Heroes are Hard to Find

There are many of us that do not have the time to volunteer or we just choose not to (and there is nothing wrong with that).  Day to day life can be a grind without having to take on more.  Enough said.

I was talking to a a friend of mine the other day and he is an individual that does give up some of his time.  He volunteers for an organization he believes makes a difference.  Before I let him tell you why he does what he does, let me give you a little background about him.

His name is Garo Chalain and he is an owner of a condominium at the Antlers.  He is from Clinton, Iowa so you know he has that mid-west innocence and country style about him (not really, but I told him that’s what I would say if anyone asked).

He worked hard for the degrees and certifications that follow his name when written professionally.  His success as an oral surgeon was abruptly halted in 2008 after a motor cycle accident while he was doing what he loved, “just messin’ around in the Vail Valley”.

Unable to practice dentistry in the office he established, he went back to school and received his certification to practice law in Colorado.

I asked him after all his hard work, what he does now for entertainment and pleasure.  “Still messin’ around in the Valley but now I have Val to cook for and all the friends that want to join us.”  (Garo has never been married and Val is the bride to be.  They will be tying the knot in September right here at the Antlers.)

The other question I asked was about his work with Wellspring as a volunteer and what satisfaction it brought.  This was his response and I encourage you to watch the video on the web-site.  Garo is the one being interviewed.)

 

Give me some short summary of why you volunteer every week at Wellspring Community (satisfaction).

Approximately a year and half ago the 12 year old son of one of our endodontist partners approached me and said “I’m not making a difference in this world.”  Initially, I took pause, and thought “you know,  I’m  40 years your senior and I’m not making a difference either.”   Young Will Holtzmann and I then actively sought out a way to make a difference. We landed at the doorstep of Wellspring Community. Wellspring is a community of developmentally disabled adults who are empowered to maximize their special skills and personalities as productive members of society.

Wellspring Community offers some very innovative programs to adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities – like Down Syndrome, Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and even folks with traumatic brain injury.  They operate Best Buddies Bakery where they train these adults in every aspect of baking and packaging, selling their products nationally – and they have plans to start other business enterprises to give these individuals the opportunity to enjoy meaningful, productive work.  In addition to this, they offer on-going education in all kind s of life skills and enrichment activities, such as Self-defense, Art, Dance, Sign Language, Science, Culture and much more.  This summer participants are learning to grow all kinds of vegetables and herbs in a community garden.  A professional vocal coach directs the Wellspring Wonders Choir, giving these adults the thrill of enjoying music and performing before audiences.  On weekends, Club 21 gives adults with special needs a place to socialize with friends in a safe, supervised and structured setting; and it gives their parents a time of respite.

We are currently working on a residential program so that our participants will have a place to live when their parents can longer care for them.

Until I got involved, I had no idea how desperately these services were needed.  The state of Colorado ranks among the lowest in the nation (47th – 48th) in funding services for individuals with developmental disabilities and the waiting list for services is thousands of people deep.   Wellspring is giving hope to these folks and their families – and we need more partners to advance our mission………

Please go to the website http://wellspringcommunityonline.org/.

One of the things that makes him a nice guy is the fact that he inspires you and doesn’t even know he’s doing it.  And for all the years I’ve known him, never once have I heard him complain about “the accident”.

Greg

 

Jazz @ Vail Square Offers High-Energy Jazz and Blues

Have you enjoyed Jazz at Vail Square yet this summer? There is still time! Today’s performance is the perfect kick off to the Pro Challenge coming through Vail tomorrow.

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers Perform Thursday at Jazz @ Vail Square

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers Perform Thursday at Jazz @ Vail Square

Today’s performance promises to be a toe-tingling time with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers.

Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers heat up the Jazz Tent with high-energy jazz and blues that will make anyone and everyone’s body itch to swing. Those who are so inclined are welcomed to take their moves to an open dance floor below the stage.

Hailing from California, Lavay Smith and her band have become a highly revered staple of the San Francisco jazz scene. Of their many awards and accolades, they earned the San Francisco Chronicle’s reader’s choice poll for best band. Nationally, they have been heralded by everyone from actor Dan Akroyd to Bill Clinton for their talent and feel-good dynamic.

The Seattle Times have deemed them “the best thing to come out of the jump/swing revival … the gal can sing her tail off,” and the Boston Globe has commented that the band is  “a notable exception to the retro-swing norm. The saucy vocalist and her crew actually know the difference between jump music and bland R&B in corny suits.”

Snapping her fingers and shaking her hips, Smith belts out her very own, “ruby red lip” and “daddy”-filled  tunes and also adds a fresh level of richness to numbers by such icons as Billie Holiday and Bessie Smith.

When asked in a recent podcast about how enjoyable it must be to woo younger generations into the realm of classic jazz and swing, Smith said, “What I really love is when an old guy who may not be a musician comes to the show and loves the music and says, ‘they’re playing my music. You guys are doing it right,’”

The seven-piece Skillet Lickers in and of themselves are star-studded. Founded and led by pianist Chris Siebert, who writes most of the band’s original arrangements, every Skillet Licker (Mike Olmos, Danny Armstrong, Jules Broussard, Robert Stewart, Nat Johnson and Howard Wiley) has an A-list track record of Lincoln Jazz Center performances and recordings with everyone from Wynton Marsalis to Qunicy Jones.

“One thing we’ve set out to do in this band is to have some of the power of a big band but the looseness of a small band,” Siebert said. “To play with this horn section, I think, man if I wasn’t playing with them tonight, I’d be paying to see them. I get to play with my heroes and listen to them solo. How did I get to be so lucky?”

What: Jazz @ Vail Square with Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers

When: 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22

Where: The weatherproof Jazz Tent at The Arrabelle in Lionshead

Tickets: Preferred seats are $20 in advance, $25 day of show and general admission is FREE on a first-come basis. Visit vailjazz.org.

 

Going, Going, Gone

A while back I posted some pictures of the “drunken tree” that sits just behind the Antlers on Gore Creek.

It’s been leaning for years and this summer the tired old fella finally decided it has had enough.  These pictures were taken in a 3 week time span.

GOING………..

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GOING………

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GONE………….

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Natures way of providing us with a new public beach.

Greg