Meet Your Neighbor: David Van der Vieren

Meet Your Neighbor: David Van der VierenSouthern Gables Neighborhood Association


Interviewed by Christy Cerrone

We like to feature interviews with our Southern Gables neighbors, to help us all get to know and appreciate each other. If you know a neighbor you’d like to have featured, contact Christy, information below.


Christy: How long have you lived in Southern Gables?  David: Going on 6 years.

C: What are a few things that you like the most about the Southern Gables community?
D: People – So many of our neighbors are welcoming, kind, and generous. We have loved getting to grow friendships and relationships within our community. Then there’s the location — it’s perfect for us. We love living near the mountains and the Bear Creek Trail, and still being close to locally-owned shops and restaurants. And the spirit of community — there is a culture in our neighborhood (among the businesses, shops, churches, and neighbors) to think about each other and how we can all work together. From the food bank at Westwoods Church to the community garden to the PTA at Green Gables Elementary school, so many people are working to make the neighborhood and world a better place.

Meet Your NeighborC: Do you have a favorite memory with your Southern Gables neighbors?
D: One of my favorite memories was during the Sustainable Southern Gables Christmas Tree Fundraiser in 2018. During this event, a group of neighbors got a permit to drive up to Forest Service property deep in the mountains to cut down Christmas trees to raise money for the Community Garden. It was such a memorable experience getting to know one another and work together to bring about a positive change.

C: What is the most neighborly experience you’ve had or seen in our neighborhood?
D:
The Community Garden — The amount of organization and volunteer effort needed to get the community garden put in was tremendous. The Community Garden has continued to bring our community together year over year.

C: What are your hobbies?
D: Hiking with the family, swimming, and traveling to western Colorado.

C: What is your favorite quote or saying?
D: I still need to find one.

C: Is there anything else you want us to know about you?
D: I am passionate about Sustainability and how to lower our impacts on our environment while growing community.

C: And finally, who would you nominate to be featured in a future neighbor profile on the SGNA website? In response to this question, David made a really fine recommendation. You might see it in a future article, and you’ll really appreciate what thoughtful and generous neighbors we have!


Contact christycerrone@hotmail.com to nominate a candidate for the “Meet Your Neighbor” series. 

Meet Your Neighbor: Carol Lally

Meet Your Neighbor: Carol LallySouthern Gables Neighborhood Association


By Christy Cerrone

From time to time we feature interviews with our Southern Gables neighbors, to help us all get to know and appreciate each other. If you know a neighbor you’d like to have featured, contact the author, information below.


Carol has lived in Southern Gables for 32 years. The part of the neighborhood where she lives was fairly new when she and her family moved here, but was already complete and established. Everything looked fresh and new, with landscaping still getting its start, and she was impressed immediately with the friendliness and acceptance of all the neighbors.

When we asked Carol what a few things are that she likes most about the Southern Gables community, she answered right away, “This is a great and unique neighborhood! Before Covid-19 we had neighborhood luncheons every month, Southern Gables Neighborhood Night Out, the Sustainable Southern Gables gatherings, etc. I look forward to when we can return to these get-togethers.” For the last six years, Carol has been the organizer of the monthly Neighborhood luncheons. She started the activity, back then, at the suggestion of our neighbor and City Councilmember Dana Gutwein. Each month she arranged for nearby restaurants to host our group of 12 to 20 people, and until we had to call a break due to you-know-what, she pulled every one off flawlessly.

Carol graduated with a Master’s degree in social work (MSW) from Tulane University. Always an active athlete, Carol frequently participated in running races for all kinds of causes. She was working for the Gordon Park Hospital, near New Orleans, as a social worker when she was participating in a 10K race. She suffered a stroke during that race, and it’s fair to say it gave her quite a challenge to overcome. “The rest of the story,” as they say, is the wonderful part that brought her into our lives here in Southern Gables.

After 17 years as a social worker, and then the stroke and ensuing physical therapy to maximize her mobility, Carol and her family came to Colorado. They initially came  to be near her sister who lived here, and for her husband’s work. Her sister and brother-in-law Gail and Jack Smith were Realtors, and played a big part in helping her decide on this neighborhood. They lived nearby and had an inside track on choosing the best place to live. Carol’s children got established in Green Gables Elementary and Bear Creek High School, and Southern Gables has been home for Carol ever since.

Neighbors getting to know one another, Carol reminds us, is a wonderful thing. When we asked her if she had a favorite memory with her Southern Gables neighbors, it seemed like it was too hard a question, with too many answers to  choose. “I remember with fondness all of the overall memories I have from living here.”

