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Holding out a helping hand to our Huskies harriers, Haiti hurricane victims

Vail Valley youth well-served and serving well around the world and at Main Street Grill

November 8, 2017, 10:57 am
Road to Fond Blanc

Members of Eagle River Presbyterian Church and the Battle Mountain cross-country team hiking in on the road to Fond Blanc, Haiti, that washed out during Hurricane Irma.

Much more uplifting day after Election Day in the Vail Valley this year than last, and even better there’s fresh snow on the ground in Eagle-Vail — right at the base of Beaver Creek — which opens for the 2017-18 ski season two weeks from today and features World Cup ski racing just a couple of short weeks after that on Dec. 1-3.

I’m also celebrating the passage of Eagle County’s Ballot Issue 1A to tax recreational marijuana and fund badly needed mental health services in the Vail Valley, as well as the passage of the Vail Recreation District’s Issue A to increase the mill levy and fund operational and facility costs for all the incredible VRD programs.

The O Zone by David O. Williams

The O. Zone
by David O. Williams

Both votes send a strong signal that the Vail area and surrounding Eagle County strongly support our youth by making sure both their physical and mental well-being is well-funded. Speaking of, I have an ask on a couple of fronts regarding Vail Valley youth.

First, if you’re not doing anything special for dinner tonight, please stop by the Main Street Grill in Edwards for the Vail Valley Running Club fundraiser to help pay for Battle Mountain Huskies varsity cross-country runners who will be headed down to Casa Grande, Arizona, for the Nike Cross Regionals on Nov. 18.

These incredible runners will be your actual waiters and waitresses, and proceeds will help fund the annual trip, where some of girls (top state 4A runner Elizabeth Constien leaps to mind) have a very real shot at qualifying for the Nike national championships in Oregon.

You can meet the amazing, back-to-back state champion Battle Mountain cross-country girls (and buy the very cool “Back to Back” t-shirts), as well as some pretty stellar boys who turned in strong results throughout the season as well. If you can’t make it but still want to give, please click here.

The event starts at 5 p.m. at the fantastic local’s favorite Main Street Grill (thanks again for hosting us!) and lasts until 9:30 p.m., including a silent auction with some great merchandise and services (get one of these Huskies to babysit or shovel snow … their endurance is legendary). Go to the team’s Facebook page for more details, and please come out and support this great cause. These kids embody all that is good about the athletic environment of the Vail Valley, and they’re a credit to their school, principal and coach, Rob Parish.

On another valley youth front, my boys Nick and Max — both Battle Mountain cross-country runners this season and now working hard on the ski team — joined the Eagle River Presbyterian Church on a mission trip to Haiti this past July, working on the construction of a recreation center at an orphanage in Fond Blanc (think bucket brigade in searing tropical heat to pour a concrete floor).

And while that concrete job held up and provided those kids a safe space during Hurricane Irma, the very sketchy road into the orphanage in Fond Blanc didn’t hold up so well, and the overarching missionary group that set up the trip is now trying to raise part of the $90,000 to repair the road. Until then, there’s no other way in except by foot, motorbike or donkey. Imagine getting all of your supplies that way.

Fellow Huskies cross-country runner Cameron Jarnot, who was also on the trip, said recently at a church event to debrief the congregation on the Haiti trip that she was happy thinking of the orphans with their new structurally sound and dry roof to gather under during Irma. There is no more direct way of giving and making a difference in the world than that, and I’ve been struggling with how best to give to hurricane victims.

Just as I’m more inclined to give to Puerto Rico, which has not had the level of federal support seen in Florida and Texas, I’m also more inclined to give directly to folks in Haiti — one of the hardest hit nations in recent years, ravaged by both hurricanes and earthquakes. I hope you feel the same way.

Click here for more information on the road to Fond Blanc and ways to share and give, and then hopefully I’ll see you tonight at the Main Street Grill. Thanks again, Vail Valley, for your incredible generosity.





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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington),, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of and

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