April 27, 2022, Pueblo, CO - The Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment (PDPHE) announced Geared-Up Auto was selected as the 2022 Public Health Champion for displaying significant contributions to Pueblo’s public health.  

“Congratulations on a well-deserved award to Rick and Andrea Higgins owners of Geared-Up Auto. Pueblo’s public health community acknowledges Mr. and Mrs. Higgins as role models in the Pueblo community,” stated Randy Evetts, public health director at the Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment. 

The award was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Higgins of Geared-Up Auto at the April 27, 2022, Pueblo County Board of Health meeting. A community selection committee chose Geared Up Auto for the promotion of health and protection of the environment in Pueblo County.  

Mr. and Mrs. Higgins’ involvement as role models for public health was observed in multiple areas of service to the Pueblo community over time.  

During the first two years of the pandemic, Geared Up Auto helped support PDPHE’s Care Coordination clients, including families of children with special health care needs. Prior to partnering with PDPHE’s Care Coordination, Geared Up Auto donated 2,000 back-to-school backpacks for families in need of school supplies for the past seven years. And when there were leftover supplies, Geared Up Auto sponsored teachers in need of classroom supplies. 

In 2021, Geared Up Auto donated 12 cars to families in need of reliable transportation, and they have a goal of donating 10 cars every year. Mr. and Mrs. Higgins set an example of success through hard work and generosity by ‘paying it forward.’  

Over time, Geared Up Auto donated over 10 Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets complete with turkey or ham and fixings for families who, without their support, would not have celebrated the holidays. For Christmas Geared Up Auto donated personal gifts for 10 special needs families, including kids whose wish lists included blankets for warmth.  

Mr. Evetts added, “Rick and Andrea, we appreciate your community spirit and efforts to reduce the negative impacts of poverty on health and safety throughout life.” 

Nominations were received earlier this year from Pueblo community partners in addition to Pueblo Department of Public Health and Environment’s Board of Health and health department staff members. 


Geared Up Auto joins past Public Health Champions in receiving this prestigious award: 

2021    Gene Wilcoxson 

2020    Cheryl Reid 

2019    Dr. Gogarty 

2018    Southern Colorado Health Network 

2017    Kim Arline 
2016    Pueblo Community College 
2015    Southern Colorado Runners Club 

2014    Dr. Anne Courtright 

2013    John Panepinto, BPh 

2012    Dr. Jarvis Ryals 

View photos of the past Public Health Champion recipients by visiting https://county.pueblo.org/public-health/public-health-champion