Paul E. Anna: High Points |

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

There is nothing worse than losing a friend and a companion.

But when we do lose someone, as we all will since it is one of the more predictable parts of life, then the best we can do is try to honor that person by paying it forward. By doing something in that person’s memory that will benefit others, even if they did not have an opportunity to know that person. We should all be so lucky to have someone who cares enough about us to do just that.

Last Christmas we lost our good friend Mark Christine. A mountain of a man, Mark was an avid and passionate fisherman. There was nowhere he would prefer to be than forever on the waters of the Pacific, or on the shores of the Fryingpan, line in water, interacting with the natural world. A resident of Old Snowmass and Newport Beach, Calif., Mark impacted many people in his six decades on this earth.

As an Army veteran, he cared deeply about those who served our country. To honor his memory, his lifelong friend and companion, Aggie Skirball, has made an extraordinary contribution in Mark’s name to Challenge Aspen. There is a program called the Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (C.A.M.O.) summer program for fly fishing, which is presenting a Gold Medal Waters Fly Fishing Camp.

Next week, from Sept. 9-13, Challenge Aspen will host a fly-fishing program designed specifically for wounded warriors with a passion for this extraordinary recreational activity in the Roaring Fork Valley’s renowned Gold Medal waters. The camp will cater to all disabilities and provide professional instruction with adaptive techniques and equipment. Participants will have the opportunity to learn new skills with their newly acquired injuries while enjoying new relationships and relaxation in a tranquil and therapeutic setting. All in honor of the memory of Mark Christine.

Currently there are six active-duty soldiers from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and two veterans who will be coming to Aspen to take part in the Mark Christine Camp. They will participate in two-days of fishing on the rivers and a day on a drift boat, as well as other activities organized by Challenge Aspen’s Dylan Braun.

Nothing would have pleased Mark more than knowing that returning veterans were able to fish on the banks of his beloved rivers. To him the joy of spending a day in the waders, tying flies and plying the waters with his handsome yellow Lab, Spencer, was the best blessing a man could have. As an ambassador with Frying Pan Anglers in Basalt, he would welcome the opportunity to share those blessings with others. While he will not be on the Gold Medal waters trip this year, he will no doubt be there in spirit.

This Saturday, Mark will also be honored by friends and loved ones on the river itself in a sunset ceremony on the Frying Pan. If you have a memory of Mark and are interested in making a donation in Mark’s name, please contact Challenge Aspen.

Donations can be made by contacting the following Dylan Braun, C.A.M.O. Program Coordinator, 970.923.0578 ext. 218, or by mail to Challenge Aspen, PO Box 6639, Snowmass Village Mall No. 309, Snowmass Village, CO 81615.

Recently, when Neil Armstrong passed, his family asked that when you see a full moon, give a wink toward it for Neil. Please do the same for Mark next time you see a trout jumping in the rivers.

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