City Clerk wins Sweley Volunteer award for work with United Way.
By BECKY MALEWITZ
Celyn Hurtado had no idea she was going to be receiving the 2013 Dave Sweley Volunteer award from the Finney County United Way, so when she was called to serve jury duty, she almost decided to skip the awards breakfast.
"The night before, I said 'I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to make it. I need to go to work and take care of stuff before I go to jury duty,' and they were like 'No, you have to go. You have to go!," Hurtado said.
With the encouragement, Hurtado found herself at the breakfast despite her busy schedule.
"I was looking at the program with past winners, and they called my name! I was shocked. It's definitely an honor to be listed with those other people who received the award in the past," she said
A native of Garden City, Hurtado has worked for the city of Garden City since 2000. In 2011, she was named city clerk.
Her initial involvement with the Finney County United Way started as part of her job, but has grown each year.
"It helps so many different people," Hurtado said. "Personally, I probably know five people that get services somehow from one of those agencies, whether it be a single friend of mine whose kids are in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts, or some of us donate to Meals on Wheels because we may have parents or grandparents that may have gotten Meals on Wheels before, which was my case. My grandpa used to get them. There's just lots of ways the agencies in United Way impact the community overall. It's a good way for us to have that combined effort and just give as a bulk."
During last years campaign, Hurtado helped the city raise more than $26,000 for United Way, an increase of $5,000 from the previous year.
In addition to her United Way work for the city, she volunteers to go on site visits during the allocation process and sits in on the hearings for the United Way agencies.
"It's nice to have (her) when we have our site visits and we do our allocation process. It's nice to have someone outside the United Way involved in that," said Susan Escareno, executive director of the Finney County United Way. "She's actively involved in the community, so it's good to have someone else's point of view."
The United Way is just one aspect of Hurtado's volunteer work. She is actively involved in her church, serves on the Mexican Fiesta Committee, and organizes the annual Battle of the Badges Red Cross Blood drive.
As a mother of three, Hurtado is actively involved in her children's lives, cheering her sons on at wrestling meets and watching her daughter perform on the Garden City High School flag team.
"She's just one of those people that even though she has a family, she also gives to the community, as well," Escareno said.
Hurtado also has encouraged her children to volunteer and give back to the community.
"My daughter is actually on (student council) at school and has been all the years she has been there. She does a lot through STUCO, but she'll volunteer for anything and everything that comes up. She volunteers at our church in childcare every Sunday; it helps out a lot. My boys ... still working on them," She said with a smile. "They help out when I need them. AJ actually did a blood drive this last summer that helped him get a scholarship, but he helps out a lot sometimes in events related to wrestling, but I pull him into my events to help, as well. The youngest, we're still grooming him."
Between family, work and volunteering, Hurtado is always on the go, but she enjoys everything she does.
"Time is definitely against me sometimes," she said. "But I love being out there getting to meet people. I've met so many people doing blood drives, through United Way and Fiesta. It's good to get to know people in our community."