“I’m going to have to multitask,” Alan Dennis said when the Moab Sun News reached him by phone for this interview. “I’m buying ice cream from my friend’s daughter.”
The fifth graders at HMK Elementary are fundraising for their class’ annual trip to Boston for American History, and Dennis was doing his part to support them.
Supporting people is what Dennis does, WabiSabi Moab board member Danielle Hansen said. She met him at the Moab University of Utah extension class, where he was a facilitator. Although it was outside his job description, when he learned Hansen was struggling to work out the requirements for graduation, he used her transcripts to map out her course requirements for the remainder of her program.
“It made a huge difference,” she said. “He organized my college education for me, I don’t know how else to put it.” The two graduated together and have remained friends.
His service is so important for so many that most people who work with him don’t realize he is as dedicated to other causes as he is to theirs. “He gives up a lot of holidays. He gives more to the community than he gives himself,” Hansen said.
Dennis’ leadership has been instrumental in the success of WabiSabi’s community Thanksgiving dinner, for which he often volunteers his entire holiday and days on either side of it, said WabiSabi Program Director Mandy Turner.
“He gives 110 percent in everything he does, he’s amazing,” Hansen said. “He supports every cause; he gives everything he has to this community. He just really, genuinely cares.”
Dennis moved to Moab in May 2005 from Grand Junction, Colorado. Raised in a military family, he became accustomed at a young age to moving every few years without sinking in roots. Since coming to Moab, he said he’s found himself becoming involved in everything and spending more time volunteering than ever before.
He first volunteered at the Moab Folk Festival. Soon, he became involved in setting up races and other events. Now he’s the Moab Folk Festival volunteer coordinator, has served on the boards for KZMU Community Radio and WabiSabi, and is currently on the board for Moab Charter School. In his spare time, he’s also a site coordinator for Bountiful Baskets and still volunteers for many of the races and other events that fill the weekends.
Living near his family in a community he loves, Dennis said he has found a place to sink in roots. “This is the longest I’ve lived anywhere, and I don’t think I’ll ever leave,” he said. Recently retired from Utah Workforce Services, Dennis is now working at Moab Chevrolet and has no plans to slow down, he said.
“I believe in giving back. A lot of people tell me I should learn to say no, but I don’t want to. It can be exhausting, but I like it. It’s a good thing.”
This Week: Alan Dennis