Friday marks the 14th year of the annual Dwight Brill Celebration of Life dinner and silent auction. All proceeds of the event go toward the Dwight Brill Fund, which benefits Breckenridge Ski Resort employees in need of financial assistance due to medical issues.
Created in 2000, the fund stands in memory of longtime Breckenridge employee Dwight Brill. Brill battled abdominal cancer for years, during which time he received an outpouring of financial, logistical and emotional support from fellow employees and community members. Though he eventually succumbed to his illness, the support and goodwill that he received has been directed into his namesake fund.
The fund is not part of Vail Resorts, but is managed and funded by VR employees for VR employees. Since it started, the fund has raised more than $155,000 and assisted 82 employees with major crises. Another 300 employees have been assisted with $100 or less.
Tommy Banks, a Breckenridge Ski Resort employee, was personally assisted by the Dwight Brill Fund when an illness caused him to be hospitalized.
"The fund helped me with those bills that allowed me to bridge that financial gap between when my insurance really started to kick in," Banks said. "It's served a lot of people in a great time of need."
In addition to benefitting from the fund, Banks remembers Brill while he was alive.
"He was a great guy. He was super friendly, super personable and a very likable person. And he's missed," Banks said. "It's a great program, but it's great to remember the person, where it all came from and who he was and the battle that he fought, and the stuff that (his wife and the board) have done to keep that going and to keep that memory alive."
The Mexican-style dinner will be held at The Maggie Restaurant, at the base of Peak 9 in Breck. Entertainment will feature The Pine Beatles, a bluegrass band that recently appeared at the Keystone Winter Bluegrass Festival. Silent auction items have been donated from throughout the community.