The Longevity Project: Summit County’s super seniors | SummitDaily.com

The Longevity Project: Summit County’s super seniors

Kent Willoughby
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Kent Willoughby
Silverthorne
81 years old

I am nominating my dad, Kent Willoughby, because he is nothing short of amazing! He had a career in South Louisiana and then retired to Colorado. My father was always an athlete, having played college football at Northwestern State University, and was also on the track team. Once married, he took up fishing with gusto and started running again. He ran countless marathons, including the Pike’s Peak Marathon. He took up skiing along the way and excelled at that as well, competing in downhill races after his retirement. He took at part-time job working as a ski teacher in Summit County and taught a number of children to ski. He also trained a number of children who competed in downhill racing. Also after retirement, he began mountain climbing, and has traveled all over Colorado, the United States and the world summiting many peaks. He has summited the highest peaks in all but one state, and has summitted many of the highest peaks in the world. He has summited all of the 14ers in Colorado once. When he turned 80 last year, he decided to do a second round of summiting all the 14ers in Colorado. He did half of them last season, and he is on track to complete the rest of them this season. During the winter months, Kent and his partner, Doris, get up at 4 a.m. every day to skin up Arapahoe Basin. He does consecutive days of skinning, not missing a day for any reason until his goal is met. He adds one day of skinning each year. Last year, he skinned up 135 consecutive days, and this year, he skinned up 136 consecutive days. He says it keeps him young and happy and healthy. I don’t know anyone with more drive, determination or competitiveness than my dad. He really is an inspiration that your Golden Years can be fun, healthy and happy. He says he has loved every part of his life more than the last, and he truly loves this age! He inspires me to be better and healthier so that I can be as happy as he is when I am his age! I hereby nominate Kent Willoughby as my Favorite Senior!

— Nominated by Suzanne Miller

Kent is a true role model!

— Nominated by Terry Petrusky

I dont know too many people over the age of 80 who:

A. are on their second go-around of climbing all of Colorado’s 14ers. Kent, and his companion, Doris, first completed them before he turned 80, and now wants to do it again after age 80. He is currently 81.  He has already completed 22 of the 14ers – for the second time.

B. have been skinning up Summit County ski resort for about the past 10 to 12 years, adding one extra day each year. They arrive at 4 or 5 a.m. and are finished before resort opens for skiers.  

I am his son-in-law and frankly, just typing that exhausted me.  I have no idea how he does this.  They also go hiking every day in summer all over Colorado and Utah.  

It impresses the hell out of me at least. 

— Nominated by Bob Miller

Kent was born on March 26, 1938. Kent is on his second quest to do all the 14ers in Colorado. The second quest started last year when he turned 80 and to this point, he has finished 22 14ers along with the collegiate peaks, part of his quest to do all 54 of the 14ers! Kent is also quite a mountaineer, skinning up A Basin 136 straight days  last year. Kent is also a familiar face at the rec. center where he works out at least three times a week, every week! For these reasons, I would like to nominate Kent as one of the more amazing seniors in the area!

­— Nominated by James Wolyniec

Kent is an amazing athlete at 80+ and is still outperforming most young people. As a skier and climber, Kent actively promotes an active, healthy lifestyle. Kent is a longtime resident of Breckinridge and Silverthorne.

­­— Nominated by Philip Bonner

Kent is 81 years old. He skinned up Arapahoe Basin Ski Area 136 consecutive days last year. Kent goes to the Silverthorne Recreation Center approximately three times a week to work out. Kent continues to summit Colorado’s 14,000-foot-plus mountains. On bad weather days or between summits days, he walks the neighborhood doing approximately 5 miles.

Kent is a former college football player. He has maintained being an athlete all his life. Kent lives a healthy lifestyle.  He does not smoke or drink.  He eats healthy. He gets plenty of exercise. Kent should definitely be considered for the Longevity Project.

