Challenge Aspen event was a total team effort
Dear Editor: Last week I truly experienced the meaning of “to give of yourself is the greatest gift of all.” On Aug. 1-2, Challenge Aspen held the eighth annual Vince Gill & Amy Grant Golf Classic, benefiting our mission of “making possibilities for people with disabilities.” Not only did the Roaring Fork community come out in support of this event, but over 40 percent of the attendees were from all over the country, all giving freely of themselves. Vince Gill and Amy Grant have hosted the Golf Classic since the beginning, and have co-hosted the past three years with Fred and Sharon Funk, and PGA/Champions Tour golf professionals. Each year our hosts, along with the top disabled golfers in the country, and a host of professional athletes and celebrities give of themselves to make this fundraiser a great success. Lt. Colonel Daniel T. Johnston, who attended last year’s event via Skype from an outpost in Iraq, was the honorary event chair this year. He and a large group of Wounded Warriors from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and their families, who were here for a weeklong Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (CAMO) program, gave more of themselves, in addition to what they already had for our country, just by being part of this event. One of these honored families was recently featured on Oprah as “America’s Bravest Family.” Tom and Wendy DiVenere, who have given so much of themselves for years to Challenge Aspen, were our event chairs, and Pamela Ross went above and beyond by helping to coordinate an incredible live auction as our auction chair. Richard and Nancy Rogers, returning title sponsors of the event, enabled over 30 percent of our participants to be scholarshipped in our programs, and they helped Challenge Aspen to become the largest community-based recreation program in the country for Wounded Warriors out of Walter Reed and Brooke Army Medical Center. The gala took place at the newly remodeled and graciously accommodating St. Regis Aspen, which was filled to capacity with 500-plus guests, giving more of themselves than we could ever have expected. In addition, we were blessed with a crew of Roaring Fork Valley volunteers, known for passionate volunteerism. The ingredients of this two-day event blended to be the perfect recipe for the largest and best Golf Classic since its inception. We could never individually thank each and every volunteer and sponsor, but simply want to say, thank you all, once again, for giving of yourselves and helping us take the “Dis out of Disability.” Amy Grant summed the event up best by saying, “There was a lot of love in that St. Regis Ballroom on Monday evening,” and I couldn’t agree more. Houston Cowan Co-founder/CEO, Challenge Aspen
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