Voices of Western Colorado

  Steve Steese is co-founder, farmer, and vinter of The Storm Cellar, Vineyard + Winery, West Elks AVA, Colorado.

Steve Steese is co-founder, farmer, and vinter of The Storm Cellar, Vineyard + Winery, West Elks AVA, Colorado.

Steve Steese

For me, having moved to the North Fork Valley a few years ago, community is a sense of pride of place. Locals live in awe of this breathtaking location, and that beauty inspires us to collectively live cleaner and more responsibly. The viticultural community here has given new meaning to the word community. Since there is so little research available for growing grapes for wine at nearly 6,000 feet, our neighbors are our guides. The uniqueness of this micro-climate brings the agricultural community together to share knowledge. Also, community has manifested over these past two harvest seasons. So many people have volunteered to help with the initial stages of our winemaking project. Standing around at the end of a long harvest day, surrounded by people, toasting to the literal fruit of the day’s hard labor truly embodies community.



  Kelly Flenniken is area manager for community and local government affairs at Xcel Energy, Grand Junction.

Kelly Flenniken is area manager for community and local government affairs at Xcel Energy, Grand Junction.

Kelly Flenniken

Community is so much more than a place. It is a feeling; a bond between people — some who you know personally, and some who you may only know of. Community is the happy face offering a high-five after a job well done. It is shoveling the sidewalk of the whole block rather than just in front of your home. It’s a group of people that comes together when it really matters — working together to find innovative solutions to the problems we collectively face. For me, community is the acknowledgment that, at the end of the day, we are all in this together. The icing on the top is when the backdrop to your community is as beautiful as ours.

  Devin Pinkston is founder of Identity Insights, a clinical mental health center specializing in transitional and mental health needs of the Western Slope LGBTQ community.

Devin Pinkston is founder of Identity Insights, a clinical mental health center specializing in transitional and mental health needs of the Western Slope LGBTQ community.

Devin Pinkston 

When I feel so comfortable, both that I don’t need to have a guard up, or feel that I need to impress, I know I’m in a community and family of my own. My community allows me to express myself in whatever I choose to wear, how I talk, and what I think. I am not judged by the color of my skin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. I can be respected for what I believe, my ideas, and the people I choose to love. When I think of the term community as a leader and member of the LGBTQ community, I think of the family I’ve chosen to surround myself with who love me for me, no matter where I am or where they are in this world.