An unsung hero |

An unsung hero

As the school year comes to a close, I would like to ensure that a retiring teacher does not make a quiet departure without receiving the recognition he deserves for his outstanding contributions.

The staff members of the Aspen Middle School would like to thank Gary Kreutzer for what he has done for our nationally recognized outdoor-education program, the eighth-grade ODE program in particular.

While there are many details and examples to share of his commitment, it should be mentioned that Gary has been instrumental in sustaining the vision of outdoor education initiated by John Kuehlman in 1967.

According to former colleague Tom Detweiler, “When no one else wanted to commit the time and energy required for this program, Gary took it on, with very little acknowledgement. He is one of the school district’s unsung heroes.”

In serving as director, an unpaid position in addition to his regular teaching assignment, Gary ensured that the eighth-grade ODE program would be self-sustaining well beyond his years of participation. He wrote a leader’s manual which includes a detailed explanation of the history and philosophy.

In the interest of safety, which is reflected in our program’s impeccable record, he detailed a variety of escape plans for all of the various hiking routes the eighth-graders take to their base camp destination in Marble.

In addition to these clerical contributions, Gary took it upon himself to be familiar with, and maintain, the elaborate gear required for climbing and rappelling. He has consistently set up the camp and kitchen for over 100 people. This included clearing and setting up the Outward Bound base camp area a week in advance of each year’s visit.

It should be mentioned that Gary Kreutzer received a master’s degree in outdoor education from the University of Minnesota, a degree with practically no universality.

In addition to this, he furthered his knowledge of safety, climbing and wilderness ethics by attending the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander, Wyo., during his summer vacations. This speaks to his personal dedication and commitment above and beyond his professional responsibility.

Gary Kreutzer is leaving the Aspen Middle School after 24 years of dedicated service. I have personally observed his gracious assistance and enthusiasm for our ODE program.

He is a motivated leader who, in the process, motivated and inspired others. The community should applaud his contributions to our nationally recognized outdoor education program.

Tom Hills

Aspen Middle School