We asked Carol, “What is the most neighborly experience you’ve had or seen in our neighborhood?” Her reply was immediate. “Doug & Judy Whitten are some of the most neighborly people I know. Doug has been the president of the Neighborhood Association for six years. He is the most caring, helpful, supportive, and kind person. I see Doug outside and he is spraying my weeds. Thank you, Doug!”

For twelve years Carol volunteered as an usher at the Lakewood Cultural Center, and recommends that as a terrific way of supporting the community. Now, having retired from that, her hobbies are staying in touch with her grandchildren, her Precept Bible Study, study on her computer. reading, and watching some TV.

Is there anything else you want us to know about you?  “I have one daughter, Melissa and she has two daughters, Amber and Jaden. Then, I have one son, Brian and he has Siobhan, Seamus, Meave and Tiarnan.”

There’s one more thing to note in closing: Carol says she won’t move any more. This is her forever home. With her wide range of faithful friends and all she has done for the community, it’s easy to see why.


Contact christycerrone@hotmail.com to nominate a candidate for the “Meet Your Neighbor” series. 

Meet Your Neighbor: Doug Whitten

Meet Your Neighbor: Doug WhittenSouthern Gables Neighborhood Association


By Christy Cerrone

From time to time we will feature interviews with our Southern Gables neighbors, to help us all get to know and appreciate each other. This is the first in that series. If you know a neighbor you’d like to have featured, contact the author, information below. 


Doug, how long have you lived in Southern Gables?

Judy and I have lived in Southern Gables 43 years. Our only child, Heather, attended Green Gables Elementary School, Carmody Middle School and Bear Creek High School.

What are a few things that you like most about the Southern Gables community?

The neighbors, for the most part, are friendly and accommodating to change and involvement. The neighbors are always available to help. I have tried to follow “How to Build Community” as the guidelines I hope to follow. Our neighborhood has a tremendous website at www.southerngablesneighborhoodassociation.com that all neighbors should visit. Everyone will learn more about our great Southern Gables neighborhood.

Do you have a favorite memory with your Southern Gables neighbors?

The most favorite memory that I had was when a 90 year-old neighbor called and said he, age 90, and his wife decided he was getting too old to shovel the driveway and did I know of someone he could call. Of course three different neighbors volunteered to shovel snow from the driveway.

What is the most neighborly experience you’ve had or seen in our neighborhood?

One tremendous experience is our neighborhood leaf drop and leaf raking for senior citizens of Southern Gables. Another is the ever popular and successful Neighborhood Night Out where we had approximately 700 participants last year. In addition, we were able to donate money to the Action Center, CASA, Lakewood Toy Fund, Green Gables Needy Family Fund, Carmody Chili Cook Off Fundraiser, Joy’s Kitchen and the Senior Resource Center. Of course, the Community Garden is such a success story beginning with its inception to today where Southern Gables neighbors, Green Gables Elementary School staff and students all have been able to experience an extremely valuable learning experience. Our school (Green Gables Elementary School) is now recognized by Jeffco Schools as providing tremendous student achievement. What a tribute to the staff and faculty.

As the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association President, what is your vision or hopes for Southern Gables?

I would hope we could more than double the neighbor involvement in our activities/experience but not only building on our successful experiences, but be continually exploring for additional experiences to provide a broad, diverse neighborhood. In addition, I would hope every neighbor could reach out to their neighbors to provide any assistance which may be needed. We need to treat every neighbor with dignity and respect. I would also hope every neighbor will be concerned about the physical appearance of their home and continually strive to maintain and upgrade their home.

Doug and Judy Whitten With Southern Gables Sign

Doug and Judy Whitten

What are your hobbies?

As one becomes older, his/her interests obviously change. I believe my main hobby is giving back to the neighborhood/community. I am currently serving on the Lakewood Economic Recovery Taskforce, as well as being a Board Member for the South Lakewood Business Association in addition to President of the Southern Gables Neighborhood Association. I am also a dues-paying member of the Green Gables Elementary School PTA as well as a member of the Green Gables Elementary School Accountability Committee.

Is there anything else you want us to know about you?

Judy and I celebrated our 54th wedding anniversary on August 12, 2020. In addition, so much of the work I have been able to accomplish has been due to the cooperative effort between Judy and myself.

Thank you, Doug, for letting us get to know you better. You are an important contributor to the neighborhood and we are glad to know you. 


Contact christycerrone@hotmail.com to nominate a candidate for the “Meet Your Neighbor” series.