December 31, 2013 Updated: December 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm
In the early 1990s, Dave Lord was working as business manager at Colorado College when the National Multiple Sclerosis Society's Colorado-Wyoming Chapter approached him with a request:
Would the college host an overnight stay by the thousands of participants in its two-day fundraising bicycle ride between Denver and the Royal Gorge bridge?
Lord turned down them down, concerned that the college couldn't handle the volume.
Yet here he is, two decades later, heading the steering committee for the event, which this year attracted more than 3,000 participants and raised $3.8 million for the group.
In fact, the Colorado-Wyoming chapter honored him in October as its Volunteer of the Year for his longtime work with the Bike MS ride. He was chosen from among 2,000 volunteers who donated more than 29,000 hours of service to the Denver-based chapter, which operates an office in the Springs.
"I was business manager for the college when they asked us to camp on campus and I said no, but was overruled by Gresham Riley, who was president at time. Once I got to know more about the disease and understood more about the event, I got involved," Lord said.
Lord, who retired from the college in 2006 and retired a second time from a position he later took with a Denver apartment investment and management firm, continues to head the Bike MS steering committee and manage the 500 to 600 volunteers who put on the annual event. Their duties include planning and organizing the event, handling the logistics of transporting participants' baggage, taking care of overnight bicycle storage and arranging for food, medical and equipment-repair services.
"I keep saying I'm not going to do it any more, but it feels so good to do it, especially when you see what someone with MS goes through," Lord said. "I certainly can take a weekend to raise money to help develop the medications that are now making a difference."
The ride no longer stops in the Springs; it was rerouted and restructured a few years ago from a one-way trip to Royal Gorge to a round-trip from the Denver area to Fort Collins to eliminate the expense of transporting riders and their bikes back to Denver, Lord said. He works on the event year-round, though the committee starts meeting in January for the 150-mile ride, scheduled for June 28-29 from the Front Range Community College campus in Westminster to the Colorado State University campus in Fort Collins.
Carrie Nolan, president of the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter, called Lord "a key contributor to the success of Colorado's Bike MS ride through the years."
"His management skills, attention to detail and ongoing service are outstanding and we look forward to his continuing service," Nolan said.
After leaving CC, Lord helped Ian Griffis set up Griffis Residential, which owns the Grand River Canyon, Oasis and Sagebrook apartment complexes in Colorado Springs and 10 others in the Denver area. He retired from that company in 2008, but remains an investor in its projects and now spends most of his time in what he calls his "encore career," being a volunteer. He is chair of the Downtown Development Authority, the Cottonwood Center for Arts board of directors and the board of Rollins College, his alma mater in Florida.
Lord also serves as a board member of the Colorado Springs Health Foundation, created from the proceeds of the city's lease of the Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health and will complete his term this month as a member of the Peak Vista Foundation board.
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