Unsung Heroes
Holly Dinsmore
by Laura Haley
contributing writer
Jul 19, 2012 | 2095 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It was a twist of fate that brought Holly Dinsmore and her family to Moab in 1991. With friends in the area, the Dinsmores had visited the valley several times over the course of 20 years. On their last trip through they ended up deciding to stay.

“My kids didn’t want to go any further,” Dinsmore said. “So we stayed.”

It was another twist of fate that brought Dinsmore to her job as the warehouse manager for WabiSabi. After working as a waitress for 25 years, Dinsmore said she needed a change of pace. She called Sarah Bauman, who had just started the WabiSabi nonprofit thrift store.

“I told her, ‘I can’t wait tables anymore,’” Dinsmore said.

Luckily, Bauman was looking for a retail sales person. Dinsmore jumped on the job. Now, eight years later, Dinsmore is a manager and very active in WabiSabi’s various volunteer efforts throughout the community.

“Holly is just awesome,” Bauman said. “Every opportunity that she has to help people, she just jumps right in.”

Bauman said that she originally got to know Dinsmore as a customer of the thrift store. During WabiSabi’s first fashion show, Dinsmore showed up with a bunch of materials, and eager to help even though she wasn’t an employee at the time.

“I can’t say enough good things about her,” Bauman said. “I feel like one of the reasons that WabiSabi is so successful is because of Holly.”

Bauman said that one of Dinsmore’s best traits is her resourcefulness. Jeff Cohen, WabiSabi’s executive director, echoed that sentiment.

“As the manager of the warehouse, Holly is constantly on the lookout for items that other nonprofits, community organizations, and/or fundraisers could use,” Cohen said. “For instance if an organization is putting on a fundraiser where the theme is ‘jungle,’ Holly will collect jungle-themed items for the fundraiser.”

Cohen said that Dinsmore also spends a lot of time helping with the community dinners that WabiSabi sponsors. She does a variety of jobs, including recruiting and training volunteers, logistics, and helping out in the dining area.

It was Dinsmore’s idea for WabiSabi to take on the community Thanksgiving dinner, which the organization has now been hosting for seven years. Prior to 2005, another small group had always hosted the dinner, but the group reached a point where they could no longer continue the annual tradition, Dinsmore said.

“There was no one to take it over,” she said. “I felt that there was still a need for it.“

Dinsmore pitched her idea to the WabiSabi board of directors, and they took over the feast. Since then, WabiSabi has expanded to offering a Christmas dinner, as well as six weeks of Sunday brunches.

“She just took ownership of the brunches, and then the Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners as well,” Bauman said. “I couldn’t imagine what a lot of these events would be like without her help.”

“It was outside the box,” Dinsmore said, explaining that WabiSabi’s first year hosting the dinner was a major learning experience. “Luckily we’ve always been blessed with knowledgeable volunteers.”

Though the meals are one way to help struggling families during the holidays, they have become a social affair as well, Dinsmore said.

“It’s not like we’re a soup kitchen... There’s a real sense of community. It’s more than just trying to feed people in need,” she said. “It puts a smile on everyone’s face, and the biggest smiles are on ours.”

WabiSabi might keep Dinsmore pretty busy, but that hasn’t stopped her from trying to give back to the community in other areas of her life, as well. She’s a board member for the Free Health Clinic, once again at the behest of Bauman.

“There’s a tremendous need for health care in our community,” Dinsmore said. “I’ve been involved since the beginning.”

Dinsmore said she does whatever needs to be done around the clinic, including putting up flyers, signing in patients or doing filing.

Dinsmore also volunteers time as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, and she regularly picks up trash at the power dam.

“I’ve pretty much always done it,” she said, but when Sara Melnicoff and Moab Solutions put out a call for more volunteers to clean up the heavily trafficked area, especially around Easter Jeep Safari, Dinsmore increased her efforts. “I take my dogs and go pick up trash.”

Dinsmore said she initially shied away from the idea of being profiled as an Unsung Hero because there are so many other worthy volunteers in the community. “I feel like so much of what I do is for my job,” she said.

But she changed her mind, and one big factor helped her decide to be profiled.

“I figured I could shamelessly promote my favorite nonprofits that I’m involved with,” she said. “It never hurts.”

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