Volunteer of the Year

This award is given annually to a PPW volunteer who contributes time and energy above and beyond the call of duty for Pikes Peak Writers as a whole.

Nominate someone for this award

Amy Armstrong
Amy Armstrong

2019 – Amy Armstrong
Amy Armstrong stepped up and made our social media into something dynamic, rather than static. Through her time with Pikes Peak Writers, she has made an effort to give attention to all facets of Pikes Peak Writers evenly. She has strived to reach out to other groups and Facebook pages to advertise our events. Despite living in Denver, she actively participates in non-conference events, driving down to attend and support the events. She’s shown that she truly wants to support the organization and take an active role in maintaining it.

2018 – Linda Tschappet

In addition to being our Non-Conference Events Director, a relatively thankless job involving lots of time and attention overseeing four monthly educational outreach programs in addition to special events scattered across the calendar, Linda has served on the Pikes Peak Writers Board of Directors, hosted our Write Brain events, volunteered at Conference multiple times, and never shows up anywhere without a plate of the world’s best cookies to share with the group.

She genuinely wants to help writers and embodies the spirit of volunteerism. In fact she helps SOOOO much that we have to tell her “NO” from time to time for fear of overworking this wonderful woman. We don’t want our brightest candles burning out too quickly.

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She is cheerful, funny, and a pleasure to work with. And she deserves this recognition.


2016 – Donnell Bell

Donnell Bell is the 2016 recipient the Pikes Peak Writers Volunteer of the Year Award. She attends just about every PPW-related event you can think of and has tirelessly served PPW for several years. Donnell runs the open critique with enthusiasm, a great smile, and does an excellent job at lining up guest critiquers. During the meetings, she is encouraging and helps keep everyone on track to finish on time, which is always a challenge in a critique group meeting. In addition, she runs our wonderful blog and guides the contributors with insightful ideas, excellent editing, and amazing praise for the words they produce. Lastly, she also serves on the board of directors and always has insightful questions, amazing ideas, and is a bright spot in a sometimes serious meeting.

Shannon Lawrence

2015 – Shannon Lawrence

Shannon has courageously led our NCE efforts for almost two years. She brought back our Write Brains from the brink of extinction to a thriving model of how workshops should be organized and run. She also recently took over the treasurer position for PPW when the former treasurer was unable to continue working the books.

Shannon is a top-notch team player and dedicates a vast amount of her spare time to Pikes Peak Writers. Despite her own busy personal life, she focuses on making PPW a better, stronger organization week after week.


2014 – J.T. Evans

J.T. Evans is our PPW volunteer of the year for many reasons. He is a tireless worker for the organization. J.T. wears multiple hats as web guru and president and always gets the job done.

As president, he’s very supportive of everyone without micromanaging or trying to put his personal stamp on everything. Excellent management skills are hard enough to find in the professional world but finding them in a volunteer is like finding one of Willy Wonka’s golden tickets.

J.T. came to meetings and helped out everywhere he could before he became president, so all of his hard work isn’t about feeling like he should because he’s president but because that is just how he is. He makes everyone feel welcome in PPW and at PPWC… he works and plays well with others.

J.T. deserves this award for his boundless energy and great leadership skills… and besides, he’s just an all-around nice guy who can write a new piece of software to meet the needs of PPW whenever necessary!


2013 – Shannon Lawrence

When PPW needed a new Non-Conference Events Director, Shannon Lawrence volunteered.   She’s not a person who makes big decisions lightly, so in advance of accepting the job she asked a lot of questions and really evaluated if she could provide the support, leadership and time commitment the job required.  Then, she not only accepted the role of NCE Director, she owned it.  In addition, Shannon manages the blog – a job she has executed flawlessly, with great creativity and aplomb.  She has also volunteered for two jobs at PPWC – Signs Coordinator and Pitch Desk Worker.

She’s a hard worker, punctual, always delivers on promises, never complains, asks smart questions, contributes great ideas and suggestions, pitches in wherever PPW has a need, and has a warm, easy-going leadership style that makes people want to follow her.  She’s volunteered for PPW at Write Brains, Authorfest, PPLD events, Imagination Celebration events, PPWC, and even our short-lived improv writing session at Sunflower Market.  She’s also served as a bridge between PPW and the National League of American Pen Women.  Shannon is an inspiration, and she most certainly deserves recognition for her spirit and tenacity.  She’s the example of what a volunteer should be.

