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Vail Valley: Dig in or dig deep

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –In the cycle of meetings and conferences around the Vail Valley Partnership it seems like there are waves of focus. Sometimes it seems like I meet a lot with lodging guys. Next, it’s local government types, then small businesses, then the resort companies, and so on.

For the last few weeks, it seems like I’ve been spending a lot of my time with our non-profit members. What a great bunch of people.

From feeding the hungry, to helping sick kids, to building affordable housing, to educating people who want to live more productive lives, the army of selfless people who run and toil within these wonderful organizations inspire us all with their courage, commitment and passion.

These exemplary citizens and what they accomplish with limited resources and the magnanimous giving of their sponsors and patrons should inspire every person and organization in the valley to adopt a higher mission, roll up their sleeves and dig in or dig deep.

We all know what the times have done to the disadvantaged among us, and we understand on an intellectual level the need to care for and raise up our fellow citizens to give them the best possible chance at mental and physical wellness and the pursuit of happiness. But, sometimes it’s easier to pity than be proactive. It’s also convenient to do one thing instead of many, even though we all have some little bit of time or currency to invest.

So, after this brief immersion in compassion, it occurred to me that the best and most compelling part of getting involved is not necessarily the end result of helping the end user, although that is certainly the goal. The best reason to jump in might be helping your friends help others.

When I was serving in the military some friends who were highly skeptical of my – or anyone’s – need to serve our government and its goals asked how I could voluntarily be part of the “war machine.” It took me a long time to help them understand that I didn’t give a wit about the politics or the military/industrial complex or the righteousness of the battle. I was engaged because my countrymen were and I wanted to help them get through it.

So, I’m asking you to help your friends. They’ll help you understand why it’s important and why it’s important to them. I almost feel a little sheepish asking for even more volunteerism. This valley is full of heroism and everywhere you look there are so many making such a big difference. But, as my mother once said, “It never hurts to ask.”

If you have a few minutes a week after you do your fair share of work and play, or if you have a few bucks left after you pay yourself and your creditors, and after you set something aside to invest in your future, think hard about giving a little away. Make something your cause. Make a friend your cause.

Help out. You’ll likely meet some great, outwardly focused people and take away a great sense of doing some good. You’ll also find, I think, that the ultimate beneficiary will be you.

Michael Kurz is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.


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