Award Winners Announced!

Each year, the Grand County Rural Health Network honors modern-day healthcare pioneers who truly impact the health and lives of individuals and our community.  These are individuals in the healthcare field, professionally or as a volunteer, who have contributed significantly to our community.

In 2018, we received several excellent nominations, all of whom deserve an award for their contributions to our community. The Grand County Rural Health Network Board of Directors ultimately chose not one, but two award recipients this year. The Network is pleased to announce the 2018 recipients of the Award for Excellence in Healthcare Service:  Heather Bentler, RN and John Nichols, MD. 

Heather Bentler is a registered nurse who has worked for Middle Park Medical Center (MPMC) for the past 16 years, mostly in the Emergency Department as well as floor work at the hospital taking various shift work when needed. She also worked one day a week at 7 Mile Medical Clinic and Granby Medical Center for 5 years beginning in 2005. 

A Kremmling resident, Heather has always been active in the community. She worked with West Grand Schools’ Head Injury Prevention Program for athletes. She was the Trauma Coordinator for over 8 years for MPMC and met monthly with the Front Range Trauma Program committee. As a result of this program, she was able to bring a large balloon, which when blown up was educational material for students to walk inside and learn how the brain functions and the results of brain trauma. Heather also worked on the Bike Rodeos and school health fairs to make sure all students had access to and were fitted for safety bike helmets. 

Heather also implemented Teddy Bear Clinics where students are able to see X-Rays and CT scans and experience sewing up injuries on teddy bears. Heather also brought the simulated drivers golf cart to students and adult health fairs in both Kremmling and Walden. This allowed drivers to know what may occur while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol or texting while driving. Heather has also been a vital part of the After Prom Party in Kremmling for the past 3 years. 

Dr. John Nichols is the volunteer Medical Director for Grand County Search and Rescue (GCSAR), Winter Park Ski Patrol, and Grand County Emergency Medical Services (EMS). He also volunteers as a Rescue Member, the highest qualification available. Formerly on staff at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Denver as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Nichols now provides contract services as an Emergency Room neurosurgeon. Dr. Nichols has been a member of GCSAR since 1998.

As Medical Director, Dr. Nichols makes recommendations and provides training on medical equipment and procedures to ensure these agencies have appropriate resources, knowledge and skill in the field. GCSAR board of directors wrote, “His training sessions with GCSAR are perhaps the greatest contribution to our team effectiveness. His skill in outdoor emergency care is unparalleled in Grand County, particularly in the assessment of altitude illness, trauma injuries, and cold weather influences. His depth of understanding of wilderness and backcountry injuries and illnesses and his preparation of us as the First Responders is a distinguishing feature of GCSAR training.” Other search and rescue teams seek out Dr. Nichols’ expertise and training for medical response assessments.

Dr. Nichols frequently participates as a Rescue Member on emergency backcountry missions. This greatly enhances GCSAR’s field effectiveness. His training and teaching has saved countless lives through oversight for each medical mission, his ability to coordinate transitions to EMS or helicopter evacuation, and the depth of training he gives team members. All of this is done on a volunteer basis. Dr. Nichols’ active volunteer role benefits Grand County visitors and residents experiencing illness or injury in the backcountry, on the slopes, or at home. 

Congratulations, Heather and John!

They will be honored at our 6th annual Bulls, Boots, and BBQ fundraiser on August 23, 2018 

at B Lazy 2 Ranch in Fraser, Colorado.

Please join us to celebrate them! Individual tickets are $75 and available online here or at Winter Park Optical.

Past award recipients include: Wade Walker, RPh in 2017; Val Lind, RN in 2016; Hannah Foley, NP and Ray Jennings in 2015; Mary Jo Hargadine, RN in 2014; and Therese McElroy, RN in 2013. 
GCRHN in the News
Seeing the Big Picture in Grand County
By Kristin Jones

Jen Fanning is the Executive Director of the Grand County Rural Health Network.  The Network is part of a cohort of 18 health organizations across the state that are working together to advocate for health equity, with support from The Colorado Trust.  

Read more here to learn about Jen's work on health equity.

Navigator Program Highlighted Statewide:

Helping rural Coloradans move past health barriers

There is nowhere Mark Davis would rather live than the mountains of Colorado.

Now over 60 years old, Davis is a carpenter who specialized in remodeling houses in the Front Range and, later, in Grand County. For nearly 10 years, he lived near Grand Lake in an apartment with his dog, Patches.  But in his 50s, he began noticing that he had less control over his muscles and his speech. Davis was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the nervous system. “The tremors were getting worse,” he said. “Your whole body gets tired.”

Over time, his deteriorating muscle control made it nearly impossible to ride his bicycle or drive around, let alone do his work. “I can’t drive at all now,” he said.

Having lost his primary source of income, Davis didn’t have insurance to support his medical care, and without it, just one of the medications he needed to manage his Parkinson’s cost hundreds of dollars a month. For a person living alone and without insurance, the situation wasn’t easy.
For the full story, please click here.

At Grand County Rural Health Network, we believe everyone has the right to healthcare and to understand how to access that care. 

We have the resources and capabilities to help everyone living in our community access care.

Thank you for visiting our website and learning more about us.


Grand County's comprehensive health resource website!

Explore health resources in Grand County. Being healthy encompasses many things, and we hope we’ve covered it all.  Discover local resources and informative monthly blogs on this one-stop site.


Executive Offices
The Network is co-located with two other nonprofits / departments!

416 Byers Ave, P.O. Box 95, Hot Sulphur Springs, CO 80451
Office:  970-725-3477;  Fax:  970-725-3478