— Nominated by Doris Spencer

I am seconding the nomination of Kent, whom I have known for 25 years. I have hiked, biked and skied with him for many of those years. As was reported by others who have nominated him, Kent is still extraordinarily active climbing 14ers in summer and skinning up A-Basin daily during the winter.

— Nominated by Emile Rainold

Suzanne Greene
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Suzanne Greene
Silverthorne
83 years old

Sue Greene is a remarkable octogenarian at 83. The above photo is from a trip in April 2019 to Sichuan, China. Sue endeavors to visit places around the entire Arctic Circle and so far has completed 3 trips to various areas. More trips are in the planning stage.

Knee replacement surgery in May 2019 has not stopped Sue from hiking, biking, and kayaking this summer. Winter finds Sue at A-Basin as an instructor and coordinator/instructor of Legendary Ladies. Exercise classes and Yoga are included in her weekly schedule. 

In addition, Sue proudly grows vegetables in the little green house on her deck where she lives at 9,600 feet. She is an excellent cook.

Sue volunteers at Summit High School as a mentor for students preparing for college in the Pre-Collegiate program.  Sue has been on the Board of Summit Public Radio & TV for 20 years, serving as Board President for 13. She has been a member of the Lake Dillon Theater Play Club for more than  5 years.

Most important of all, Sue has been a faithful friend to many people in Summit County and beyond.

— Nominated by Phyllis Raynor

Sue Green continues to be very active in the community. She participates in yoga, kayaks on the lake, and performs regular work out routines. She is a ski instructor at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and skis all winter. She just had a total knee arthroplasty and continues to participate in her active lifestyle.

— Nominated by Alison Rybak

Sue’s been my neighbor for 22 years having lived in the county for many more years. She just had a knee replaced 12 weeks ago, and today headed out for a five mile bike ride. She still teaches skiing at A-Basin after a long teaching career at Keystone. At 83, she kayaks, hikes bikes, skis — you name it, she does it. Living at 9,600 feet in Wildernest, with three levels to her house, she gets plenty of physical and aerobic exercise.

— Nominated by Cheryl Breeman

Trygve Berge
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Trygve Berge
Breckenridge
87 years old

Trygve needs no introduction. You have to be living under a rock to not know about this former Olympian, founder of Breckenridge Ski Resort, and Skier Hall of Fame member.  I am nominating him because I see his longevity as a goal we should all hope to attain. It would help us all to ask him about the literal steps he takes — I hike with him regularly — to keep himself healthy and limber.

­— Nominated by P. Walker

Still skis and works.

— Nominated by Inger Hudson

Maesel R. Yelenick
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Maesel R. Yelenick
Breckenridge and Denver
87 years old

Our amazing mom, Maesel Reed Yelenick, splits her time between Breckenridge (where she hikes all summer and snowshoes and cross-country skis all winter, and plays excellent Scrabble at the Frisco Senior Center) and Denver. Maesel eats consciously and healthfully; exercises daily; is kind, generous, optimistic, and compassionate; loves nature (including the birds and chipmunks she daily feeds on the back deck); and is called, by her five children and her host of friends, “the Amazing Maes.” Meet her yourself; you’ll be blown away.  I am her eldest daughter.

— Nominated by Mary Yelenick

Bill Bergman
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Bill Bergman
Keystone
95 years old

Bill Bergman is an icon in Summit County. He was the co-founder of Keystone Ski Area and continues be a very active 95-year-old legend. Bill still golfs several times a week, and from what I understand he still shows some of that brilliance from when he was on the pro golfing circuit so many years ago. Always very warm and friendly, he is someone I always enjoy talking to. Bill was born in Fort Madison, Iowa, in March 1924. He received his undergrad and law degrees from the University of Iowa. 

