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Glenwood Planned Parenthood director receives leadership award

Mitzi Ledingham

A group of health and human service organizations is recognizing the director of the Planned Parenthood office in Glenwood Springs. Rebecca Murray was awarded the Helen Klanderud Leadership award earlier this month. As Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports, Murray says the award is a needed boost during challenging times.

The Glenwood Planned Parenthood office made headlines in November when the Garfield County commissioners pulled an annual grant. A community fundraising effort sprung up in response and raised $25,000. That's nearly 20 times the amount of the grant. Rebecca Murray of Planned Parenthood explains what the money will go toward.

"Life saving cancer screenings, HIV/STD testing and treatment, contraception."

Planned Parenthood made news again when a shooter in Colorado Springs killed three people last month at a clinic.

"My thoughts are with all of my Planned Parenthood colleagues. But, there is no doubt that the recognition of this award has come at a challenging time. I feel so honored and I feel the love.”

Murray is the third recipient of the Helen Klanderud Leadership Award. It’s in remembrance of Klanderud, a former Aspen mayor and health and human services supporter who died in 2013.

"This year we had more nominations than usual," says Mitzi Ledingham.

She's the Deputy Director of Pitkin County Health and Human Services. She, along with officials from three dozen local nonprofits, chose Murray for the award. Ledingham says it recognizes her leadership and creativity in running the organization.

"Working in a safety net clinic, Rebecca understands that not everyone who needs Planned Parenthood’s services can afford them. She’s very creative in finding resources to assist to all customers to be able to get the services they need."

The Planned Parenthood office takes Medicaid patients and those without insurance. It sees 2500 patients annually from as far away as Crested Butte and Paonia.

Murray says women’s health is a passion, adding that receiving the award is overwhelming given the list of other professionals who were nominated.

"It’s quite humbling to be recognized for this award and to feel the support and the love in the Roaring Fork Community."

Murray’s organization does receive an annual grant from Pitkin County’s Healthy Community Fund. It’s made up of dollars collected in property taxes. The 2016 allocation is $7500.