El Pomar Foundation Partners with Local Hospital Systems to Underwrite Employee Appreciation Weeks at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum
By: Will Keyse
Although each and every one of us has faced difficulties or challenges over the last fourteen months of the pandemic, no one has borne the stresses of COVID-19 as much as frontline healthcare workers. From dealing with the initial stages of confusion, fear, illness and death in the early months to supporting the vaccine distribution process more recently, the impact these individuals have had in keeping our communities safe and healthy cannot be understated.
To express their tremendous gratitude to the healthcare heroes in the Pikes Peak region, and provide an opportunity for them to re-connect with the loved ones they’ve undoubtedly had reduced time with, the Trustees of El Pomar Foundation approved a special grant to underwrite this laudable group’s admission to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Museum (USOPM) over two weeks in April and May, respectively.
The program provided more than 4,500 healthcare workers and their guests with admission at the Zoo and Museum across the two weeks designated as “Hospital Employee Appreciation Week.” Participating institutions were UC Health’s Memorial, Pikes Peak Regional and Grandview Hospitals; Penrose St. Francis Hospitals; Children’s Hospital Southern Colorado and Peak Vista Community Health Centers. The grant underwrote the total cost of admission for hospital healthcare employees, and almost all the cost for their guests, at both of these iconic Colorado Springs destinations.
The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo appreciation events took place from April 12-18 and the USOPM events coincided with National Hospital Week and National Nurse’s Week from May 10-16. Along with providing the funding for cost of admission, El Pomar Trustees and staff gathered at the two locations with signs and cheers to support the healthcare workers as the worst of the pandemic era recedes into the past.
El Pomar CEO and President, Kyle Hybl, shared words of gratitude with the heroes of public health, saying: “All of us at El Pomar Foundation are grateful for the work done by hospital healthcare workers over the last year. This is one way in which we are able to share our heartfelt thanks. Our founders, Spencer and Julie Penrose, established El Pomar Foundation to enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well-being of the people of Colorado, and with the Trustees’ approval of this gift of thanks, I can imagine our founders would be well pleased.”
Lisa Ramey, DO, Peak Vista Interim President and CEO, Chief Medical and Dental Officer, added her note of gratitude and amazement at her colleagues’ courageous efforts over the last year: “Peak Vista’s doors never closed during the pandemic. Our employees worked hard to be able to provide the care that our patients needed where they need it, whether that was COVID-19 testing, telehealth appointments or regularly scheduled check-ups. Throughout it all, our staff never faltered. Peak Vista employees are truly some of the most resilient people that I have ever had the pleasure of working with. To be able to provide this opportunity through El Pomar’s and the Olympic Museum’s generosity is such a wonderful gift.”
We at the Foundation are ever appreciative for the service of frontline healthcare workers, and feel blessed to be in a position to provide an opportunity for these individuals and their families to enjoy moments of well-earned relaxation and connection.