Teen spearheads $11,000 fundraising drive for Vail Veterans Program
Tabitha Balow's roots run all the way back to the American Revolution
You don’t have to scratch very deep to reach Tabitha Balow’s American military roots.
The senior at Ralston Valley High School in Aurora whose parents have Vail ties is president of the Colorado chapter of Children of the American Revolution, a youth version of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Sons of the American Revolution.
She was casting about for a CAR project for her presidential year and found the Vail Veterans Program, which provides skiing and other outdoor adventures for injured military veterans and their families.
“The more I researched the Vail Veteran Program, the more I knew it was a fit,” she said.
She asked her dad, Brad Balow, who confirmed that his cousin Sean Halsted is an injured Air Force veteran and three-time U.S. Paralympian (2010, 2014, 2018). Halsted was parachuting from a helicopter as part of a search and rescue training exercise. An accident left him paralyzed from the waist down. It was a tough adjustment for the former All-Pac-10 athlete at Washington State University. However, he refused to lose sports and found Nordic skiing after attending a Veterans Administration winter sports clinic in 2001.
“It’s better to be active than not to be active at all,” Halsted said.
Balow’s Revolutionary Roots
Balow’s grandmother had traced their family tree and found veterans from almost every American conflict, all the way to the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War. Her grandfather regaled Tabitha with stories about returning from Vietnam at the height of the political unrest.
“She latched onto it as a way to honor her grandfather, and also to help the people returning, some with catastrophic injuries,” Brad Balow said. “She can understand the sacrifice veterans make. Her ancestors were the first veterans. She understands that what we have today is a byproduct of their sacrifice.”
A cause to fight for
Balow’s Children of the American Revolution chapter did all the regular high school fundraising stuff, only much more successfully. She plugged into several groups across Colorado, starting with her school’s history honor society, a family-oriented group. They, too, had been casting about for a cause, and this cause had it all, Balow said.
“The history honor society is family-oriented and the Vail Veterans Program works with families. They had a cause to fight for,” Balow said.
They started last April with a school-wide fundraising week. The goal was to take care of a Vail Veterans Program family for a trip to Vail. They did.
They finished their fundraising drive a couple of weeks ago, and earlier this month handed the Vail Veterans Program a check for $11,000.
Balow said it surpassed any of her expectations. The Vail Veterans Program is thrilled.
“Tabby Balow’s passion and dedication to our wounded warriors and their families is incredible. Through her hard work, Tabby raised more than $11,000 to further the Vail Veterans Program mission. Tabby’s efforts will have a truly outstanding impact on our Nation’s Heroes!” said Becca Aliber, the Vail Veterans Program’s director of programs and development.
Balow’s mother and father, Brad Balow and Amy Johnson, met and married in Vail, back when the ski company was still named Vail Associates and based in Vail.
Harriett M. Lothrop founded the Children of the American Revolution on April 5, 1895, to help instill patriotic values in America’s youth. Among other things, CAR teaches civics, which schools tend not to do, Brad Balow pointed out.
Balow said she plans to study international business in college.