— Nominated by Debra Pitman

I believe that when you look at the longevity of an individual, you need to look not only at their age but their contribution. Bill, along with Max Dercum, are responsible for Keystone existing and becoming one of the premier ski and recreation destinations in the world. Bill wanted Keystone to be a family friendly, unpretentious location that the entire family could enjoy. That is still the case today. Bill skied into his 90s. But when you talk about Bill, you need to talk golf. He was a world-class amateur golfer in his younger years, competing globally in the U.S. and British Amateur more than 20 times and the Senior Amateur five times. Today, at age 95, he plays golf nearly every weekday and shoots below his age almost daily. He has a group called the Bergman Boys, composed of 70 and 80-somethings (and a few of us 60-somethings) that join him daily. He also walks and works out on a regular basis. Lastly, you have to talk about the man. You will never meet a person with more integrity, who always focuses on the best in people he meets. Throughout his life as an attorney, B-24 navigator in WWII, mountain lover, skier and golfer, he still remains committed to his family and friends. I look forward to celebrating his 100th birthday at his favorite place, the Keystone Ranch golf course. I know I speak for all the Bergman Boys when I say that I am very proud to call Bill Bergman my friend.

— Nominated by Kevin Stout

Jim Nichol
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Jim Nichol
Breckenridge
83 years old

I am nominating my dad because he is amazing. He still skis every winter and is constantly moving. He loves the mountains, the fresh air and the cool weather he finds in Colorado. My dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer five years ago. Two years later, he was back on the mountain skiing with me and my girls. He is doing amazing today. He’s a 5 percenter. He is active every day; that is why he is still alive and loving life.”

— Nominated by Jenne Maccagli

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Carol and Robert Faust
Frisco
82 and 86 years old, respectively

These two are active volunteers in our county, avid hikers in summer, and snowshoe enthusiasts in winter. Carol is a volunteer forest ranger with Friends of the Dillon Ranger District, and she works at the Senior Center on Wednesdays. While she is working, Bob can be found walking dogs at the animal shelter many days of the week. Together, they help run Monday night dinners at the Senior Center, lead senior hikes throughout the summer and volunteer for town activities, beer festivals, etc. If a volunteer is needed, they are always ready to pitch in.

— Nominated by Patricia Kopystianskyj

Bob Faust is a inspiration to everyone. He does a tremendous amount of volunteering, such as being a department chair at the senior annual rummage sale, helping set up and clean up for every Monday night dinner at the Senior Center, walking dogs for the animal shelter, working at Oktoberfest in Breckenridge and various other activities. Bob also hikes with a senior group every week. Bob is a very energetic person for being 86 years old.

— Nominated by Art Kalbach

I would like to nominate Carol because she is amazing. Carol leads the hiking group all summer called The Heard of Turtles. She is also in charge of the Christmas department in the Senior Center’s annual rummage sale. Carol is the first to volunteer for special events and can be seen at the margarita tent for the Town of Frisco barbecue and pouring beer for the Oktoberfest in Breckenridge. Carol plays dominoes at the Senior Center, and she also volunteers at the front desk and Monday night dinners at the Senior Center, as well.”

— Nominated by DeAnn Quintana

Hans Wurster
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Hans Wurster
Breckenridge
83 years old

Hans has been a major contributing member of Summit County. He’s been on the board of Breckenridge music festival and The Summit Foundation. He is a member of Frisco Rowing Center and races competitively in the U.S. and abroad. He is on the masters Nordic ski team and also still competes. He has made some major contributions to the community over the years.

— Nominated by Joanne Stolen

Hans is very involved in local nonprofit work and support. He sat on the board at The Summit Foundation, currently sits on the Breck Music Board and gives a ton back to his community. Hans can be seen out on the lake every day in the summer at 6 a.m. rowing with his wife, MJ. In the winter, you’ll see him out skiing with the Breck Music musicians or competing in Nordic competitions. His son also owns Unity snowboards in Silverthorne. Hans does a lot of behind the scenes support in our community and is a most generous man.

— Nominated by H. Benson

Bob French
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Bob French
Breckenridge
87 years old

He is one of the very last of his era — still standing! He goes to the Care Clinic every day where he volunteers — caring for our community. He’s climbed nearly every mountain and those he hasn’t he’s certainly in the know of those who have. Bob served as Summit County Commissioner for eight years, practiced law before then and has brought good sense, humor and a charming East Coast flair to our community.”

