Thursday, May 28, 2020
Once COVID-19 was detected in Colorado, former Mayor Nancy McNally knew action was needed to help fight against the virus. McNally was contacted by Tri-City Food Bank to make 75 face mask coverings for people assisting at the local food banks. She reached out to her sewing friends all over and at Above and Beyond Sewing and Vacuum, to help fill the request so workers could utilize the masks as soon as possible.
McNally didn’t know, however, that the demand for face masks would grow well beyond 75 masks. After helping Tri-City Food Bank, she was asked to make masks for other local food banks, essential workers, immune-compromised individuals and anyone asking for her help to make a face masks.
The number of people helping increase to 13 with the group having created over 1,200 face masks as of mid-May with McNally doing about 800 herself. The city’s Police Department received over 300 of the face masks.
The group has donated masks to the Tri-City Food Bank, Have a Heart Project and Hope House of Colorado.
Any individual or group that has called her to inquire has received a face mask at no charge. The demand and production has been so high that McNally only has Halloween, Christmas and velvet material left to make the masks.
The overall reaction from organizations and individuals has been one of gratitude and thankfulness. McNally has received extra fabric, elastic and various materials to help her and the group keep sewing masks.
“This all has been a community coming together in an unselfish way doing what needs to be done so people can work and feel a little bit safer,” said McNally.
The STEW book
McNally is a community servant and past Mayor turned creative food and product entrepreneur and small business catalyst.
Her chapter of The STEW book is titled, 'A Journey Not Chosen But Given.'
Nancy McNally’s problems with the way Westminster is run start with water rates, but they don’t stop there.
“There are just so many issues right now, water rates are one of them,” McNally said. “Everybody needs water to survive, and right now the rates are not affordable. I don’t know if you’ve looked at prices people are paying now, but wow. As I talk to people and listen to the answers they’ve been given. We don’t need cookie-cutter answers now.”
McNally officially became the first hat in ring for Westminster’s 2021 mayoral race, seeking to replace the to-be termed-out Herb Atchison. She announced her candidacy via a Sept. 7 Facebook video, taken in front of Westminster City Hall.
McNally said the current controversy over the water rates is symptom of her problem with the city.
“My biggest concern is that we have had no way to truly bring people together to hear what’s happening, even before the pandemic started,” she said. “Not to be told by the city but to hear from the community what is happening.”
It’s not her first time seeking the mayor’s job. McNally served as a City Councilor beginning in 2001, seeking the mayor’s job in 2003 and losing to Edward Moss. Moss was appointed a judge before his term was finished, and she took over the seat, serving until she termed out in 2013.
McNally said Westminster’s water rates and the city’s method for calculating the bills convinced her to put her hat in the ring now, more than year before the campaign for Westminster Mayor gets started in earnest.
City officials have said the rate increases are necessary to pay for repair and improvements to the city’s water delivery system. She disagrees.
“They keep saying past council’s did not take care of the infrastructure and that’s just not true,” she said. “I’ve “We’ve had times like COVID before, and there have been times when we’ve had excess money. When that happens, you use that money to get ahead and take some big projects off of the books. That’s what we did when I was on council.”
She participated in the Aug. 17 water rate protest at City Hall — “My first protest ever,” she said — and said she knows people are having a difficulties making their monthly budgets.
“I’m hearing people say, it’s either medicine or water,” she said. “If the city really doesn’t want us to have lawns, they should just come out and tell us.”
But growth issues stemming from the water supply also worry her. She’s not convinced Westminster has a big enough water supply to meet the needs of new housing development approved and proposed in the city.
“One thing I do know is there has to be balance between single family dwelling and multi-family. Are we keeping that balance? I don’t know.”
She said she’s concerned about Westminster’s spending priorities, noting that the city has not furloughed any employees during COVID-19 pandemic and stay-at-home orders, despite facing a potential $32 million budget shortfall.
“There is a lot to look at,” she said. “There is a lot to decide what we need, and what we don’t need. There are three core things that we must have, and one is water, one is police and one is fire. Then, everything else needs to be on the table. You cannot have everything during difficult times.”
McNally said she also takes issue with how City staff relates to the council, saying City Manger Don Tripp meets regularly one-on-one with City Councilors.
“Are those horrible? Nope,” McNally said. “If it’s not about City business and things happening in the city, then what is that about? I know some councilors have said they’d like to know what’s said because it is not shared. But for me as a citizen, it means there are several hours of conversation going on that will never be brought to the community. Are things happening because of those conversations?”
She’d prefer having the Council and staff make all of their discussions public.
“You are supposed to have seven people making decisions and having conversations that the public can be part of,” she said. “If those discussions happened around a table, you wouldn’t need seven hours and everyone would know what the concerns are. So this is not how I think we should do business. It isn’t open.”
Nancy McNally, Commerce City Rotary Club honored
Nancy McNally garnered the 2018 Mary Ciancio Memorial Distinguished Service Award at the Community Reach Center service award dinner April 12 at the Stonebrook Manor in Thornton.
McNally’s name is well-known given the two terms she served as mayor of Westminster. Along with her work as a council member and then mayor, she has volunteered extensively in the community.
