GREAT FALLS — Out of 75 nominations, this year's "Five Under 35" honorees have been selected. Our third honoree of 2021 is Beth Branam. She fills her days helping children and families through the Opportunities Inc. Head Start program. “I’m over health, I’m over parent involvement, and I’m over our family services,” Branam explained.
Her dedication to helping the Great Falls community navigate challenges doesn’t stop there. She’s also the woman behind the keyboard who has played a big role in helping many restaurants survive the pandemic.
“People said they learned a lot about restaurants in town that they didn’t even know existed, which is really neat. I learned about new places I didn’t know about and I’ve lived here a long time,” Branam said.
Beth, 31 years old, created the “Great Falls Take Down and Take Out” Facebook page with her dad Terry Hurley when Covid-19 restrictions went into place last year. The page highlighted restaurants in Great Falls that were providing take-out and curb-side delivery. “We did weekly challenges for multiple businesses when we first started it, so we encouraged people to go the businesses we were going to be visiting that week,” Branam recalled.
The page’s popularity grew quickly, providing a platform for the now nearly 11,000 members of the group to share about restaurant hours, meals, specials and more. “I got to meet a lot of local business owners and hear from them and what impact that had.”
The impact on some business owners has been significant. “Some businesses said that their sales went up 70 to 80 percent, they were doing better than they had prior to the pandemic,” Branam said.
The pandemic-prompted page became much more than just a place to share food and drink pictures in a time of take-out and restrictions. “There was a little bit of a sense of isolation, and I think it gave kind of an online community where you could still feel some type of connection to the wider community,” explained Branam.
Here’s some of what the people who nominated Beth had to say about her:
- Beth works tirelessly to promote the betterment of this community--in her work time and private time. She is a humble soul who expects absolutely nothing in return. She is kind, gracious and motivated to make our community the best it can be--even during a pandemic, which makes betterment extremely difficult.
- Her dedication, for a person so young, is unsurpassed. Her hours are long and her commitment is amazing. SHE helps define our community and makes it her daily goal to always go above and beyond in making people's lives just a little easier.
- Her page states “community is our common ground” – this speaks volumes. Her love for the Great Falls community and people is huge. She is one of the young professionals in Great Falls who chooses to stay because she likes it here.
Branam’s passion, awareness, and willingness to take action have helped keep businesses and people afloat during an incredibly challenging time. “In whatever work you do is that little things make a difference, and one person can make a difference and sometimes you don’t know what impact that’s going to have,” Branam said.
- Five Under 35: Michelia Rivera-Acosta
- Five Under 35: Tony Forster
- Five Under 35: Jessi Oeleis
- Five Under 35: Anna Christofferson
- Five Under 35: Beth Branam