Kudos and Kindness
Firefighters lend a hand
I would like to thank the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, in particular Rick Balentine and Peter, for its help on Dec. 31. I had a brand-new quadrocopter and had gotten it stuck up 40 feet in a cottonwood tree with no hope of retrieving it. So I called the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, and it came by with its ladder truck and got it down. Thanks so much for the help.
Aspen, eighth grade
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Highlands patrol to the rescue
To the Aspen Highlands ski patrol, I have lived in the valley since 1987 and have skied every single year since I moved here, and luckily for me, I have never had to use the services of the ski patrol.
On Dec. 26, I had near and dear out-of-town guests staying with me, and we were enjoying a spectacular day on Highlands — bright blue skies and superb skiing conditions. We had taken the cat to the edge of the bowl and were skiing down Canopy Cruiser when we became separated. One of the party had skied over to Mushroom, hit a rock and was thrown, dislocating his hip. Highlands patrol was on the scene, and its professionalism and expertise is second to none. The patrollers worked like a fine-tuned machine — stabilizing and caring for my friend — that was awesome to experience. I cannot express enough gratitude and appreciation for them and to them. We are truly honored to have them on the mountain. Thank you, Aspen Highlands ski patrol.
Community rallies for Holiday Baskets
The Holiday Baskets Program, a totally volunteer project, was once again a joyful community effort. This program has provided gifts and food to needy individuals and families in our valley for more than 30 years. This year we helped approximately 1,000 people.
Recipients are referred by various social-service agencies and are then “adopted” by individuals, the faith community, businesses, schools and other groups. Since not all families are “adopted,” those who are not are provisioned for using donated gift-tag items and purchased gifts. In addition to presents, we were able to provide City Market food gift cards for each person.
The response from our community was particularly generous this year. We received many wonderful donations of toys, money, clothing, blankets, diapers, books, gift cards and volunteer time. We are grateful for grants from The Thrift Shop of Aspen, Aspen Elks, the Rotary Club of Aspen and the Martin Foundation.
While it is not possible to individually thank everyone who contributed to the success of this program, there are several who deserve special recognition. Neal Batson, Elaine Bonds, Joy Stryker, Marsha Cook, Cynthia De Francia, Elizabeth Parker and Sarah Pember spent many, many hours and lots of energy matching families with “Adopting Angels” and making sure all the gifts were ready on pickup days.
We are also grateful to Christ Episcopal Church for providing space in which to coordinate and distribute the thousands of gifts. We had lots of enthusiastic help from volunteers, Girl Scouts, school groups and faith community youth groups.
We appreciate those businesses that allowed us to place our collection jars on their counters as well as the people who filled them with donations. It was gratifying to receive gifts from the Aspen and Basalt schools, the Aspen police, 911, the Sheriff’s Office, the Fire Department, the County Manager’s Office, the Roaring Fork Club, the Hotel Jerome, Neil Garing Insurance and Burberry. Thank you also to the Aspen Chamber Resort Association for again collecting toys and money for Holiday Baskets at its expo.
It was heartwarming to observe so may people in our community participating in this project with such love and generosity, and it was truly joyful to see the happy faces of the recipients when they received their gifts.
Chairwoman, Holiday Baskets
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Kudos to Laurine Lasselle for her well-written, well-researched article interpreting the data from the 2020 census (“2020 census data highlights relationship among resort communities, downvalley locales,” Aspen Journalism).