Veterans honor Marni Jump Monday
VAIL – Local veterans will honor one of their own and raise money for a memorial project Monday, and dancing’s involved.The local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has reserved time Monday at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail for a party in honor of Marni Jump.Jump, a World War II veteran who has lived in Vail for many years, recently moved to Denver for health reasons. Jump is well-known for riding her three-wheeled scooter through Vail Village.”She’s such a nice lady,” veteran Mike Mathias said. “I’ve never heard a bad word about her.”Jump was a communications officer with the navy during World War II, stationed in Hawaii. It sounds like pretty good duty, but Jump’s job was crucial. Long before satellite communications, Jump and women like her were stationed around the world to receive and re-send radio messages.”Her job was to forward messages to the fleet,” Mathias said. “She knew it was important, and her job was to not make any mistakes.”Jump still doesn’t want to say much about the kinds of messages she received and forwarded.
“It was all classified, so I’ll just say I decoded and encoded messages,” she said.After the war, Jump and her husband Larry were co-founders of the Arapahoe Basin ski area.Jump hasn’t sought the spotlight, but a friend said she’s grateful for Monday’s party.”She’d have never dreamt of anything like this for her,” friend and fellow veteran Pat Hammon said. “It’s a nice way to say farewell, although we hope to see her in the summers.”Asked when the last time she’d been the guest of honor at a party, Jump thought a bit, then said “probably my wedding, or being inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame. It’s really great.”Monday’s party will also raise money for the Freedom Park Memorial, a planned tribute to military veterans, police, firefighters and ambulance crews.”That will be the only (memorial) like it in the country,” veteran Tom Kirk said. “This will be the only one that recognizes military veterans and emergency service people.”The memorial is already under construction alongside the pond in Edwards’ Freedom Park. The problem getting it completed is money. All the proceeds from Monday’s dance go to the Freedom Park project. But, Hammon said, project supporters need to find a benefactor who can write one or two good-sized checks.
“We’ve been raising a lot through local people,” Hammon said. “But those are small totals compared to what we need.”What’s needed is about $2 million. Hammon said. Freedom Park supporters are talking to some possible big donors, Hammon said, but none of them are ready to write a big check yet.”We’re trying to pitch it as an educational tool,” Hammon said. “This would be teaching people about the military and emergency responders.”Until a big donor comes aboard, the veterans keep raising money a few dollars at a time.Monday’s event could bring in a few thousand dollars, and should be a pretty good time.In addition to music from the Tony Gulizia Trio, a ballroom dance instructor will help people learn a few basic steps early in the evening. “It should be a lot of fun,” Mathias said. “We’ll have quite a group of people there.”Staff Writer Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO