Vail Daily letter: Lucky you live Vail Valley
May 5, 2011
Years ago, we lived in Hawaii, and they had a phrase that locals often used: “Lucky you live Hawaii.”
I think of that phrase often when I reflect on what a caring, supportive and generous community there is in the Vail Valley. During our early years on Oahu, we valued the natural beauty of the islands and all the experiences we enjoyed, but now as we mature, I realize the importance of being included in a community of people who genuinely care and support each other. This is the bonus in addition to living in our magnificent surroundings.
Our family has been on a 41⁄2-year journey with cancer, and we have been blessed to have been able to establish relationships with various communities who have supported us along this chapter in our life journey. Our church communities, our Arrowhead Alpine Club community, the Brush Creek Elementary School community, the Shaw Cancer Center and Vail Valley Medical Center communities and our Rotary Club community have all been invaluable as we made this journey. We would especially like to thank Doris Kirchner and her staff at VVMC; Dianne Schmidt in the ER and Richard Norris, who is one of the most outstandingly gifted “angels” you will ever meet. I could write paragraphs about how caring and genuine Richard is … he is a true gift to our community. Our surgeons, Dr. James Downey and Dr. Andrew Lawrence, were always available on a moment’s notice to accommodate us. Whatever it took, they would work us into their schedules on very, very short notice. Try to accomplish that in a city.
The same access to personal, compassionate and knowledgeable treatment at Shaw was provided by Dr. Alex Urquhart, Katie Jones and Lisa Samuels. Their compassion and patience with us was exemplary.
And then there is our close friend Pastor Topper (Trigger) Hagerman with the Howard Head Clinic, who would stop by my wife’s room daily to pray with her. Our community is extremely fortunate to have access to such outstanding facilities and physicians. Regarding the Arrowhead community, we have lived in a diversity of great places around the country and have been in the valley for over 20 years. I can say without reservation that the Arrowhead community, under the direction of Mayor Lu Syracusa, is unique in their support for their fellow neighbors. We always say that if you have to get old and if you get sick or need support, this is the place to be. Also, we were fortunate to have had Teresa Shay and Dr. Alfred Bamberger, of Finis Boni, and Dr. Gerri Schmidt work with us. They were integral contributors to my wife’s longevity. Our community is fortunate, as well, to have the support of Lindsey and the caring, knowledgeable staff of Vail Valley Home Health and Mountain Hospice. On numerous occasions, Pastor Mike Brumbaugh’s prayer and fasting have blessed us richly. Most of all, our appreciation for our close friend Pat Hammon, who has been with us throughout our journey and specifically these last two weeks; her degree of compassion cannot be overstated.
My point in sharing the above with you is that we all should recognize and appreciate how truly fortunate and blessed we are to live in such a unique community.