVID-19 clinics for the agricultural community, food drives, coat drives, and picnics for recognizing the unnamed hard-working folks in the fields you will likely never meet. Lisa is love, compassion and my nomination for the Whole Community Inclusion Excellence. 

Whole Community Inclusion Excellence Award

An individual or organization that has done a great deal in the community. This award recognizes and celebrates a significant achievement by an individual or organization for exemplary efforts tied to access and functional needs and whole community inclusion.

Awardee Pitkin County Human Services

The Pitkin Human Services team is small, and yet they all stepped up for the last two years, along with many community partners to tirelessly assist those in our community with their basic and human needs. They never gave up or grew that frustrated over those two years. All that they were/have achieved is a testament to their professionalism and dedication to the work of ESF6 and to the people of Pitkin County.
Some examples of the Human Services Team, acting as ESF-6, achievements:

  • Emergency financial assistance to over 3,000 individuals between March-July
  • About 3050 Home Delivered meals to older adults by the end of May.
  • Mobile Food pantries served about 5300 families by the end of May.
  • Established a shared food calendar with different food partners for the public.
  • Established emergency night shelter March 14-May 30 at HHS
  • Established, set up, and maintained the Safer Outdoor Space with policies and procedures for about 30 clients (April 14 - ongoing)
  • Created an established AFN(Access and Functional Needs) referral process with case management.
  • Applied for, established, and maintained a Non-Congregate Shelter at Mtn Chalet (May 8 - ongoing) from CDPS and FEMA.
  • Unified case management for people experiencing homelessness
  • Maintained caseloads for Economic Assistance programs - 200% increase in SNAP caseload; 600% increase in applications received.
  • Maintained protective services for children and adults.
  • Successfully collaborated with many community partners on different project areas, and regularly convened weekly ESF 6 team meetings with these partners.
  • Convened community partners around Mental Health support weekly/bi-weekly meetings.
  • Assisted in facilitating a Mental Health Disaster Response Training at the end of April.
  • Convened community partners on community food distribution, and weekly meetings.
  • Facilitated expansion of mobile food pantry to Snowmass (April - ongoing)
  • Met with valley Faith communities on deepening partnerships and collaboration.

M, Maintaining Health/Medical - CMIST Award

Someone who incorporates CMIST framework into their work and encourages those around them to embrace the CMIST framework. In addition, this award is for someone who makes great strides in filling gaps in Maintaining health/medical resources while working hard to advance valuable knowledge and practices.

Awardees Linda Smith, Lance Cheslock and Shanae Diaz

Linda Smith, San Luis Valley Regional Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) Coordinator has worked non-stop leading the seven-county service area throughout the entire COVID-19 response. In fact, Smith led all Emergency Support Function 8 Health and Medical entities in our region through the daily COVID-119 grind that included meetings, clinics/points of dispensing, strategy sessions and resource management. Linda led the Public Health Department Operations Center (DOC) activated to coordinate all responding agencies for no less than two years. Smith paved the path for hospitals, clinics, long-term care centers and public health to arrive safely on the endemic side of COVID-19 demonstrating significant strength, commitment and dedication. Linda Smith deserves this award and demonstrates all the professional qualities therein.

Please accept this nomination for both Lance Cheslock and Shanae Diaz as recipients of the CMIST Award. Cheslock is the Executive Director for the La Puente Homeless Shelter in Alamosa successfully leading this organization for over 30 years. Shanae Diaz is the Deputy Director and Street Outreach Coordinator for La Puente. These two motivated professionals define honorable service, hope and good faith. Both Lance and Shanae daily demonstrate the greatest good each of us can do for others by lending a hand or a lift up. Giving is a gift everyone knows or witnessed if you've had the good fortune to meet these two Earth Angels. Lance and Shanae are dedicated to the whole community, each resident, tourist, or transient, it’s what they do.

Distinguished Mentor Award

Awarded to someone who has mentored adults and/or minors, who are contributing to the 'M' in CMIST, someone that by their mentorship has widened the understanding of Access and Functional Needs tied to CMIST resources. This individual is someone that continues to educate and advocate.

Awardees Aimee Voth Siebert, Julia Beems, Veronica Moody

Adrienne Maree Brown talks about “working on excellence” and knowing who your “woes” are on these journeys to improving ourselves and our worlds.

Those Who Endeavor to Grow Award

Awarded to someone who has entered the field of AFN, less than five years ago, and continues to educate themselves and those around them about the community and how vital whole community inclusion is.

