Lionizing Golden’s living landmarks

Annual awards honor those who have enriched the culture of Golden’s community

Posted 4/24/19

Each year, the Golden Landmarks Association selects individuals and organizations that have made significant impacts on the Golden community to be honored as Living Landmarks. This year, Dave Powers, …

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Lionizing Golden’s living landmarks

Annual awards honor those who have enriched the culture of Golden’s community

Posted

Each year, the Golden Landmarks Association selects individuals and organizations that have made significant impacts on the Golden community to be honored as Living Landmarks.

This year, Dave Powers, the Golden Lions Club and Kevin and Kathy O’Connor will be honored.

Dave Powers

Photography, saxophone, western history, consulting.

These are some of Golden resident Dave Powers’s interests.

But some people might recognize him simply for his khaki 1952 Willis M38 Jeep, which he used to drive in various parades, Powers said.

Powers, 86, was born in Portland, Maine. He married his wife Runie on Dec. 21, 1958 and they raised two boys. The couple met when Dave was in the Army and Runie was working for Delta Airlines. She died on July 7, 2017.

The Powers family moved to Golden in 1988. With his professional experience as a consultant for fundraising efforts for colleges and universities, Powers came to Golden because a headhunter sought him out to become the vice president for institutional advancement at the Colorado School of Mines.

“Education is important because it’s the lifeblood for so many people,” Powers said.

At Mines, Powers helped raise funds for scholarships, financial aid and facilities. He retired in 1995, but worked for a Chicago company doing consulting work for nonprofits until 2003.

“After I retired,” Powers said, “I got my horn out.”

About nine years ago, a quartet formed to play at the Golden Hotel. Powers played the tenor sax, but stopped performing about three years ago.

Powers has served on the board of the Foothills Art Center, the Golden Civic Foundation and the Golden Visitors Center. He has also enjoyed doing character portrayal at the Clear Creek History Park and the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave.

“You don’t think a lot about it,” Powers said of his community involvement. “If I’m interested in something, I’ll usually say yes.”

Photography has been a long-term interest of his, and Powers has been taking pictures since the 1940s.

Powers’ photos of community events are regularly featured on GoldenToday.com, and Café 13 will display an exhibit of Powers’ Cuba photos this May.

Powers especially enjoys taking portrait photographs of people.

“People have a point of view,” Powers said. “It’s a way of seeing life.”

Kevin and Kathy O’Connor

Through their volunteer work with Family Tree — specifically, gathering and contributing household goods to families — Kevin and Kathy O’Connor met a woman in need of some cleaning supplies.

She was a victim of domestic violence, Kevin O’Connor said, and once she got on her own, all she asked for were those cleaning supplies so she could start her housecleaning business.

“We feel fortunate, and we enjoy giving back to the community,” Kathy O’Connor said. “It’s very gratifying to see the results.”

Bringing them to Lakewood from Delaware in 1978, Kevin O’Connor was hired by the newly formed Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) — now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where he worked until 1981. He returned to NREL in 1991 — following a career in computer science with AT&T. At NREL, O’Connor worked with alternative fuels and retired in 2006.

The O’Connors moved to Golden in 1997, and soon became involved with the community.

A seamstress, Kathy O’Connor has been sewing for since she was 12. She created costuming for the Clear Creek History Park and the former Astor House museum. Last fall, she started a volunteer project with Golden High School’s music department for which she is providing the costuming for the 24th Street Singers and Demon Jazz with some much-needed repairs.

The O’Connors are longtime supporters of the Jefferson Symphony Orchestra and have been involved with many of its fundraising efforts, as well as formerly serving on its board of directors. Having a longtime interest in woodworking, Kevin O’Connor designed and built the orchestra’s podium.

Kathy O’Connor retired in 2014 after a 28-year career as a flight attendant with United Airlines. The couple still enjoys travel, and they pay the tuition for three Tanzanian girls to attend secondary school, which is the equivalent of a U.S. high school education.

The O’Connors have been married for 51 years and they have three children and six grandchildren.

“Our lives have been enriched by living in Golden,” Kathy O’Connor said. “This has brought us many opportunities to involved with organizations that bring us a lot of enjoyment.”

Golden Lions Club

The saying goes: When there’s a need, there’s a Lion.

“We stay pretty busy,” said Golden Lions Club president George Arrambide.

Golden Lions Club members can be found at nearly every community happening —volunteering with the Golden Backpack Program, the 9 Health Fair, assisting the Christian Action Guild with the postal service’s annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive and serving hot cider at the community Candlelight Walk, to name a few.

The Golden Lions Club got its start in December 1942 and officially became a club after receiving its paperwork from Lions Club International in early 1943.

Today, the club has 28 active members and 28 at-large members. Notable Lions are Frank Sweeny, 91, who is the oldest living member and has been with the club for 57 years. In 2015, Tootie Flaugher became the first woman to join the Golden Lions Club. Sondra Welsh will become the club’s first female president when she assumes the role this June.

Although it is not the largest Lions Club in the state, it is the most second most active, next to the Denver Den, Arrambide said.

Golden Lions have long been associated with their work in the city’s neighborhood parks. They’ve built dugouts, tennis courts, restroom facilities, gazebos, picnic pavilions and worked on a number of roof replacement projects. Construction of their namesake park in Golden, Lions Park, completed in 1975.

This summer will be the 48th year the Lions have put on a community 4th of July celebration and the club has provided a free, annual chili supper since 1956. A noteworthy program the Golden Lions participates in is the Colorado Lions KidSight Program — which provides free vision screening and follow-up for children six months through six years.

Members will also perform one-time serve projects, such as installing a wheelchair ramp on a home, whenever there’s a need, Arrambide said.

The Golden Lions Club exists to serve, he added.

“There’s always somebody who needs something,” Arrambide said. “We’ll serve the community in any way that we can.”

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