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Nancy Gripman wasn’t very tall, but she left a big mark on the town of Parker.
After moving to Parker in 1981, Gripman immersed herself in efforts to make the town a better place for families less fortunate than her own. After more than 30 years of charitable work through the Parker Task Force food bank and a community garden, Gripman died in December 2015 at age 86.
But on Nov. 12, family members, city officials and members of the Parker Task Force and the Rotary Club of Parker made sure her legacy will be apparent to future generations, just as her life’s work helped so many in years past.
Gripman was honored first at O’Brien Park, as nearly a hundred people attended the dedication of a statue in her likeness. Gripman developed her green thumb and learned about xeriscaping through the Douglas County master gardener program, and the bronze sculpture depicts Gripman looking up from her gardening work to say hello.
Titled “Nancy’s Garden,” the bronze piece was created by Parker sculptor Don Budy.
“Parker was Nancy’s garden. Colorado was Nancy’s garden,” Budy said. “My hope is that as you walk by the sculpture you’ll stop and say `Hi, Nancy.’ ”
Two hours later at the Parker Task Force building at 19105 Long’s Way, a sign was dedicated in the building’s free grocery store, known henceforth as Nancy’s Market. The more intimate ceremony celebrated the dedication and a $150,000 contribution to the food bank from Gripman’s family.
The task force, now in its 29th year, began in Gripman’s barn on Inspiration Drive. She had big hopes for a charitable, volunteer-run food bank that would provide assistance and resources for families in need. But she originally kept her goals and plans to herself.
“I woke up one morning and looked out the window and my barn was full of people,” said Bill Gripman, Nancy’s husband, describing how he first found out about the food bank.
Parker Task Force President Steve Budnack commented on Gripman’s dedication to service and the impact the group continues to have on more than 400 families in Parker as he and Bill dedicated the sign and a commemorative plaque.
“Here we are almost 30 years later,” Budnack said, “because some of the programs she put in place, they worked.”
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