Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Oh, the places you’ll go with organizations and people in this valley |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Oh, the places you’ll go with organizations and people in this valley

Shawn Isbell
Special to the Daily
Shawn Isbell
Special to the Daily

I am a local bar manager who has lived in the valley for eight years and never imagined going through a medical crisis. Yet in the beginning of October 2019, I experienced an unforeseen accident that resulted in fracturing my heel in seven places. Like so many other people in our community, I found myself uninsured and in need of surgery due to a debilitating injury. 

As I faced the trepidation of a prolonged inability to work and surmounting medical bills, I began exploring community outreach programs and communicating with other active locals who had sustained similar injuries. On Nov. 1, I underwent reconstructive heel surgery made possible by the support and grace of the Eagle County community. The following day, I found myself unable to work and in uncertain and unsettling circumstances. It was almost the very next day as I remember it that the beauty of our community began to shine more than it already had and I was receiving an outpouring of support from so many of my fellow Vail Valley residents.

Of the people who lent me their time, support and guidance, the two that stand out the most were John-Ryan Lockman and Vail Town Councilmember Kevin Foley. I cannot thank Foley enough for devoting his time, wisdom, and thoughtful inspiration, as well as connecting me with Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation, a local organization that stepped in to help by paying my rent when I could not. For that, I am forever grateful. 

During this difficult time, I was also made aware of and put in contact with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Without this organization’s financial support, I would not have had the means to pay for both my day-to-day and month-to-month bills and living expenses during this dire time of need. I was unable to work and would not have been able to continue to live in this amazing valley that I love so much were it not for the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and the wonderful people that make up their organization.

Additionally, with the help and guidance of Eagle County Health and Human Serves, it was then that I discovered the availability of and obtained Temporary Emergency Federal Medicaid, allowing me to receive all of my medical/surgical needs at a near zero out-of-pocket cost, which was something I had not known was even possible beforehand.

It is because of organizations like the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and Swift Eagle Charitable Foundation, in concert with the thoughtful community leadership that comes from people like John-Ryan Lockman and Kevin Foley, that my personal experience makes the Vail Valley a delightedly happy place to live and where I’m grateful to continue to call my home. 

Shawn Isbell is a Vail Valley Charitable Fund grant recipient. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at

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