Family fun theme of hospital banquet |

Family fun theme of hospital banquet

Carolyn Pope
Carolyn Pope/Special to the DailyJanie and Scott Garel with Chris Irving and Pollyanna Forester

Each year on Dec. 28 the Vail Valley Medical Center hosts its Family Dinner Dance. It’s a special night for families to celebrate the holidays when the older kids are visiting from college. It also is an opportunity for the little ones to try out their first jacket and tie – or even a tuxedo – and frolic with their friends.This was the 24th year for the event, which honors Thelma Brittan’s birthday, one of the staunchest supporters of the Vail Valley Medical Center, along with her husband, Gordon. Thelma passed away in 2003.

The dinner is also one of the few events in town that is just a great party, nothing more – no auctions, no raffles, no gimmicks – just a good time with friends and family.One special award, The Golden Bear, was bestowed, honoring Ed O’Brien, who has given so much time to the medical center over the years. O’Brien joined the Vail Valley Medical Center Board of Directors in January 1998 and has been board chairman since August 2002. “During his two-and-a-half years as chairman he has probably experienced more changes than any of his predecessors. However, Ed, with a firm grip, and a steady hand has kept the ship on course for those tumultuous years. I cannot think of anyone who could be more deserving of the Golden Bear Award this year,” said Art Kelton, Jr., president of the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation board of directors. “At times he thinks he’s gone over Niagara Falls with all the obstacles he’s encountered.”

O’Brien responded in his usual inimitable way.”This is an incredible honor. I’d thought that maybe in the next couple years I’d be in the running for it,” he said. He quickly deflected the praise onto the hard working staff of the medical center that’s familiarly known as VVMC.

“VVMC received the highest rating in Colorado of any hospital in 2003 due to the many nurses, professionals and physicians who practice here,” he said. “These men and women are the people who make VVMC what it is.”Debbie King Ford spearheaded the event, along with committee members Sue Franciose, Jill Smirl, Suzanne Sloan and Marty Suarez. The ballroom at the Marriott was covered with sparkling twinkle lights, and, after dinner, Colorado favorite Hazel Miller and her band entertained the audience with lively rhythm and blues. Patron sponsors included Alpine Bank, Beaver Creek Resort Company, Colorado Mountain Medical, Diversified Radiology of Colorado, P.C., Eagle Vista Investments, LLC, First Bank, Gillett Family, Hobart Family, Howard Head Sports Medicine, Kirchner Family, R.A. Nelson & Associates, Ron Byrne & Associates, Steadman Hawkins Clinic, Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group, Vail Resorts, Inc., Wells Fargo Bank and West Star Bank.Vail, Colorado

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