Vail Daily column: The origins of hope |

Vail Daily column: The origins of hope

In 1996, a young wife and mother was sick. She had been diagnosed with cancer. Her name was Cindy Nash. She and her husband, Curt, were well known and well loved in our community. They had a beautiful toddler named Montana.

When her friends learned that she was ill, a group quickly came together. Although modern medicine promised Cindy little, we were determined to help in any way we could. And so we got to work.

On little more than hope and a prayer, I contacted the national touring company of “Miss Saigon,” who I knew was coming to Denver soon. I was put in touch with an angel-voiced and angel-hearted singer and dancer named General MacArthur Hamrick who has remained a cherished friend of almost 20 years. General agreed to be our cast liaison. In short, the cast said “yes”; they would come up to Vail and perform for us.

It was then our partnership with Vail Resorts began.


We arranged for transportation, lodging, ski passes, spa treatments and dining for a cast and crew of 60. We collected 400 silent auction items. In the days before the VCPA was built, we arranged for a variety show at the old Battle Mountain High School auditorium. Every last person we contacted was gracious and helpful. Everyone said “yes.” Every last thing — from lodging to advertising — was given from the heart for free.

The variety show sold out. The silent auction sold out. The night was simply magic. Sadly, Cindy was too ill to attend, but her family came, her niece spoke on her behalf and we recorded the show for her.

Although we couldn’t save Cindy, we think we still offered something special. We gave her the gift of time with her family. We showed her the love of a community. We helped ease the family’s financial burden. We added to her store of faith and hope.

Since Cindy’s passing, Montana has grown into a beautiful and special young woman, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund has awarded more than 1,300 grants to members of our community, and more than $7 million has gone to help ease our neighbor’s burdens.


Recently, we have come full circle. One of our latest grantees is a young wife and mother with a beautiful young child.

We are blessed to be the Vail Resorts Retail EpicPromise recipient this year. With our partner’s help, and with the help of the community we call home, we hope to continue to reach out and help our friends reach up.

The VVCF’s logo is a heart rising over the mountains, which we think is apt. It is, after all, all about our mountain family. And all about heart.

Thank you all for helping us help.

With all blessings for the New Year.

Rohn K. Robbins is the chair and founder of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. For more information about the EpicPromise Holiday Giving Campaign and how you can help, visit

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