Deb Courtney

2012 – Deb Courtney

Deb holds a degree in Fiction from the University of South Florida where she was a Saunders Scholar in Fiction. She has had numerous short stories published and has worked as a freelance journalist. Her background includes marketing and public relations in several business sectors. She’s been a long-time volunteer for Pikes Peak Writers, and is well-known as the host of PPW’s popular “Members’ Night” events. She is also the founder of Courtney Literary, which can be found on the Web at http://courtneyliterary.com/

Ronald Cree

2011 – Ronald Cree

Ron Cree has been a PPW member and friend to the organization for many years.  Like many members, he values PPW and wants it to thrive.  What makes Ron extraordinary is that he saw a need in the organization and asked himself what he could do personally to help PPW meet this need and better serve our members.  And he offered to volunteer.  Over the past year, Ron has dedicated countless hours, his own resources, and tremendous skill and expertise to revamping PPW’s Website.  The result is a brand new public face of PPW that is visually stunning, user-friendly, and content rich.  Ron’s insight, knowledge, creativity, and hard work has improved and enhanced the experience of every person who visits Pikes Peak Writers on the Web.  And he continues to build, maintain, supplement and revise the site on a daily basis so PPW can provide accurate, up-to-date, useful information and resources to the writing community in a fun, friendly and attractive way.  There is no doubt that Ron Cree is the PPW Volunteer of the Year for 2011.

Bonnie Hagan

2010 – Bonnie Hagan

With her positivity, logic, dependability, and down-to-earth realism, Bonnie Hagan is exactly the kind of person PPW has needed to help steer the organization over the past year. Bonnie has been a dedicated volunteer in many capacities, most recently serving as Secretary and Pitch Coordinator. In these roles, Bonnie’s focus, perceptiveness and attention to detail have been instrumental in keeping PPW and PPWC on track. Bonnie is unfailingly calm and rational, and has a steadying effect on all those she works with. In addition, with her positive attitude, welcoming spirit, and enthusiasm for PPW, she is a beacon for others to join the group. This award recognizes Bonnie for her contributions to PPW, and showcases her as an example of the ultimate volunteer.

Chris Mandeville

2009 – Chris Mandeville

Chris Mandeville’s absolute devotion to Pikes Peak Writers is amazing. Over the past year she has worked ardently, not only as Community Liaison, Treasurer, and Immediate Past President, but also on a dizzying variety of behind-the-scenes tasks such as maintaining our bookstore, organizing holiday booksales, and pursuing a number of fundraising endeavors.  She is always looking for ways to grow our group by helping and reaching out to as many writers as possible. It’s obvious that Chris cares deeply about Pikes Peak Writers, and she deserves our utmost gratitude.

Barb and Beth

2008 – Beth Groundwater & Barb Nickless

Nothing can stand in the way of PPW’s dynamic duo, Beth Groundwater and Barb Nickless. Officially Beth is PPW’s Vice President of Programming, and Barb is Workshops Director for Non-Conference Events, but they’re better known as the unstoppable “B-n-B.” Together Beth and Barb have successfully produced more than thirty writing-related events over the course of the past two years. PPW’s recent award from the Pikes Peak Arts Council for “Outstanding Programming for 2008” is a direct result of their dedication, hard work, and unflagging commitment to writers in the Pikes Peak Region.

Dawn Smit Miller

2007 – Dawn Smit Miller

Dawn Smit Miller has put a great deal of time and energy in to the Pikes Peak Writers Fiction Contest (formerly the Paul Gillette Writing Contest) to raise it to the level of excellence it is today. She automated existing procedures, and greatly improved the contest by adding VIP judges, developing judges’ training, providing informational documents to judges and entrants, and establishing and documenting a detailed procedural process.  PPW is extremely grateful for Dawn’s dedication and perseverance, and is proud to recognize her as Volunteer of the Year.

Jennifer Webster-Valant

2006 – Jennifer Webster-Valant

Jennifer Webster-Valant started volunteering for PPW as the Transportation Coordinator and did such a fabulous job that she was elected to the Board of Directors as Treasurer. In this role she successfully steered PPW through a potential budget crisis, and took on additional responsibilities when she saw a need within the organization. She is reliable, responsive, open-minded, practical and visionary, and no matter how daunting the task, she does it with a smile. Jen is the obvious choice for Pikes Peak Writers Volunteer of the Year.

Previous Recipients

  • 2005:  Paul Carhart, Secretary and Web Designer
  • 2004:  Chris Mandeville, Workshops Director
  • 2003:  Susan Rust, NewsMag Editor