Letter: Shelly Jarnot deserves our thanks
My heart is breaking today. One of my community’s leaders has been attacked. Shelly Jarnot has tirelessly dedicated herself to our most vulnerable, and she has worked harder and contributed more time to help the children of our community than anyone I know — and I know some seriously dedicated people.
I have known Jarnot for many years and served beside her on the Board of Education. She has served on the board of Walking Mountains, the Board of the Education Foundation of Eagle County, she is a tutor to at-risk students, she has volunteered for hundreds of events, fundraisers, classrooms, and community events. I have watched her put herself on the line for those who needed defending and those who needed a voice. I have seen her compassion, intellect, strength, curiosity and insight, all at work for the betterment of our community. Sometimes we agreed and sometimes we argued — and when we argued I always learned something new and thoughtful. I never doubted her dedication to the children of this community.
Theodore Roosevelt said, “It is not the critic who counts … the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena.” Jarnot committed all this time, all her heart, contributed her incredible intelligence, and put herself in the “arena” in the service of our community and specifically in the service of the children of this community.
She has dedicated herself to the better education of all children. She made the courageous choice to run for a public office and be an elected official. We all know this is difficult, but until you have experienced being stopped in the grocery store to hear someone’s opinion on the latest school calendar change, or being lectured while in line at the bank about a school expense, or sat in front of more than 50 angry people, you have to recognize that you have not been courageous enough to put yourself in the “arena.”
I served on the school board for eight years, like Jarnot has, and I can tell you there is no way to say all the right things for eight years. In the eight years I served, I heard many come to public comment with thoughtful, relevant, informed information and feedback. But I will say this, if you are not in the “arena” doing the work, helping others, giving of yourselves for others, it is not the critic who counts — and your attacks and criticisms have no merit.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
We need to thank and respect those who are willing to get into the arena — those willing to put in the time and effort and be part of the solution to the challenges we face. I hope you will join me in thanking Jarnot for all that she has done and all that she has accomplished for our community.