Mountain Rescue veteran honored |

Mountain Rescue veteran honored

Tim Mutrie

Scott Messina, a 20-year volunteer with Mountain Rescue Aspen, was honored yesterday with the Greg Mace Award for his outstanding dedication and service to the community.Messina, who leads trainings for rescuers throughout the state and is also the regional director of Mountain Rescue, is the seventh member of the local rescue team to receive the honor. The award is dedicated to the memory of Greg Mace, a former MRA leader who was killed in an accident during a training climb on the Maroon Bells in July 1986.Following a free concert for local volunteers at the Music Tent on Sunday morning, Lynne Mace, Greg’s sister, made the award presentation during a luncheon. The event was attended by about 150 people, including several former Greg Mace Award winners.Amos Mace, Greg Mace’s 24-year-old nephew, was also on hand.”It’s quite an honor that 20 years after Greg’s death, the community still presents this award to an esteemed volunteer,” he said. His grandfather, Stuart Mace, settled in the upper Castle Creek Valley in 1947. “Scott is very deserving of this honor.”Lynne Mace, the chair of the award committee and caretaker of the family’s Toklat Gallery and homestead at Ashcroft, said of Messina: “He’s been so completely devoted to Mountain Rescue for so long, that’s all he does.”We honor him and thank him for his dedication.”A Denver native, Messina moved to Aspen in 1986, landing a job as a caretaker for the 10th Mountain Division hut system.”Life was good,” reads a statement describing Messina’s service. “He hiked or skied from hut to hut summer and winter, did basic hut maintenance, had a place to live and made $30 a week!”Messina joined MRA that same year. “In fact, he was practically ordered by then Mountain Rescue member Jim Ward to join the team. And, not surprisingly, it was a match made in heaven,” the statement continues.Messina owns Aspen Alpine Guides, which leads clients into the backcountry.”Scott gives back more than he takes from the mountains. … [He] exemplifies selfless volunteerism and [has] a feisty energy that allows him to totally immerse himself in everything he does. That is exactly what the Greg Mace Award was created to celebrate,” according to the statement.”Even though the two [Mace and Messina] just missed meeting each other, Greg would have been proud that someone so dedicated has given so much to his beloved organization.”Former Greg Mace Award winners include Aspen icons such as Fritz Benedict (’87), Eve Homeyer (’89) and Claire Sanderson (’93), as well as MRA members like Fred Braun (’86), who founded MRA with Stuart Mace, Jim Ward (’91), Rick Deane (’96), David Stapleton (’97) and David Swersky and Craig Ward (co-winners in ’02).”Holy cow – it’s pretty overwhelming to receive this award,” Messina said, opening with some brief remarks yesterday. “And it’s incredibly overwhelming when you look at the names of the people preceding me up there.”It’s a very humbling honor.”Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is