Because giving is in our culture | AspenTimes.com

Because giving is in our culture

One of the things that sets this community apart from other towns, and of course big cities, is that it’s still small enough for anyone to have an impact and make a difference. Fortunately for Aspen, most locals choose to make a difference by participating in civic life, volunteering time for a good cause, or writing a check to a local nonprofit. Giving is part of our local culture, and we all benefit by participating.

A fine example of what makes Aspen such a great community occurs this Friday, Oct. 5. It’s a benefit for Bob Sloezen, a local mountaineer, ski patroller, alpine guide and all-around nice guy who has cancer and has been forced to pay mounting medical bills. The party is Friday night at Bumps, and everybody is invited to join for a $35 “donation” (kids younger than 12 get in free).

We’re urging people to attend, not because Bob is a personal friend; in fact, nobody on The Aspen Times editorial board knows Sloezen personally. But we know people who do know him, and they say he’s a nice guy ” so we’ll trust our sources on this one.

We do various things in this space ” endorse political candidates, berate people who we feel have done wrong, try to shed light or steer debate on public affairs, advocate for causes, celebrate jobs well done ” but one of the most important is to promote and support community. And holding a benefit to help a community member pay his medical bills is a sterling example of a healthy community.

Though he describes himself as a “dirtbag climber,” Sloezen is far from run-of-the-mill. He has summited Mount Everest three times and climbed numerous other big peaks around the world. He’s a natural guy for a mountain town to rally around, and there are any number of reasons an Aspenite might want to help him out.

We’d like to propose another: Sloezen is simply a longtime Aspenite with a life-threatening illness, and helping is what people do in exceptional communities.

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Make a difference and attend BOB AID ’07 at 5 p.m. Friday at Bumps. For more information contact Bob Perlmutter at BobPerl@hotmail.com.