Life was Wetherell’s greatest adventure
October 11, 2014
EAGLE COUNTY — Jarod Wetherell was fond of saying, "Life is my employer." He worked and played hard for his boss.
Wetherell, of Avon, died during his descent from the summit of North Maroon Peak. He was 37.
He was hiking with his friend David Richardson, of Vail. Richardson survived and is in Aspen Valley Hospital.
Jarod and David hiked Holy Cross earlier this year, camping near a lake during a "supermoon." They summited at 2 a.m. because it was so bright.
“He was serious about leaving the world a better place. Lots of people say they want to do good. He wanted to do good, and he actually did it.”
Friend and neighbor of Wetherell’s
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It was such an amazing experience that friends say Wetherell wanted to squeeze in one more epic hike.
They were at the summit of the Maroon Bells around 1 p.m. on Wednesday when friends received a text message. Only one made it down alive.
Jarod's friends listened to police scanners, hoping rescuers could find him. They did, but not the way they'd hoped.
A Grand Adventurer
Wetherell was originally from Matunuck, Rhode Island, and studied at the University of Rhode Island. Friends said he considered himself a citizen of Red Sox Nation. He moved to Vail a year ago.
"He was just starting to explore his new home. It was because he loved living here that he went on these grand adventures," said Jenny Tucker, one of Wetherell's many friends.
Bobby L'Heureux met Jarod in Boston, and when Bobby and a buddy moved to Vail, Jarod was a regular visitor. Finally about a year ago, he followed Horace Greeley's best advice, "Go West, young man," and left the East Coast for the Rocky Mountains.
"He moved here with a mission to live life every day, and that's what he did," L'Heureux said. "He enjoyed every day of his work and every day of his life."
Jarod had two beautiful boxers, Roxie and Ozzie.
Some of Jarod's friends are taking care of the dogs, and the dogs seem to know.
"It's heart wrenching," Tucker said.
After Tucker got the news she sat on the huge stone patio Jarod built for her and her family, thinking about how they met. Some friendships are set in stone.
Jarod had been on a road trip and had the habit of taking Roxie and Ozzie everywhere he went. He'd flatten the back seat of his car and make them a bed for the ride.
Tucker was the proud mother of a bouncing baby boy, and Roxie and Ozzie were still wound up from the trip, barking enough to keep the baby awake.
Tucker sent her boyfriend next door to have a word with Jarod. It turns out the words were pleasant and they've been friends ever since.
Tucker's son was crawling and toddling around the three months Jarod was working on the patio, and the lad would toddle over to visit Jarod. The boy wanted to be outside playing, which worked out well, because so did Jarod.
Lots of people say they want to do good, to help people. Jarod did it.
"He was serious about leaving the world a better place," Tucker said. "Lots of people say they want to do good. He wanted to do good, and he actually did it."
He always wanted to talk. OK, sometimes he wanted to talk. Unlike people who just like the sound of their own voice, Jarod also liked to listen.
Jarod was easy to know and his passion was infectious, his friends said. He'd talk your ear off about service work, or his service trip to Guatemala, or the adventure he had just taken or was about to take.
Jarod's family was warm and stayed connected, friends said.
"He truly touches people. He still has that child's smile that lights up other people when they see it," L'Heureux said. "He's genuine. A lot of people judge other people, and he wasn't like that."
Randy Wyrick can be reached at (970) 748-2935 and rwyrick@vail daily.com.
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