— Nominated by Erin McGinnis

Andy Searls
Frisco
83 years old

Her 80th birthday gift from her family was new skis. Andy’s work for Summit Aging in Place has been an extraordinary endeavor. She delivers meals on wheels. She is kind to me when she beats me at the game of bridge.

— Nominated by Jane Jones

Andy is very active in the senior community, church and is the president of Staying in Summit, which aims to bring assisted living, and independent and 24-hour care to Summit County (she has been on this committee for 10 years, and it is finally getting momentum). Andy delivers Meals on Wheels, she is very caring and also takes care of her elderly son who has special needs. She also takes her dogs to the dog park in Breckenridge daily and is very active in the community.

— Nominated by Leah Baxter

Her work at St Johns, Summit Historical society, her unending pursuit of senior housing. Her involvement in the interfaith council. Her dedication to her special needs son. Her ongoing work at the senior center including serving on the board. Most of all the silent things that people don’t know about. Visiting sick and shut ins even incarcerated never giving away peoples people’s secrets but there to help them during hard times.

— Nominated by Sharon Smith

Woody Van Gundy
Frisco
60 years old

Great contributor to Frisco.

— Nominated by Susan Winningham

Gerry Huttrer
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Gerry Huttrer
Summit County
80 years old

Embodies all that is good in Summit County.

— Nominated by Cat Huttrer

Kent Montague
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Kent Montague
Breckenridge
80 years old

Kent is an enthusiastic skier who racked up an impressive 105 days this past season. He also enjoys biking, hiking, and Jeeping.

— Nominated by Roberta Dakan

Annette “Mickie” Parsons
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Annette ‘Mickie’ Parsons
Dillon
82 years old

Mickie is a retired OR nurse and perioperative consultant who has dedicated her free time to helping others. Her passion for volunteering and her extremely high intelligence, energy, enthusiasm and dedication is the reason for her nomination.

— Nominated by Vicki Hernandez

Barbara Swider
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Barbara Swider
Breckenridge
82 years old

I am nominating Barb because she is truly an active Summit County senior. She bikes, golfs, skis, hikes, camps (in a tent) and still works part time. She hangs with seniors her age as well as those that are years younger than her. She is fun, active and an inspiration to all.

— Nominated by Hilary Chu

Barbara moved to Breckenridge after her husband passed away, seeking a new adventure in her life. She was hired at Breckenridge Ski Resort selling tickets and then the payroll department for about seven years followed by 15 years as a night auditor at the Marriott. She went back at the ski area about nine years ago and still works one day a week in guest services.

Barbara is an avid skier, rides her bike, enjoys golf, camping (in a small one-person tent), hiking, traveling and spending time with her friends. She recently completed a road trip through Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. She has been to Costa Rica.  She is currently preparing to embark on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in October.

Barb stays busy as a community volunteer. She serves on her HOA board, is an active member at St. Mary’s Church and organizes the community dinner at St. John’s Church once a month. She volunteers for the Breck Film Fest, Domus Pacis, The Summit Foundation and Oktoberfest (and I’m sure we are leaving out a few of her volunteer activities).   

Barb, you inspire us all to stay active and enjoy life the way you do.

— Nominated by Terri Johnson

Bill Greene
Silverthorne
89 years old

I am nominating this senior because at age 89 1/2, he still bikes Vail Pass, Montezuma, Loveland on his road bike, hikes the Summit County peaks, skis five times a week, snowshoes and is active with many social groups, involved with family  and handles all his business affairs without any help.

— Nominated by Margaret Johnson

Bill Sanders
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Bill Sanders
Keystone
80 years old

I’m nominating him for the amazing lifestyle and range of activities that he still engages in all year long, from Alpine skiing, backcountry skiing, skinning and snowshoeing in the winter to road biking and mountain biking in the summer. Bill is also an avid square dancer and still travels around the country and the world. Perhaps most importantly, Bill is very active in Rotary of Summit County supporting a variety of fundraising and volunteer activities benefiting our community. Bill is an amazing man that is an inspiration to all of us “kids” in our 60s and 70s that do all of this stuff with him.

