Bolos and Boots raises funds for cancer center

ALAMOSA — At the 15th annual Bolos and Boots event on Friday, July 20, more than 150 supporters showed their generosity in supporting the local San Luis Valley Health’s Foundation in raising funds for the cancer center.

Foundation Director Kelly Gurule said, “We raised over $30,000 and my board did a fantastic job once again. I want to thank everyone for attending, donating and volunteering to make this successful.”

Each year outstanding community partners are recognized at this annual dinner for their contributions to the community and to the SLV Health Foundation. The board recognizes businesses, groups, or individuals who have shown support, commitment and dedication in helping the foundation make exceptional healthcare possible by honoring them with the “Adamson Award.”   

Foundation Chair Sheila Hicks welcomed the supporters to the event. She acknowledged many of the donors and thanked them for their trust. “As the healthcare needs of the Valley continue to grow, so will our commitment, dedication, and support to San Luis Valley Health,” Hicks said.

Gurule also highlighted that Alamosa State Bank, Valley-Wide Health Systems, and SLV Federal Bank have been sponsors each year.

SLV Health CEO Konnie Martin recognized Cindy Palmer with a special personal award for all that she has contributed to improving access to healthcare in the San Luis Valley. “Cindy has worked in healthcare for over 30 years. She spent the last 18 years as the CEO for the organization, known first as SLV HMO and then Colorado Choice Health plans. In 2017, it became Friday Health Plans, from which she retired earlier this year. Cindy always considered the Valley her home even though she didn’t grow up here and spent some of her years professionally in California and the Front Range.” 

Martin acknowledged that there is an interesting tension that can occur between a payer and a provider, but “when leaders keep the community’s best interest at heart, good things can happen. Cindy is a community-minded leader.”

Both Martin and Palmer recall conversations that they had with former SLV RMC CEO Russ Johnson about the amount of care that was leaving the community and how to strategically plan to allow for patients to be cared for locally.

“It was Cindy’s commitment to these values that brought the concept of supporting cancer services to the forefront.”

Kelly Gurule awarded the 2018 Adamson Award to Colorado Choice Health Plans - Friday Health Plans for their outstanding commitment to the SLV Health Foundation. CEO and Co-Owner Sal Gentile accepted the award on behalf of these organizations. Gentile thanked Palmer and the previous board for their time and passion for providing an example of being a great community partner and said he hoped to continue that mission of giving back.

As a special part of the “thank you” to Palmer, the Colorado Choice board members, and Friday Health Plan’s donation to the SLV Health Foundation, a beautiful art piece was commissioned from Carol Fennell for the occasion. The piece reflects the Constructive Healing Cycle which connects the five fundamental elements of nature: earth, metal, water, wood, and fire with balance, support, and harmony in our lives.

The members of the SLV Health Foundation Board are Sheila Hicks, Jeff Motz, Russell Achatz, Duane Bussey, Jacki Kennedy, Rosalie Martinez, Mary Motz, Erica Romero and Roxann Sittler.

The members who were present at Friday’s event unveiled the art at the end of the evening and would like to extend an invitation to the public to come and view it on the wall by the entrance to the SLV Health Cancer Center in the Regional Medical Center at 106 Blanca Avenue, Alamosa.

Caption: Cindy Palmer, left, was acknowledged and thanked by Konnie Martin for her contributions to improving access to healthcare for residents of the SLV/Courtesy photos

Sal Gentile, CEO of Friday Health Plans, receives the Adamson Award from Kelly Gurule.