Special Recognition Given to Founder of HDSA
Neighbors helping neighbors is what makes Teller County a prime place to live. Moreover, this is an attribute that helps promote volunteerism and giving a hand to local organizations, law enforcement agencies and citizens in need.
As a result, the area often sports many unsung heroes.
In early October, the Teller County Sheriff’s Office took the time to recognize long-time community volunteer Mick Bates for his service to the county. Bates also serves as a member of RE-2 School Board of Education.
Bates is a long-time member of the local Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association (HDSA) that supports the sheriff’s office in many ways. Bates also was an active member and leader for the Teller County Republicans.
According to Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell, the sheriff’s office recognizes people from the community that have gone “above and beyond” to help others. The sheriff pointed out that Bates has been a member of the HDSA since it first started, and has donated money and time to help out the sheriff’s office.
Bates used to own the Black Mountain Pump Company in Divide, and according to the sheriff, he was always ready to help out however he could. “If someone was down and out and needed a hand Mick (Bates) was always there to do that,” Mikesell said. “When I had deputies that couldn’t afford to have their pumps fixed, Mick stepped in and helped them with that. When there is someone in the community that needs just a good talking to or help, Mick is always there for that.”
According to Mikesell, Bates has played an active role in putting on the annual “Shop with a Hero” event that gives local children a chance to shop with police officers and other first responders for gifts during the holiday season. The event has taken place every year for the last 15 years and Bates and the HDSA have given gifts to over 200 local children per year.
The sheriff held a short ceremony to honor Bates with several members of the sheriff’s office and Teller County Board of Commission Chairman Erik Stone. The sheriff’s office also awarded Bates with a plaque as a token of appreciation.
Stone said that after knowing Bates for more than a decade, he agrees with the sentiments echoed by the sheriff. “The other thing the sheriff probably didn’t say is what a great friend he has been,” Stone said. “If you ever needed a hand or ever needed help you didn’t even have to ask because Mick would always show up, sometimes with a water truck.”
Bates, in turn, complimented the many people in the county. “This community has given my family and my extended family a lot of support as well,” Bates said. “It has been an easy thing to do. I think we all need to give back. It has been a pleasure to do so, and I will continue to do it as long as I can.”
Bates said that he has always been a supporter of law enforcement. He noted that this part of a family tradition. His own father, at one point, was on the board of an organization that supported a sheriff’s office in a different state.
Bates helped start the HDSA organization after he saw a need in the community. “When we first started out, the monies weren’t there for practice ammunition for the sheriff’s office,” Bates explained. “So, we started up the HDSA to raise money for things that weren’t on the budget but were needed.”
He said that the HDSA started out small, but it has grown in numbers and in the things the organization supports. He mentioned that one year recently, the “Shop with a Hero” event served more than 400 children.
HDSA Vice President Tommy Allen also applauded Bates’ efforts as a member of the organization. “Mick is absolutely the soul of the HDSA,” Allen said. “He is probably the hardest working and most dedicated member of the HDSA.”