Giving back to the community as part of Ameristar Cares Program
By Nicole Merrick
Started in 2012, each year the Ameristar Casino Resort hosts and caters one of the weekly senior lunches that are held regularly at the Gilpin County Recreation Center. This year, team lead Sean Demeule and 15 or so volunteers made this event the biggest one yet; with nearly 90 RSVPs to the Ameristar Christmas lunch, the event space was abuzz with holiday cheer and lively conversation. The volunteers, who are all Ameristar employees, came from different parts of the business including the hotel, casino, security, and human resources. And the food was a big hit. Serving a traditional Christmas meal of turkey and ham with all the fixin’s, many of the seniors went back for seconds and there were even a lucky few who got to take some home with them.
Mary Ellen Makosky, Senior Transportation Supervisor and coordinator for the event, was thrilled to see the high turnout of seniors this year and hopes to keep the tradition going for years to come. Ameristar team lead Sean Demeule said: “This is a really great event and we’re happy to come here and work to give back to the community.” This annual catered lunch is part of the Ameristar Cares program that partners with local charities to improve the quality of life in “areas where we live and work.” Though not everyone who works at Ameristar lives here in Gilpin County, these volunteers were more than happy to give their time to our senior residents during this Christmas season.
George “Murph” Murphy ventured out on his own to this Christmas lunch to share a meal and swap war stories with his friend Rob Sawyer. Murph has been living in Gilpin County for nearly ten years; he and his wife regularly attend the senior lunches at the community center. Rob loves to cook, but took a day off to join Murph and other Gilpin County residents for this Ameristar-catered event. Rob was one of the few forward air controllers in the Vietnam War and one of even fewer who survived. As a forward air controller, Rob found himself in some dicey situations where he was responsible for low-altitude reconnaissance over battlefields. After leaving the Air Force, Rob came here to Gilpin County and has been heavily involved in the different areas of social work ever since. He now sits as president of the Gilpin County Senior Living Board of Directors.
The event room at the Gilpin County Recreation Center, now decorated with a beautiful Christmas tree, has lunch for the Gilpin County seniors every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These lunches are available for any seniors who can make it there and they only ask for a $2.50 donation from those who have the means. Not every meal at the rec center is a Christmas dinner, but these lunches go a long way to giving the senior residents of Gilpin County a nice hot meal and fellowship with other residents to help stay connected to their community.