Our Week 3 Community Team of the Week is made up of four local superstars impacting their community in unique ways.
This week, we're honoring Austin Zucchini-Fowler, Max Fowler, Bill Hanzlik and Kelly Koeun.
Read the incredible stories from the Community Team of the Week below & send us your nominees here!
Austin Zucchini-Fowler was nominated for his recent mural “Healthcare Hero” that honors the healthcare workers fighting on the frontlines. Over the last few weeks, Zucchini-Fowler has painted two Healthcare Heroes murals, including the "Hospitality Hero" that he finished over the weekend.
"I wanted to show gratitude toward the healthcare professionals. My two brothers and their wives all work in the healthcare profession. I wanted to recognize the challenges that they are facing right now," Zucchini-Fowler said. "They are working harder than they ever have been, especially the ones in the COVID units. In some ways, they're putting on their medical gloves and battling this virus so I wanted to display the fight of what they are doing, but I also wanted to paint them in a way that would show the beauty of their intentions and the positivity of what they are accomplishing right now."
The murals are located at the EXDO Event Center, the edge of Cheesman Park and City Park West and in the alley next to Denver Central Market. Fans can also see Zucchini-Fowler's work HERE.
Max Fowler, Sporting Director at the Athletic Club of Sloan’s Lake, has set up a fundraiser that's helping to feed families in Edgewater. For his part, Fowler is selling old Athletic Club of Sloan's Lake jerseys and donating all the proceeds back to the local community.
"You have people who are struggling right now through no fault of their own," Fowler said. "Edgewater Collective has a brilliant initiative where you donate money to them, and they use that money to buy meals for local families from local businesses. We were in a position to sell our ACSL jerseys and donate on the back of that initiative. So far, we have hit $350, which ends up being eight to ten meals, but that was eight to ten meals more than before."
Gold Crown Foundation normally serves 18,000 youth through sports and enrichment programming. With restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the Foundation is not able to operate their normal programs, but that hasn't stopped the founder of Gold Crown and former NBA player, coach and current Altitude commentator Bill Hanzlik from making an impact in the community.
Enter Jeffco Eats, a company that normally feeds students of Jefferson County School District when schools are closed in the summer. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, they lost some of their storage and distribution facilities and needed space to pack bags of food. Hanzlik immediately opened the doors and helped organize several volunteers to help Jeffco Eats so they can still feed children and families during these tough times. Jeffco Eats is now distributing meals to students in need three days a week at several locations. Hanzlik is at the facility every Friday with the other volunteers packing bags and organizing delivery schedules for the food. So far, they've distributed almost 30,000 meals to Jeffco schools and will continue to assist Jeffco Eats through at least May. Hanzlik is the leading force behind this partnership and has been on the front lines every week helping make sure kids and families can get healthy meals.
"What we try to do is ask the question, what more can we do, and find a way," Hanzlik said. "All our programs were shut down [due to COVID-19] just like everyone else, but we found a way in helping the community by being a food distribution spot for Jeffco Eats."
Kelly Koeun, an interior decorator and master seamstress, has made over 400 quality filtered masks for individuals with disabilities, their caregivers and their family members, as part of the Chanda Plan Foundation. Koeun was nominated by her son, Tyler Wesley, who was involved in a car accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. The doctors said he would never walk or talk again, but he's defied the odds and has made remarkable progress.
"It's been four years since the accident and I've been working hard every single day to become stronger mentally and physically," Tyler said. "Now I'm able to walk with a walker and I'm working on strengthening my arms. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and I have to keep pushing because I know I'll be someone one day as I grow up."
When Koeun was asked why she has been making masks, she said, "well with Tyler having a disability, my first thought was the disability community. I wanted to protect him. Chanda Plan Foundation reached out because I have worked with them in the past and word got out through the non-profit, so I continued to make [masks] because I have a passion to help people who need it the most."