VAIL, Colorado - One of the true Vail Valley champions of volunteerism on all levels was recognized for her numerous contributions to others Saturday, when Cookie Flaum was honored by the Vail Valley Foundation as the 2012 Ernie Bender Volunteer of the Year.
The award, named for the dedicated long-time race crew volunteer who passed away in the summer of 2000, was presented at Vail's Golden Peak during the annual Korbel American Ski Classic festivities.
"Volunteers are truly the backbone of this valley," said Vail Valley Foundation President Ceil Folz, "and we are incredibly fortunate to have such committed and selfless people like Cookie as an integral part of our community. In addition to the time and dedication that she brings to each and every organization and program she touches, Cookie is a true ambassador for the Vail Valley and is most deserving of this award."
A resident of the Vail Valley for over 30 years, Flaum has volunteered for numerous Vail Valley Foundation events dating back to 1995. She is also currently a member of the Volunteer Committee for the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Additional volunteer commitments include serving as a board member for the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, while also heading the Education Committee and offering her time to the festival's after school piano program for children.
Flaum is also active with the Literacy Project, serving as vice president and board member for 10 years, while currently tutoring middle and high school students. The Town of Vail's Art in Public Places board, the Barbara Treat Foundation, the Advisory Board of Colorado Mountain College and the Women's Foundation of Colorado also benefit from Flaum's generous donation of her time and talents.
Previous volunteer credits include the National Committee for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. from 2007-2009, the Shaw Outreach Team and the Community Cancer Coalition Board.
Flaum will join previous Ernie Bender Volunteer of the Year Award winners that include the Bender Family (2000), Dave Ozawa (2001), Barbara Treat (2002), Dick Pownall (2003), Bill Douglas (2004), Tenie Chicoine (2005), Fred Haslee and Jim Sanders (2006), Susan Frampton (2007), Kathryn Benysh (2008), Cheryl Jensen (2009) and Doris Dewton (2010). No award was presented in 2011.
The Ernie Bender Volunteer of the Year Award is a project of the Vail Valley Foundation. For additional information on the Foundation, call 970-949-1999 or visit www.vvf.org.