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Giving Back

Giving Back

The Power Of Nonprofits

The first time Rebecca Kanaly slept in a homeless shelter, she was 5 years old. Sirens and lights flooded her childhood home after her stepmother fell into a diabetic coma. EMTs revived her, but that night, Kanaly found safety in a local shelter. She remembers it feeling warm, loving and bright as volunteers handed her a teddy bear wearing a shirt saying, “Somebody Loves Me.” “They gave me hope and promise for a better tomorrow,” Kanaly says. “When I step back, it’s very impactful for me.” As a teen, Kanaly grew up in foster care, which required her o either work or attend summer school. As a result, she held a variety of jobs, from painting a mental health facility to acting as a peer counselor. She credits the system for helping her explore careers through work assignments and personality tests, like the Myers-Briggs. “Sometimes I think about how many […]

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The Faces Of Movement

When Gerry Lopez signed up for a statweide substance prevention conference last May with Fellow students whore are involved with the Youth Leader Council program at Eagle River YOutuh Coalition (ERYC), he couldn’t have predicted the outcome. ERYC executive Director Michelle Stecher gave the students free rein to pick the sessions htey wanted to attend. Two student attendees, Evan FitxCharles and David Riley, joined a discussion led by a group from Aspen. The topic was Tobacco 21 (T21) legislation and thats when something clickled. The object of the T21 legislation is to raise the legal age for purchasing tobaco products from age 18 to 21. In just three months following the conference, Lopez, FitzCharles and Riley found themselves presenting their casefor passing the bill to the Avon Town Council. “I’m looking out for my peers because I want them to be able to succeed and have as many barriers in […]

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NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS

Emery Welles was just a baby when her parents noticed she was much more irritable than her older brother had been at that age, or other typical four month olds they’d been around. Emery’s mom, Aja, a labor and delivery nurse at Vail Health knew somethng wasn’t right with her sweet baby girl. Soon, the Welles heard the ‘C’ word every person dreads, who by Emmy, was diagnosed with a rare childhool cancer known as embryonal rhabdomuosarcoma. “Initially, we spent a lot of time at night research ways we would no go bankrupt as a family,” says Michael Welles, Emmy’s dada who has chronicled her treatment on a Facebook page called Emmy;s Friends. “Your mortgage doesn’t stop needing to be paid; you still have to put groceries in the fridge.” It was one of those evenings, duirng the early days of diagnosis, the Welles “stumbled upon” the Vail Valley Charitable […]

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A LOCAL COMPANY WITH A BIG HEART

Sometimes Andy Clark, the owner of Alliance Moving Systems, jokingly refers to his company as “a not-for-profit for profit.” Considering how he dedicates his time and resources to the community, one might almost take him seriously. Excepting that Alliance is a very successful full-service moving and storage company based in Eagle and Gypsum, with the world-wide reach that comes from being an agent of Allied Van Lines. Clark’s dedication to serving his customers is only part of what makes him tick. He also is constantly on the look-out for ways that he and his company can enrich the community and help the less fortunate among us. Clark moved to the Vail Valley in 1987 and started Alliance 18 years ago. He found that he was often asked to dispose of items, especially furniture, which were no longer wanted. So he began taking the pieces to his warehouse and looked for […]

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VAIL MEMORIAL PARK

Much planning went into the Park, which is situated on eleven acres of open space in East Vail. “We wanted to keep the site as natural as possible,” says Diana Donovan, a member of one of Vail’s founding families, who sits on the board of the Vail Memorial Park Foundation. Donovan, who came to Vail in 1965, has been involved in every phase of the Park’s creation. “The Park has been very successful,” she says. “There are now 200 memorials. To meet increasing demand, we added a second phase in 2013, and a third opened this spring.” The Park is accessible from the Vail Recreation Path through a rustic arch, which welcomes visitors to a world of trees, meadows, wetlands and wildflowers. In the winter when the Park is blanketed in snow, part of Vail’s cross-country ski loop goes through the grounds. Donovan describes the Park as “a spiritual home […]

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River Bridge

Imagine the worst: you find out your child has been sexually abused or has witnessed physical abuse. Sadly, this isn’t such a rarity–it never has been–but now the community is talking about it, is aware of it and has a place where children can start to heal. River Bridge Regional Center helps with this heartbreaking process. It is a child advocacy center dedicated to providing “hope and healing to neglected and abused children and their families through treatment, advocacy, and investigation services.” In the past, if children reported abuse, their questioning was often done in a police station; in an interrogation room where they may have felt like the criminal instead of the victim. Instead of warmth and hope, they may have been met with what felt like a cold reception, which then became another traumatic experience. And many times, they had to tell and re-tell their story, reliving the […]

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Who Ya Gonna Call?

The mountains surrounding Vail are one of nature’s most beautiful playgrounds, but accidents happen, and you can get lost. If you find yourself in distress and you call 911; 911 will then contact Vail Mountain Rescue Group (VMRG) who, like superheroes, will save the day! Who are the brave men and women whose motto is “We serve so that others might live”? The VMRG volunteers are from many walks of life and will drop everything to respond when a call goes out that someone is in trouble in the mountains. And why do they do it? Why risk their own lives to save someone they probably don’t even know? Hailee Rustad, a businesswoman in the valley, explains, “When you get hugged by someone who has spent the night lost in the mountains, and you feel their gratitude, it is something that you remember all your life. The satisfaction is enormous.” […]

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ROUNDUP RIVER RANCH

There is a place up Colorado River Road in Gypsum where children’s dreams, literally, come true. A happy place where children do things they never thought they would or even could do. It’s a place where they’re welcomed with open arms and where they can just “be.” It’s peaceful. It’s beautiful. It’s extraordinary. And for a few weeks it’s their loving home. It’s Roundup River Ranch where kids with serious illnesses can have some serious fun! Roundup River Ranch carries out the vision of actor Paul Newman, who founded the first Hole in the Wall Camp (now SeriousFun Children’s Network) in 1988 in Ashford, Connecticut. The camp was named after the gang in Newman’s film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Both camps are part of a worldwide association of camps that serve children, ages 17 and under, and their families coping with cancer and other serious illnesses and conditions. […]

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An Ode to water

It’s easy to forget that fresh water is not a limitless resource. In fact, there isn’t much of it in the world. The precious supply we do have must be protected and preserved. That’s where Eagle River Watershed Council (ERWC) comes in. The group, comprised of three full-time staff members, a board, a team of about 1,000 volunteers and countless partners and overseers that range from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Town of Vail, considers itself “the watch dogs” of the Eagle River and the Vail Valley’s rare bounty of fresh waterways. The council works to preserve and restore the Eagle and Colorado Rivers, and all of the tributaries that run through Eagle County. It organizes mass trash pickups along the roads that line the waterways, tests water quality levels and makes sure the ecosystems of the rivers and streams are intact and also cleans up areas that have […]

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Eagle Valley Rummage

It is a fixture of late summer in Vail. The third and fourth weekends in August, over 3000 people converge on the original Battle Mountain HIgh School in Minturn’s Maloit Park, which the the Eagle Valley Rummage Sale occupies courtesy of the Eagle School District. Eager patrons start lining up at 5 a.m. to get first pick of the merchandise which fills 14 rooms as well as outside tents. The sale’s scope is tremendous, and there is almost nothing you can’t buy. Locals come to outfit their children for the coming school year and load up on books for winter reading. The “new room” contains donated clothing which is brand new, and the toy room is a child’s cornucopia of delights. Looking for housewares, sporting equipment, a computer or sound system, a crib or a stroller? This is the place for you. The clothing selection is so extensive that there […]