Express gives back

Craig Hall, The Business Times

          When it comes to cheer and dance groups in the Colorado, and even across the nation, few, if any, can compare to the success of the Express All Stars. Directed by Tena Pruess, Express All Stars also strives to excel beyond the stage with its Express Gives Back community service program.

            Express Gives Back has grown out of the cheer and dance teams’ commitment to becoming solid all-around students, teammates and citizens. “I firmly believe that for the girls, who have been blessed with so much in their lives, it is important to take an active role in our community,” say Pruess, “And this is a great way to achieve a sense of charity while also allowing the girls to see that there are people out there who are in need and deserving of their support and service.”

            For 2011, the Express AllStars have chosen to benefit the needs of Camp Hope and sponsor Christmas for a squadron of troops in Afghanistan.

            Camp Hope was set up as a place where the youth of our community could experience life outside the city. Through the generosity of Kiwanis and other community organizations, the camp has continued to expand its facilities to what they are today. Camp Hope has been operated by Canyon View Vineyard Church since 2009 with a mission to help every underprivileged child in Mesa County experience a time away at camp. Camp Hope’s wish list includes sleeping bags, bedding supplies, towels, camp supplies, flip flops, pool games, backpacks and outdoor gaming equipment.

            Chief Warrant Officer and Grand Junction native Scott Ipatenco (Central High School class of 1996), is the Maintenance Material Control officer for Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron One out of 29 Palms, California. The squadron of 30 men provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for ground and air assets; giving the battlefield commanders better situational awareness to use their troops more effectively. Ipantenco’s squadron is part of a larger group of 70 men the Express AllStars will be sponsoring gift packages for this Christmas. The unit’s wish list, which includes baby wipes, chapstick, vitamins, deodorant, AA and AAA batteries, flash lights, decks of cards, pain relievers, dried fruit, flavor packets from fast food establishments and other instant meals.

            “The entire team takes part in Express Gives Back,” explains Pruess, “Just like for competitions, we’ll split into teams to go out an accomplish these important goals in serving our community, and this year, all the way to Afghanistan.”

            Time is of the essence, especially in getting the items to the troops they so desire, so activity from the girls will, as always, be well-choreographed, energetic and designed to win.


If you or your business have items to donate from Express’ list of needs, or if you or your company would like to make a monetary donation, contact Tena Pruess at 970-201-3453 or at emaildirector@expressallstars.comor contact Craig Hall at 970-778-8864 or