Recognizing exemplary volunteer and community service by government employees in Colorado


UWS Winners webGerry Smith, Torch Barr, Heather Savalox, Marlene De La Rosa

CITY | Byron “Torch” Barr, City of Littleton Fire Rescue

Bryon “Torch” Barr’s fire service career began in 1987 at the Cunningham Fire Protection District in Arapahoe County.  He began  working for Littleton Fire Department in January of 1990, where he currently holds the rank of Paramedic Engineer.  Torch is a member of the Dive Team, a Littleton Police SWAT team TEMS Paramedic, and is the respiratory SCBA program manager.

Torch’s involvement in Special Olympics Colorado began in February 1989 through a fellow firefighter who was working as an equipment team volunteer at the State Winter Games.  Torch enjoyed the experience so much that he immediately became a regular volunteer.  He has held many volunteer positions from director for the state Fall Classic to support services and has also as a participated as a unified partner in golf, basketball, softball, and powerlifting.

Torch’s many other volunteer activities including the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control as a Driver Operator Committee Board member and a Regional Proctor Coordinator, Rock Canyon High School Fire Science program, various motorcycle ride fundraisers including the Children’s Hospital Toy Run, and assisting in hockey tournament fundraisers.  He has been married to his wife Sue for 17 years.

COUNTY | Heather Savalox, Routt County Environmental Health

Heather Savalox is a Senior Environmental Health Specialist with the Routt County Department of Environmental Health in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and has 20 years of experience in the field of Environmental Health.

Heather founded It Takes Courage in response to the death of her niece Kristina Calco.  Her suicide, at the age of 15, resulted from years of bullying.  Serving Northwestern Colorado communities, It Takes Courage’s mission is to raise awareness of the impacts of bullying and decrease incidents of suicide among our youth.  Heather and her volunteers do this by promoting the importance of standing up and speaking out to eradicate bullying and by providing young people and their families with the tools that instill courage and inspire growth of empathetic communities.

It Takes Courage is volunteer-driven and operates as a program under REPS (Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide).  Heather works collaboratively with the Mind Springs Health Center of Steamboat Springs to provide Anti-Bullying and Suicide Prevention Programs in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Routt County.  Since its inception in 2012, It Takes Courage has touched the lives of over 2,500 students and staff.

STATE | Gerald (Gerry) Smith, Governor’s Office of Information Technology

As an IT director for the Governor’s Office of Information Technology, Gerry is well into his third career.  After discharge from the Marine Corps, he worked 21 years with Pathmark Stores Incorporated, a supermarket company on the East Coast as their Director of Computer Services. He then went to work for IBM Global Services in the outsourcing field, specializing in delivery of IT services to commercial customers, with a special focus on budgets, cost control, and the delivery of business applications to commercial customer sets. In 2004, he started working for the State of Colorado at the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, and was appointed Deputy CIO in 2006. After being promoted to IT Director, he supported both Department of Natural Resources and Department of Local Affairs.

Gerry volunteers as a Domestic Violence Advocate for the Adams County District Attorney’s Office, and is presently chairman of the Adams County VALE committee, (Victims Advocates and Law Enforcement).  This group does the important work of awarding grants to organizations that provide victim services.

Gerry and his wife Linda live in Westminster and have three children, Gerrilynn 44, Jonathan 41, and Jason 37.   Six grandkids come with that package!

FEDERAL | Marlene De La Rosa, DOJ Executive Office for Immigration Review

Marlene De La Rosa has lived most of her life in Denver and has worked for the Department of Justice for nearly 30 years with the US Immgiration Court.   She is the mother of 21 year old twins TaShina and LaPhonso and 12 year old Aaliyah.   She has been committed to improving education for the youth of Colorado since she was a teenager.  At the age of 15, she cared for children while their parents attended parent education and leadership training.   She has served as board member and committee member for the following organizations over the past 20 years Mile High Montessori, Denver Great Kids HeadStart, Circle of Latina Leadership, Hispanic Chamber Education Foundation, LatinasGive and the parent organizations at each of her children’s schools.  Marlene was instrumental in improving parent engagement and parent leadership within Denver Public Schools.

Most recently Marlene has focused on improving graduation and college attainment with the youth in her neighborhood by volunteering at North High School.  Marlene has been the “Team Mom/Manager of the boys basketball team for 9 years.  This year she started an athlete support program in partnership with Athletics and Beyond.  The players participated in 9 sessions, two community projects and will be going on a trip to the Capitol.  Their participation in the basketball program has encouraged them to maintain their grades and continue their pursuit of education.  She follows the philosophy of “Servant Leadership” and challenges these scholar athletes to work to their highest potential and to find their personal purpose in life.  Her hope is they too will work toward the greater good and serve their communities in the future.  And most of all, she has her hearts desire and that is to have lots of children.

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May 3, 2017

10:30 am – 12:30 pm

CFEB Training Room
Denver Federal Center | Lakewood CO

Online Registration Opens 4/3/17

2016 Awards Ceremony Program




303 202 4588