Recognizing exemplary volunteer and community service by government employees in Colorado


COUNTY | Brian McKnight, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office 

Deputy Brian McKnight has been a valued member of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office for nearly three decades, spending many of his recent years empowering members of the community with crime prevention information. Over the course of his career, Brian has developed close connections with citizens and organization, all in an effort to better the Arapahoe County community.

In addition to his crime prevention work at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, Brian assists in coordinating two citizen’s academies at the Sheriff’s Office each year, holiday toy drives for children, and the Sheriff’s Office participation in the annual Special Olympics Polar Plunge and Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR). Brian is the past president of LETR and still sits on the advisory board.

Aside from his regular duties, Brian volunteers with the non-profit organization HawkQuest to teach children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol through demonstration with birds of prey. He also is an active volunteer with Special Olympics Colorado and served this past spring as a volunteer coach for the Arapahoe High School unified track team.

STATE | Nikki Gwin, CDR- Marijuana Enforcement Division 

In 2011, Nikki Gwin founded the non-profit dog rescue, My Fairy Dawg Mother (MFDM), to provide new homes in Colorado for neglected and abused dogs from throughout the United States. Nikki’s home is the headquarters of My Fairy Dawg Mother, however she has developed a large foster network to provide temporary care to dogs on their way to their forever homes. Since 2011, her efforts have saved the lives of 611 dogs who were placed in loving homes in Colorado! Over four-hundred of the dogs that Nikki’s organization placed have had significant issues to overcome such as severe abuse, broken bones, heartworm, extreme mange, and chronic lifelong medical conditions.

MFDM also provides the funds and medical supplies for all chronic issues for the life of the animal. Further, Nikki Gwin has personally provided her own loving home for a number of dogs who could not be adopted due to old age, terminal medical problems, or extreme impairment resulting from abuse. MFDM prioritizes finding optimal matches that best serve both the humans, and the dogs. The non-profit has even found the perfect match for children with autism and cerebral palsy allowing the children to forge powerful and life-changing bonds with rescued dogs!

FEDERAL | Mary Cast, US Geological Survey 

Over her 30-plus-year career at the USGS, in addition to working as a chemist at the National Water Quality Laboratory, Mary Cast worked for the Branch of Paleontology and Stratigraphy cataloging the Survey’s collection of trilobites, volunteered as a field assistant, and served as the Central Region’s Firearms Manager for several years. She also volunteered as a facilitator for the Colorado District (Water Resources Division) and took on the task of organizing several poster sessions at multiple Rocky Mountain Analytical Chemistry conferences.

Her volunteer career also has a varied scope. Mary volunteered at a local middle school for many years as the yearbook editor. She also created posters for the drama and music department productions. For the past several years, she has been on the Advisory Board at a local high school with a focus on science and math (STEM). She is one of the mock interviewers and a Capstone judge at the school. Through her son, she became active in the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), the official all-volunteer civilian auxiliary of the US Air Force. She commands a cadet squadron in the Colorado Wing (COWG) as well as serves as the Director of Aerospace Education for the Colorado Wing. Over the past seven years with CAP, she has worked several disaster relief efforts, provided assistance at various charity events, helped with CAP’s efforts at the Governor’s inauguration, organized and worked several COWG conferences and served as an instructor and escort at many cadet and senior member activities throughout Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region. Although she became involved because of her son, the leadership, science, and emergency services opportunities that CAP offers its members and the civic involvement that CAP has in the community at large has kept her a committed volunteer.


May 9, 2018

1:00 – 3:00 pm

Aurora Municipal Center
15151 E. Alameda Parkway | Aurora Co 80012

Online Registration Opens 4/9/18

2016 Awards Ceremony Program



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