Dedication to giving one’s time for others doesn’t go unnoticed in Buena Vista. For Best of BV 2020, resident Nancy Taylor was voted Volunteer of the Year.
“I’m incredibly honored to be rewarded for doing something that is such a source of joy and enrichment in my life. A huge part of the credit goes to my wonderful friends and neighbors who’ve stepped up to help with countless projects over the years,” she says. “I’m certain there are others in town that deserve this recognition more than I do, and I sincerely thank all who voted for me.”
For over 50 years, Taylor has lent a hand as a volunteer wherever one was needed, starting in her high school community theatre.
“I was extremely shy in high school,” she says. “Working back stage at the community theatre provided opportunities for making friends and building self-confidence. Over the decades it became increasingly satisfying to share the gifts of time and talent because I wanted to, rather than working at a salaried job.”
In 1996, Taylor moved to Buena Vista with her husband and two dogs, keeping watch for more volunteer opportunities.
“Nearly every day presents an opportunity to help somewhere or someone with something,” she says. “It’s all good.”
In addition to helping groups and individuals with free graphic design and print work, she has found most of her volunteer projects with the Town of Buena Vista Beautification Advisory Board for over 10 years.
An ad in The Chaffee County Times announcing Beautification Board vacancies inspired her.
“Town beautification sounded both interesting and worthwhile,” she says. “After attending one meeting I felt this was a good fit for my particular skills, working in tandem with a fun group of creative people.”
Her most recent project with the Beautification Board was the Adopt a Holiday Tree project. The board sourced miniature pine trees for over 30 planters along Main Street and invited the community to adopt and decorate each one.
This project had been discussed since 2013, Taylor says, and seeing the end results was “especially satisfying.” High winds presented the main obstacle, causing the trees to lean and even blew one away. Nevertheless, the board will take all that they have learned from this first try and use that knowledge to make things easier next year.
Buena Vista’s Snowflake Ornaments project was a particular favorite of Taylor’s. “The idea was born in 2018 as a Beautification fundraiser to add a 3-foot extension to the town holiday tree at the Splash Park,” she says. “I located a company to provide the white metal ornaments with an enamel BV town logo in the center.”
Taylor has maintained ongoing promotion and sales to raise funds for Beautification projects. Promotional items can be purchased at Town Hall, Buena Vista Welcome Center & Chamber of Commerce, The View Café & Gifts and Souled Out T-shirts.
Event planning in its entirety is something Taylor loves, and she eagerly looks forward to a time when the public can safely hold meetings, shows and celebrations.
“Volunteering is the perfect win-win activity,” she says. “Everyone has something to contribute. Your service not only helps others but rewards you with a feel good endorphin boost. It’s a wonderful cycle – the more you give, the more you receive.”
To those who have considered volunteering, Taylor advises they stop thinking about it and give it a try.
“The definition of volunteer is ‘a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.’ Volunteering can be a one-time, short-term or long-term commitment. If you don’t enjoy it, you don’t have to continue. However, if you give it a try, the rewards will nearly always outweigh the time and effort you devoted.”