VAIL — Local Specialty Sports Venture stores set a new record in donations for their annual Adopt-a-Cause program this year.
Matching 50 cents for every dollar donated, Vail Resorts on March 5 presented a check for $82,543.16 to the Vail Veterans Program, the recipient chosen for this year’s donation.
True to its name, the Adopt-a-Cause program features a new donor recipient every year that is adopted by the managers of the Specialty Sports stores in democratic fashion.
“We have the charitable organizations come and present to us, and then we vote,” said Joe Walker, vice president of operations for Specialty Sports Venture. “(The Vail Veterans program) is one that we got behind whole-heartedly this year.”
Those affiliated with the program suspect it was recipient itself this year, not a sudden increase in generosity of shoppers, that led to the record donations. The Vail Veterans Program provides individualized outdoor programs such as monoskiing for military injured and their families.
“This year is was so successful because this is something that tugs at everyone’s heart strings,” said Nicky DeFord from Vail Resorts Echo’s Charitable Contributions/Corporate Giving arm. “(The Vail Veterans Program) went to the stores ... they had a veteran get up in front of them and say ‘this changed my life.’”
‘I REALLY FELT THAT AGAIN’
Army infantryman Flip Klein had a life-changing experience through the Vail Veterans Program in early March.
A 30-year veteran of skiing and snowboarding, Klein said his favorite thing in the world was being on the snow, on the mountain. And then a year and a half ago in southern Afghanistan, Klein stepped on a bomb.
“It blew off my left leg below the knee, and my right arm above the elbow,” he said. “The gravity of the snow, the bite of the cold, looking out over a valley that was 100 miles wide but you feel like you can touch it, I hadn’t felt that since March 14, 2012, the last time I was on the mountain.
“This was one of the first times I really felt that again,” Klein said after three days of monoskiing at Vail.
Vail Resorts presented the check at a dinner at the Vail Fire Station No. 3
“I feel it’s a great privilege to be amongst people like you, who are willing to give your lives to your country,” Vail Fire Chief Mark Miller said.
Learn more about Adopt-a-Cause and Vail Resorts’ other special funding programs for charitable giving at www.vailresortsecho.com.