Summit County Rescue Group receives $44K donation from fundraiser
The Summit County Rescue Group treated employees of Specialty Sports Ventures to a day of backcountry skiing and boarding on April 17 to show its appreciation for the company’s annual Adopt-a-Cause fundraiser that netted a record $44,603 in donations for the local, all-volunteer, nonprofit backcountry rescue group.
“The dedication showed by the stores’ employees was exceptional and took a lot of time and effort,” said Summit County Rescue Group team member Martin Allen. “We felt that recognizing their efforts would go a long way to showing our appreciation for such hard work and enthusiasm.”
Specialty Sports Ventures was launched in 1994 by the Gart family and acquired in 2010 by Vail Resorts. Today, the company consists of more than 150 ski, golf, bike and fly-fishing retail stores based in Colorado resort towns — including Mountain Sports Outlet, Keystone Sports and Breckenridge Sports in Summit County — in addition to locations along the Front Range, in South Lake Tahoe and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Adopt-a-Cause fundraiser took place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. During that time, employees asked customers to round up their checkout totals to the nearest dollar to benefit Summit County Rescue Group.
Allen also coordinated with local retailers to have rescue vehicles and team members present at the stores on weekends and holidays. Team members had the opportunity to inform customers about the group’s mission and to answer questions about how it operates as a nonprofit.
Specialty Sports Ventures provides the icing on the cake, as it also annually contributes matching funds of 50 cents on every dollar raised.
The fundraiser is unique because regional employees of Specialty Sports Ventures get to choose the beneficiary each year. Joe Larkin, regional manager of Vail Resorts Retail for Summit County, said given the connection between the retail market Specialty Sports Ventures focuses on and the work done by Summit County Rescue Group, it only seemed natural the nonprofit should benefit from the fundraiser.
“Our final Adopt-a-Cause selection is made by a vote of our store managers and Summit County Rescue Group is an organization our folks are passionate about,” Larkin said. “We have an enormous appreciation for the contribution these volunteers make to our local community and we’re glad to be able to support their efforts through our Adopt-a-Cause program.”
Summit County Rescue Group has benefited from the program every year since 2007.
The $46,000 raised this year greatly exceeded donations the rescue group received in the past, including about $22,500 in 2013 and about $27,000 in 2012. Since 2007 Specialty Sports Ventures has raised more than $220,000 for Summit County Rescue Group.
Those donations have allowed the rescue group to purchase its primary response vehicle, Rescue 1; the mission coordinator’s on-call vehicle, Rescue 2; as well as a heated snowmobile trailer, radios and miscellaneous technical equipment, said Charles Pitman, public information officer for Summit County Rescue Group.
“Our newer members might come to the conclusion that all search-and-rescue teams are this well-funded, but quite the contrary, most are not,” Pitman said. “Many survive on a shoestring budget, but then again Summit County Rescue Group is one of the busiest in the state, and probably the country.
“Specialty Sports Ventures’ donations really do help keep us in the top tier of search and rescue teams and that translates into saving lives.”
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