McNally has been a part of the Westminster Citizen Police Alumni since 2003 and volunteers for many activities at the police department, including safety fairs, shred-a-thons and the Westy Fest booth. She has been president of the alumni group since 2014. The group raises $3,000 each year for Santa Cops so low-income children in Westminster can have a nice Christmas. Last year there were 125 children served; the previous year, 165.
She is also a member of the CFIRE alumni for the citizen fire academy. Much like her work with the Citizen Police Alumni, McNally volunteers for fundraisers, fairs and events. She also is a trustee of the Westminster Historical Society and has been involved in the numerous events presented by the historical society including the annual vintage baseball game held each July.
The other nominees were thanked for their service:
Sharon E. Maybee for her recent work with the Commerce City Rotary Club Mental Health Awareness Initiative, increasing the size of the group and sessions of Mental Health First Aid classes provided in the community.
Beverly Benzel for volunteering at various organizations for more than 27 years, averaging about 15 hours per week, and currently dividing her time between Anythink Library and Kemp Elementary School.
Matthew Haviland for 27 years as a coach with the North Metro Eagles Special Olympics team, which is committed to the upward mobility and progress of youths by providing proper guidance and support.
Reba and Gary Drotar for 50 years of consistent volunteer work with a focus on helping the disadvantaged and inspiring others to volunteer through Crossroads Community Church and numerous other community activities.
Gloria Rudden for extensive volunteer work to enhance neighborhoods in southwest Adams County, which involves advocacy for open space and community improvements.
Patricia McGinnis for more than 19 years and 5,200 hours of volunteer work at North Suburban Medical Center, assisting with several departments including administration, the gift shop and Healthy Beginnings for nursing mothers.
Loretta Garcia for serving as a volunteer director of the FISH of Commerce City food bank for nearly 16 years, inspiring like-minded volunteers and providing for the needs of thousands of people.
Nicholas J. Stone for volunteering extensively, including initiating a toy drive for the past six years with the Denver Rescue Mission and Children’s Hospital, to name a few agencies, all while serving full time in the Navy.
Commerce City Rotary Club honored
The Commerce City Rotary Club garnered the 2018 Marjory Ball Mental Health Advocacy Award, which is given each year to a person or group in the community that has demonstrated extraordinary advocacy in mental health care. Club president Rhonda Hathaway accepted the award.
This was the first time this award was presented to a group rather than an individual. The scope of the sustained effort by the Commerce City Rotary Club in reducing stigma around mental illness warranted the exception in bestowing the award this year.
In January 2015, the Commerce City Rotary Club launched its mental health awareness initiative. The primary goal of the mental health awareness initiative is to develop a strong community awareness program about mental health. Commerce City Rotary partners with Community Reach Center to promote Mental Health First Aid courses in Adams County, recently sponsoring a Mental Health First Aid for Veterans course at Front Range Community College.
The mission of the Commerce City Rotary Club’s Mental Health Initiative is to provide healthier minds and communities through awareness, education and research. The initiative is focused on improving knowledge of mental health and mental illness, decreasing stigmatizing attitudes, increasing confidence of individuals to provide help to others, and increasing community knowledge of behavioral health resources for those in need.
The club secured a number of grants to fund development of a website and bilingual collateral to promote its mental health initiative throughout the community. The grants funded the production of 40,000 bilingual resource cards that provide contact information for a variety of mental health and suicide prevention resources.
Mary Ciancio Memorial Distinguished Award
Established in 1979, the Mary Ciancio Memorial Distinguished Award was named in honor of the late Mary Ciancio. Mary advocated and volunteered for nearly 70 years on behalf of people with disabilities and health challenges. She had a special place in her heart for people living with severe and persistent mental illness – so much so that she became known as the “Mother of Mental Health” in Adams County.
Past Award Recipients: Nancy Skeels, 2017; Evelyn Schroth, 2016; Sr. Molly Munoz, 2015; Veronica Cordova, 2014; Valerie Escatel, 2013; Kevin Hawkins, 2012; Steve Austin, 2011; Roger Gudenkauf, 2010; Guillermo Serna, 2009; Sharon Whitehair, 2008; Nella Crosswhite, 2007; Linda Cherrington, 2006; Jean Owens, 2005; Ed Hickel, 2004; June Ellis, 2003; Cathy O’Grady, 2002; Geraldine Good and Charles Good, 2001; Martha Bering, 2000; Gloria Rudden, 1999; Eleanor Getsch, 1998
Community Reach Center is a top-tier behavioral health and wellness provider serving people of all ages at seven outpatient offices and more than 100 community-based sites throughout Adams County. The center has worked diligently to preserve and promote a commitment to excellence, professionalism and integrity within our community health care system for 60 years and currently serves nearly 20,000 individuals annually. It employs about 600 highly trained professionals committed to health and wellness.
Community Reach Center is a leading integrated care partner in Colorado – meaning that mental health care, primary medical care and dental services are provided in one location at dozens of clinics throughout the north Denver metro area. It is the first mental health provider in Colorado to receive accreditation for several programs from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities – an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services.