— Nominated by Chip Babbitt

Bill Sanders’ physical activities and community involvement is amazing. He lives and enjoys the active lifestyle of Summit County. During the winter months, he does downhill and cross-country skiing. Often, he is up early to skin up A-Basin, Copper Mountain or Keystone. The rest of the year finds him hiking, and road and mountain biking. Bill plays pickleball and square dances.

Bill belongs to the Summit County Rotary Club. He serves on several committees and has been a committee chairman a number of times. Bill is also a supporter of The Summit Foundation.

Bill is strong and healthy and owes it to exercise and physical activity, healthy eating and good friends. He enjoys giving back to support the community that supports and enriches our lives and makes healthy living possible.

— Nominated by Darlene Dietzler

Bill is a stalwart Rotarian and, when not outdoors, is an active dancer. In his mid-70s, he decides to learn bumps at Keystone. He often skins up at A-Basin or Keystone with his younger 60- to 78-year-old buddies. In summertime, he begs for challenges like biking the legs of the Copper Triangle or,just for the heck of it, doing Loveland Pass. I’m nominating this senior because of his ever ready bunny energy, happy personality and overall contributor to the community. He recruits others for volunteer projects for many organizations. I’ve never seen this person have a bad day or be anything but the utmost in politeness. Bill was a hoot learning to use Facebook at age 78. At 80, Bill has the best outlook on life. He remains curious and enjoys travel. Bill embodies all things good in Summit County, including being a regular on the dance floor at Dillon or other concerts, hawking car raffle or ice melt tickets for Rotary or saying “yes” to a quick bike ride around the lake. Active, healthy and a kick in the pants to be around, Bill should be considered everyone’s favorite senior!

— Nominated by Amy Simper

Boot Gordon
Silverthorne
95 years old

Boot is a man of many talents and is a living renaissance man. He flew fighter planes in WWII in Europe and the Pacific. He was a teacher, carpenter and ski instructor for years. He played hockey with the Breck team until recently. He underwent a hip replacement in 2018 and is back to being his own lively, active, creative and entertaining self.

Boot is a loving friend, father and grandfather. Boot continues to be an inspiration to all who know him.

— Nominated by Helen Barker

Dorothy Neary
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Dorothy Neary
Dillon Valley
94 years old

Dorothy has been a vibrant member of the community, working in the past on the Summit ambulance service, Frisco Medical Center and as owner/operator of the Recovery Room Upholstery shop. She is an active member of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church. She is known for her indomitable spirit and love of bicycles. She still rides her two or three-wheeled bicycle from time to time, while also walking, gardening and maintaining the house and yard. The Summit County and Our Lady of Peace community has embraced her and helped her thrive in her senior years. 

— Nominated by Barb Neary

Egon Gerson
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Egon Gerson
Silverthorne and Dillon
98 years old

I’m nominating him because he still works once a week at City Market and keeps his sense of humor even though he can no longer get out on the mountain to ski. For years, he was involved with the American Red Cross, Keystone Services and drove ambulances — all to assist the wonderful residence and visitors or Summit County.

— Nominated by Nancy Ronto

John Taylor
Frisco
82 years old

I participate in our local Nordic ski training group, the Summit Nordic Masters, which meets twice a week all winter long with a coach to help us improve our technique as well as conditioning for Nordic ski racing. John is a regular participant.  When it comes to classic skiing, John puts the youngsters in the group to shame, skiing harder and faster than the 50-, 60- and 70-year-olds, maybe even some 40-years-olds! He races regularly. He is one fit man among a group of other fit (but younger) seniors.

I also work with him at Keystone Nordic Center, where he is the ultimate fix-it man for any broken equipment, which seems to be a lost skill nowadays. He is always friendly, cheerful and helpful to everyone. 

