Incumbent Torinus touts AVH stability |

Incumbent Torinus touts AVH stability

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

After eight years on the Aspen Valley Hospital board of directors, Chuck Torinus is proud of the hospital.

And he wants the chance to serve another four years.

“We have totally turned the operation around in eight years’ time,” said Torinus, who is running for the third time on a slate with fellow hospital board members Meg Haynes and Tom Griffiths. “In 1994, the finances were in shambles, we had had five CEOs in six years, and the medical staff had had it. We took over a rat’s nest.”

Today, Torinus said the hospital is on sound financial footing with “good annual numbers, good reserves and a terrific bond rating unheard of in a hospital like ours.”

He also pointed to the hospital’s purchase of the Mid-Valley Medical Center and the Beaumont Lodge as two big steps toward improving the delivery of health care and creating a stable staff.

And he’s proud of the six-and-a-half-year tenure of hospital CEO Randy Middlebrook.

“We hired him,” Torinus said. “And we re-upped his contract. The three of us consider him to be a gift in this community.”

In fact, Torinus believes things are going so well at AVH that he was surprised by the number of challengers seeking to oust the incumbents from the board.

“The hospital is in great shape right now, and everybody knows that,” he said. “When seven new candidates came out of the woodwork, we were totally surprised.”

Perhaps Torinus should not have been surprised, given all the time he has spent in Aspen and how many boards he has served on.

Torinus, 59, has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for 27 years. When he first came to town in 1975 from Wisconsin, he bought the Applejack Inn on Main Street, which is now called the Aspen Mountain Inn.

He sold the property in 1983 and with his wife, Nancy, bought Impressions, an office supply and stationary store, which they ran until 1999.

Now, Torinus, who lives in Woody Creek, describes himself as self-employed and does some property management work.

He also does a lot of volunteer work.

He has served on the advisory board of the Aspen Golf Course for nine years, the Aspen Fire Protection District board for 11 years, and with the Aspen Rotary Club, where he is a past president, for 19 years.

He also serves on several health-care related boards, including the Aspen-Basalt Care Clinic advisory board and on the board that advises Community Health Service, Inc.

“I spend about a third of my time in community work,” Torinus said.

And it was in 1994 that he was asked to serve on the hospital board.

“They went out into the community and did a search because three seats were available,” Torinus recalls.

Now, looking forward, he wants to help guide the third phase of an ongoing remodel of the hospital, which will require city of Aspen approval of a master plan.

And make no mistake about it, Torinus wants to keep serving on the hospital board. And to do so alongside Griffiths and Haynes.

“We’ve made a personal commitment to give another four years of service,” he said. “We’re in this because we give a damn. We’re not in it for the ego.”

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