Vail workers’ adventure will help kids |

Vail workers’ adventure will help kids

Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyVail Public Works employees (from left) Donna Joe Arnold, John Gallegos, Janeil Turnbull and Leonard Sandoval sit around a map of the Kilimanjaro area in Tanzania. The group is planning a two-week trip in March where they will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro before volunteering at a local Tanzanian orphanage.

VAIL, Colorado ” A craving for adventure is what brought five locals to plan a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. But a passion to help has them doing more than climbing.

“I love kids, and I think it will be such a life-altering experience to go over there and help these kids and see how they live,” said Janeil Turnbull.

Turnbull and Carol Gallegos will volunteer at an orphanage and a youth center in Tanzania for several days during the trip. They are also bringing toys and coats for people in the impoverished area.

They know Moshi, Tanzania, will be a lot different than Vail, Colorado.

“I think we’re all in for a big shock,” said Leonard Sandoval, another member of the group.

“No Wal-Mart,” said John Gallegos. “No cell phones, probably.”

Four members of the group ” Turnbull, Sandoval, Gallegos and Donna Arnold ” work at the town of Vail, each with more than 20 years’ tenure. Carol Gallegos has taught at Edwards Elementary for many years.

They’ve done some smaller adventures together over the years, whether it’s doing the Ride the Rockies bike race or climbing 14ers.

“Based on all this hiking, Donna came up with the idea to climb Kilimanjaro,” Sandoval said.

“Before all the glaciers melt off,” Arnold said.

Sandoval and Gallegos ” natives of Red Cliff and Minturn, respectively ” have been climbing mountains since they were kids.

“I’m always up for some adventure, even if it’s just going up Lake Creek,” Gallegos said.

The trip has been a year in the planning. They added the humanitarian aspects along the way ” they will be volunteering Shalom Orphanage and the Tunahaki youth center in Tanzania.

They plan to bring jump ropes, soccer balls, Frisbees and other toys for the kids. The coats ” they’ve collected 60 or 70 ” are for the porters who work to haul gear up the mountain.

And they might run into Vail firefighters Bryan Cash, Mike Orin and Ryan Sutter, who plan to be there at the same time, climbing Kilimanjaro and doing humanitarian work.

“That’d be cool if we meet up there,” Gallegos said. “‘Hey, don’t I know you?'”

For the five locals, it’s the trip of a lifetime ” for now.

“Machu Picchu,” Arnold said. “That’s going to be our next trip.”

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

The group is looking for duffle bags to help carry coats and other donations. They are also seeking money to help cover the $50 fee that comes with each extra bag. Call Janeil Turnbull at 479-2158 for more information.

You can also donate to the two charities that the group is helping:

Charities Within Reach

Shalom Orphanage

2527 Broadway St.

Boulder, CO 80304

TunaHAKI Foundation

1026 Ocean Park Blvd. #1

Santa Monica, CA 90405

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