This just in from Mike Marolt:
Dear WildSnow readers,
Last spring, I had the unfortunate experience of getting a call to “get out to the hospital, ……was in an accident and they are not sure he will make it…..”. A life-long buddy, Jeff Reese, and his wife Susan were driving home from a Rockies game. Three minutes from their home, they were hit head-on by a drunk driver. Susan was flown to another hospital, but to see Jeff lying there in a coma was a sobering experience on many levels. Both would remain in a bad way for the majority of the summer.
Slowly, both would recover, and occasionally we would be met with the news that “today Jeff grabbed my hand”, or “Susan smiled.” Now, Jeff and Susan have pulled through — somewhat. Jeff, a former wartime helicopter pilot, can barely walk without a cane, speaks with a heavy speech impediment, and in his words, is not quite ready to work his current job as an accountant because “my mind is detached, out there trying to get back in my head.” Susan, a former operating room nurse, broke nearly every major bone in her body, and after countless surgeries on the blade side of the operating room, is getting back to normal, but still not recovered enough to get back to work. Medical bills have piled up, and insurance has long since run to its maximum. Financially, Jeff and Susan are in need of help.
I am coming to the ski community to ask for your help. On Thursday January 22nd, 7:30 at the Wheeler Opera House (Aspen), I am offering a benefit screening of a new film, Skiing Everest, that Les Guthman and I produced on high altitude skiing. Les is a magnificent story teller, and after writing the script for this theatrical documentary film, he and I co-produced the film together. In Men’s Journal’s reader’s poll of the top 20 greatest adventure films, Les has the honor of being on the list for three different films. So it was a super experience working with him, and I am extremely pleased with the results (which cover the gamut of skiing on the world’s high peaks, including historical film footage). The show is free but we are asking for donations to go towards the cause.
The day after I saw Jeff in the hospital, I set off to LA to start working on this project. I vowed to myself that if he and Susan pulled through, I would offer the first screening as a benefit for what I anticipated would be financial devastation. That time is now.
In a year where we have experienced the worst so many times, this story has a happy ending. Please join me in welcoming Jeff and Susan back to life as it was, and understand that there but for the grace of God go I. This could have happened to anyone.