Around Aspen: Medical matters |

Around Aspen: Medical matters

MEHLeft to right at The Loving Tree holiday party are Markey Butler, a registered nurse who is the director of the Hospice of the Valley, Jeannie Walla and Kris Marsh, chairman of the board of the Hospice.

Kris Marsh has been very busy throughout the holidays, helping to organize the Hospice of the Valley and also running the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation. She is chairman of the board of Hospice and is director and CEO of the Medical Foundation … so she organized holiday parties for both: the Hospice one at The Little Nell and the Medical Foundation one at the Hotel Jerome.

The director of Hospice of the Valley is registered nurse Markey Butler, who announced at the party that the Hospice should be up and running sometime in January. The Loving Tree, which raises funds for Hospice, has been held at the Little Nell for 20 years and Mary Ellen Secrist gave a brief history. When her husband, Dr. Donald Secrist, was very ill and wanted to be home instead of in a Denver hospital, Aspen doctors and nurses took care of him until he died and so the idea of a local Hospice was born. However, the Roaring Fork Hospice ended their program this past June and so a new Hospice was created under the umbrella of the Medical Foundation (and with a generous contribution of $1 million from an anonymous donor).

The Medical Foundation is now 35 years old and is funded by donations. In turn, it funds all things medical throughout the Roaring Fork Valley including $680,000 to Aspen Valley Hospital in 2008 for equipment, grants for further education for nurses paramedics and EMTs, the Aspen Homeless Shelter and the Neighbor to Neighbor program, which supports 30 local health and human services organizations.

I read with interest in the Christmas Day issue of The Aspen Times … that Sam von Trapp and his sister, Kristina von Trapp, have both returned to Stowe, Vt. Kristina has built a home for her family on the 2,400-acre family farm and Sam is now taking over the management of the family’s ski lodge in Stowe. He is taking over the lodge from his father, Johannes von Trapp, who was the youngest son of Maria and Baron von Trapp of “The Sound of Music” fame. When Sam had graduated from college, his father had told him he could do whatever he wanted for 10 years before he had to return home to run the family ski lodge. So Sam taught skiing in Aspen, modeled for Ralph Lauren, surfed in Chile and made People magazine’s America’s Top 50 Bachelors list in 2001. Sam is now engaged to a girl he met in Chile. I met Sam and Kristina when they were both living and working in Aspen in 1998, at a gathering of the International Skiing History Association held at the home of Sherrie Cutler.

There is yet another connection with the von Trapps to Aspen. Their nephew, Adolph Wallner and his wife, Liz Wallner, lived here many years from the 1950s through the 1970s. Adolph’s childhood friend, Hubert Erhard, learned to be a chef at the von Trapp’s ski lodge in Stowe before coming to Aspen and buying The Golden Horn Restaurant, which he ran through the 1960s. Hubert then returned to Stowe where he owned and operated The Golden Horn East. Both Adolph and Hubert were originally from Austria.

The First Annual Winter Tea will be held in Aspen on Wednesday, Jan. 7, from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall of the Aspen Community Church at 200 E. Bleeker Street. The event is a New Year’s benefit in honor of all who have suffered at the hands of those addicted to drugs and alcohol and those who are bi-polar, anorexic or bulimic. The tea has been organized by Jan Barton Hamilton, executive director of the Nutritional Biomedicine Research Institute of Aspen.

The Woody Creek Art Studio is holding an exhibit of works of the late Aspen artist Tom Benton. The exhibit includes original wall posters, local campaign posters, political posters, fine silkscreen prints, vintage ski posters, a John Denver poster and Hunter Thompson for sheriff posters.

Undercurrent … All that blasting on the mountain. It used to be blasting in the silver mines … now it is blasting the heavy snow for the ski area.

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