Helping the military meet the mountains |

Helping the military meet the mountains

April E. Clark
Kara K. Pearson/Post Independent Julie Hanson, a real estate lawyer in Glenwood Springs, is secretar and treasurer for Operation Vacation, an organization that brings member of the military to the Rocky Mountains.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Julie Hanson loves living in the mountains. And she’s more than happy to help military families experience her lifestyle each month.”I like the small-town feel,” said Hanson, of Glenwood Springs.Hanson, a Minnesota native, is an attorney at Beattie and Chadwick law firm in Glenwood Springs. In her free time, the 29-year-old likes to camp, hike and ski. When she’s not handling real estate and business transactions in the office or enjoying the Rocky Mountains, she’s secretary-treasurer on the board of Operation Vacation. The program brings war veterans to Glenwood Springs for an all-expenses-paid weekend of rest and relaxation.”It’s different than just sending presents to the military,” she said. “It’s definitely unique.”Hanson is not a veteran – she studied sociology, criminology and communication at the University of Kansas before graduating from the University of Denver’s law school in 2004. But her grandfather was a tank commander in the Army during World War II, mostly in France and Germany. And she likes to meet the veterans and their families who participate in Operation Vacation.”They all have different stories,” she said. “But I don’t ask them about the military because they’re here on vacation. It’s like bringing up work when you’re on vacation.”One Operation Vacation family stands out in Hanson’s mind because they especially enjoyed their time in Glenwood.”There was one of them who didn’t really have a wedding,” she said. “They want to come back here in the spring to get married because they had so much fun here.”Hanson said she’s seen how paragliding can bring a family together and how a dinner out on the town can do wonders for a military couple that spends several months out of the year apart.”I had read all the articles about it and saw what a cool deal it was,” she said. “I just thought it was a good project.”Hanson said she and the Operation Vacation board members, including founder Bob Johnson, hope to see the program branch out to other resorts. There’s interest in establishing Operation Vacation in Winter Park and other towns and cities nationwide.”I’ve been in Colorado for eight years now – I lived in Vail prior to going to law school,” she said. “After law school I wanted to get out of Denver. I wanted to go to a mountain resort.”Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO

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