Vail Valley’s Sherpa Foundation hosting benefit for the top of the world
If You Go ...
What: Sherpa Foundation benefit.
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 29.
Where: Eagle-Vail Pavilion, 538 Eagle Drive, Eagle-Vail.
Cost: Complimentary, but donations are encouraged.
More information: Every dime collected by the Sherpa Foundation goes to Nepal. No one gets paid to operate the organization. Any administrative costs are covered by Pemba Sherpa and others. Go to www.sherpafoundation.org to learn more.
EAGLE-VAIL — You can see how much good you have done through the Sherpa Foundation. Simply take a pastoral stroll along the route through Nepal to Everest Base Camp.
You can also see how much is needed.
If you’re not headed to Nepal anytime soon, then the Sherpa Foundation is hosting its third annual fundraiser today at the Eagle-Vail Pavilion. Every dime goes to Nepal, where it’s needed, said Pemba Sherpa, who launched the Sherpa Foundation after the 2015 earthquakes.
It’s one of the only charities that keeps none of the money. Not for administrative costs. Not for anything. All of it goes to help rebuild homes in Nepal, some still in shambles two years after the earthquakes.
“I truly appreciate everyone’s support,” Pemba said. “The event is a result of what we have gained from the community. None of this would have been possible without your support.”
It’s easy to be fooled, and many organizations try, Pemba said.
“I’m local. I will do everything to fulfill that commitment,” Pemba said. “The needs of the Everest region were great, even before the earthquakes and the devastation.”
Sherpa Painting, Pemba’s Vail Valley business, is doing well enough that he can keep running the Sherpa Foundation. He said he’s thankful to the contractors and homeowners who work with the business.
“They’re helping the Sherpa Foundation, as well,” he said.
Medal of Honor
Pemba has been to Nepal three times this year, once to be honored with Nepal’s Medal of Honor for the Sherpa Foundation’s work. He is the only person from his native village, Chaurikhar, to receive that honor.
“It’s a proud feeling,” Pemba said.
He was on Nepali national television in May to talk about it. During the interview, the reporter snarked, “How do we know you did all this?”
Pemba smiled softly and quietly replied, “It’s right along the trekking route where thousands of tourists walk through the Everest region. You can take a stroll and see for yourself.”
Take that stroll and you’ll also see people carrying building materials on their backs. There are no roads, no delivery trucks. Simply the occasional yak to help with the load.
You can tell a Sherpa Foundation house from the others because the roofs are blue galvanized steel and heavier gauge than most of the others.
“That was a great joy to see the roofs being delivered,” Pemba said.
About today’s event
At today’s event, you can see his Medal of Honor, meet 10-time Mount Everest summiter and mountain guide Tashi Sherpa and have an authentic Nepali dinner that Yanji Sherpa is preparing. A slide presentation will show projects in progress, and there’s a silent auction.
You’ll hear about a cultural trek to Everest Base Camp you can take, led by Pemba. They’ll hire local Nepali porters for that trip, and any other Pemba helps organize. They pay their people more than most.
“The benefit and joy is helping their local economies,” Pemba said.
More than a decade and a half ago, Kobe Bryant came to the Vail Valley quietly. Fourteen months later, he left the same way. In the middle was … well … a media circus.