Awardee Faviola Alderete

In 2020, with Faviola's leadership, Eagle County created new access and functional needs (AFN) coordinator position in our emergency operations center (EOC) organizational structure. During EOC activations, the AFN coordinator identifies impacted individuals and groups who are not able to effectively access resources and information during an emergency and works with EOC response partners to address those needs. By formalizing this position in our EOC and reporting on AFN during every incident briefing, Faviola has made sure that disproportionately impacted community members and others with barriers to accessing resources receive attention and support during every large-scale and complex incident response.

While developing and serving in the role of EOC AFN coordinator, Faviola worked tirelessly to ensure that county and public safety leadership stayed informed on the needs of community members that had barriers to accessing response resources. In particular, Eagle County's Spanish-speaking community was been impacted heavily by the Grizzly Creek Fire, the Sylvan Fire, the COVID-19 pandemic and a number of other complex emergencies. Faviola worked to ensure that our public communications were accessible to the Spanish-speaking community and even set up unique communication channels aimed at reaching our Latino community members in a way that is culturally relevant and meaningful to the impacted population. During a wildfire response, Faviola even took a team of native Spanish speakers to knock on doors in one of our frontline neighborhoods to ensure that the community was receiving public safety information directly and in person from a trusted source. Thirty to forty percent of Eagle County's population identifies as Latino, and our incident response would be inadequate for a large percentage of our community if it weren't for the relationships that Faviola has built and her continued dedication to identifying access and functional needs in our community and helping our response partners overcome those barriers to reach the people most in need.

Special Recognition for all of our Award Nominations

  • Augusto Basterrechea: Getting It Right: A "Plan With" Approach Award. Mr. Basterrechea is the advocate on the ground ensuring all people including our transient, agricultural and homeless populations obtain the services they need to maintain healthy and happy lives. Basterrechea surveys and inspects working and living environments for our agriculture community personnel calling out shortcomings and liaisoning with the State of Colorado. Basterrechea is also the Chairperson for the San Luis Valley Regional Agricultural Coalition constantly evaluating the needs and identifying gaps for those that were historically left behind. Augusto aka "Gus" is the voice for those that may not be heard and the professional committed to everyone's wellbeing. COVID-19 was challenging for everyone including our agricultural communities, however, Gus scheduled shot clinics, and food and coat drives among many other gestures to guarantee our whole community received the services we all should equally enjoy.
  • Christe Coleman: Those Who Endeavor to Grow Award. Coleman sits on the HSAC Access and Functional Needs Sub-committee sharing information and coordination between a host of vital partners. Christe's participation with this group has not only benefited the State of Colorado, but also the service area she represents. Recently a jurisdiction within Coleman's overview successfully applied for a small dollar AFN grant to memorialize CMIST training resources. These professionally developed resources were distributed throughout the state under Christe's guidance and support. Christe is a team player exhibiting espire de corps loyalty and fellowship for the whole team. If Christe is part of the team, she will no doubt dedicate and commit everything it takes to find success together.
  • Jill Pidcock: Those Who Endeavor to Grow Award. For the past four years, the Arc of the Central Mountains has taken every opportunity to learn more about access and functional needs resources and how we can disseminate those resources and information in a very real way. We have helped develop Emergency Preparedness Training for people with Access and Functional Needs and delivered it regionally and nationally. We continue to put ourselves at every table we can, to be a voice when it comes to this population when planning for preparedness as well as acting in an emergency situation. As COVID-19 became a long-term situation, our organization (Arc of the Central Mountains) made a pivot in our scope of work. We helped our local counties to identify individuals with access and functional needs and connected them with food and economic assistance, personal protective equipment and vaccines. Most recently, we have distributed COVID-19 home testing kits to people who find challenges in acquiring these tests due to their access and functional needs. I am excited to participate in an effort to create a regional VOAD in our area and hope to stay very involved in this service.
  • Merrie Garner: Whole Community Inclusion Excellence.  Merrie is a huge advocate for everything AFN and interprets what comes from the State of Colorado for many of us in emergency management. She is an AFN expert and supports the entire county with real whole community knowledge and resources. Many of us strive to incorporate her ideas into our plans and programs.
  • Shirl Garcia: Getting It Right: A "Plan With" Approach. Shirl is always willing to share resources, and provide introductions to community stakeholders, partners and the community to help everyone learn "what we don't know because we don't know" until we come together to learn from one another and seek to understand. She is a partner in the Colorado Emergency Management Conference, the Access and Functional Needs Subcommittee, the co-chair of the 911 Task Force Equal Access Subcommittee, and many other community-level whole community inclusion in emergency management before, during and after emergency management work.