Vail doc: Excel at what’s important |

Vail doc: Excel at what’s important

Drew Werner
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado –I am writing this as I am getting ready for parent’s weekend at the United States Air Force Academy. It is something I have looked forward to since my son left home in June. It is still hard. At the same time Labor Day is coming, and all our students have returned to school or are about to.

Labor Day. What an amazing holiday. We spend this annual event celebrating the hard work people do, and how it shapes our nation. What an honor to be able to do just that. In our hard economic times labor is even more precious. As Americans, we will pull through.

Putting this apparent jumble of thoughts together was actually pretty easy though. Each year I try to challenge our returning to school students with a thought or question that I hope will make a difference in their upcoming year. This year I began by asking many of them to pose this question to me….


What kind of doctor are you today?

Just wondering. Thanks,

A student

My answer would always begin with a dejected expression, slump of the shoulders and gaze away from anything even close to eye contact. As I looked away I would weakly say a “D” kind of doctor or maybe a “C.”

I then asked them to repeat their question to me.

Looking straight back into their wondering-what-the-heck-was-going-on eyes, I enthusiastically replied: “Why of course an ‘A’ doctor, ‘A+’ for you.”

Asking which doctor they would rather see the answer is inevitability the “A” doctor. The real question of course is that if we expect A work from others shouldn’t we expect the same of ourselves?

Whether it is the mechanic fixing our brakes, the pilot flying the plane or plumber repairing a leak an A-1 job is the order of the day. Translating a quote from P.T. Barnum, “Some of the people will do an ‘A’ job all the time and all of the people will do an ‘A’ job some of the time, but not all of the people will do an ‘A”‘ job all of the time.”

That is where priorities come in. Get an A in the things that matter, and always get an A for effort.

So, I ask everyone to look in the mirror and ask yourselves am I an “A” person? Work is work – whether it be at home, in school or on the job. It tires us and rewards us at the same time. It is the necessary thing that gives us the opportunity to not only enjoy, but celebrate Labor Day.

I hope you had an “A” Labor Day.

Dr. Drew Werner is the vice chief of staff at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and the Eagle County Health Officer. He lives in Eagle with his family. E-mail comments about this column to

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