Connie Baker is the epitome of the strong sense of community and support in Colorado’s rural areas, so it was no surprise to me when she recently stepped forward to help folks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I first met Connie when she received USDA Rural Development funding through our Rural Energy for America (REAP) program. The funding was for a geo-thermal exchange unit and roof mounted solar system on her Carbondale business. Connie owns the Marble Distillery, well known for its infused vodkas and liquors.
When the Governor recently ordered bars and restaurants closed because of the coronavirus, Connie thought about how she could help her community. As a distiller, the answer was quickly clear…she would use the facility to produce much needed hand sanitizer.
“As soon as Marble heard that distilleries were legal to make sanitizer, we knew we could make sanitizer fairly quickly with our stockpile of raw ingredients. We created a recipe and began making it as fast as possible. As soon as the word got out, we have had a line out front (correctly socially distanced) and are handing it out through the window - it is non-stop. Everyone is in need, police, fire depts, groceries, doctors, so our team feels great helping the community as best we can," said Connie Baker, Head Distiller.
All across America, rural business owners are demonstrating their ingenuity and devotion to their communities. Their employees are also showing dedication and devotion to making a difference. Production began last week and now Rural Development’s assistance is now being paid forward to help communities across our state. At Rural Development our mission is to improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. I believe that when we work together, America prospers. The actions of Connie Baker and her staff are just one step to getting us through this pandemic. I know there are more examples around our great country that need to be shared and folks to be celebrated for their actions, because, when America thrives, we all thrive.