He is an inspiration to the rest of us and deserves recognition!

— Nominated by Claire Carren

John is involved with the HOA of his place. He helps with U.S. Forest Service issues, goes to the Silverthorne Recreation Center several times a week and works at the Keystone Nordic Center, where he endlessly fixes broken gear. He races with an international group on Nordic skis and does yearly inventory and orders new gear for our racing skiers. He is the first one to say: How can I help?         

— Nominated by Jana Hlavaty

He’s an amazing man, not because he’s an active cross-country skier (age group winner American Birkenbeiner) but he is and has been active serving this community. He has served on numerous committees in regard to trails and open space along with the cross-country portion of Peninsula Master Plan. He’s a tireless volunteer. There is so much more that I don’t know. He definitely deserves consideration.

— Nominated by Jon Kreamelmeyer

John is a very active Summit senior. He skins up Keystone several mornings a week to train for cross-country skiing and participates in Summit Masters skiing clinics.

— Nominated by Maryjean Noland

John hikes and does not get lost on Buffalo Mountain. His wife supports him in all, and he supports her.

— Nominated by Micki Sawyer

Ken Gansmann
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Ken Gansmann
Silverthorne
81 years old

My husband, Ken Gansmann, just turned 81 years of age. We have been married 54+ years, have two sons, three grandchildren and one great-grandson — all living in Colorado. We have been living in Silverthorne since 2000 and plan to be here as long as we are able because we love this place.

Ken is a U.S. Army veteran and received an engineering degree from Southern Illinois University in 1965. He worked for Exxon for over 21 years and has owned his own Specialty Petroleum Products marketing company for over 30 years. He will be retiring from that business at the end of 2019. I will believe that when I see it. He is also a partner in The Mint Steakhouse (35 years) in Silverthorne and the 8th St. Steakhouse (30 years) in Steamboat Springs.

He played a very high level of baseball in college, semi-professional and the fourth Army team in the late ’50s and early ’60s. He still loves baseball and attending Rockies games with his season tickets.

He believes one should never retire from something but to something. We may grow older, but we need to keep our minds engaged because that, along with exercise, spending time with family, close friends and play, becomes a significant motivator as we age.

He has been a member of the Silverthorne Economic Development Advisory Committee for more than 15 years during which time a downtown Silverthorne was conceived, nurtured and is currently being born. He is chairman of the Silverthorne Arts Initiative. He has helped establish and fund scholarships for young people, donates to many Summit County charities, has been active in many Three Peaks and town of Silverthorne events and issues since moving here permanently in 2000. He loves golf, skiing, reading, exercise at the Silverthorne rec center, writing letters to editor for the Summit Daily News, tinkering and working in our yard and a lot of domestic and worldwide travel with me and our friends.

— Nominated by Jane Gansmann

Sigurd Rockne
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Sigurd Rockne
Breckenridge
86 years old

I am Sigurd’s daughter, and I am nominating him. He was the co-founder of Breckenridge Ski Resort with Trygve Berge in December 1961. Sigurd and Trygve owned the ski school together for the first 10 years of the ski area opening. Sigurd was also on the Norwegian ski team and for the 1956 Olympics, his bib number was one! He competed against Stein Eriksen in many races even though they were both on the Olympic team together. He and Stein remained close friends up until Stein’s death. Sigurd and Trygve can be seen together often in Breckenridge still today.  Sigurd doesn’t ski anymore but is a hard one to keep up with on the golf course. That his passion. He’ll drag anyone out onto the golf course, and he always has that infectious smile when he’s out there.

— Nominated by Signe Rockne-Stimson

Violet R. Effinger
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Violet R. Effinger
Copper Mountain
94 years old

Violet ran the post office for many years. She was an institution there. Everyone who met her would send post cards to her for years afterward. She is the most curious 94-year-old in the world. “Everyone has a story,” she says. She loves hearing the events that shape people’s lives. And people in turn love her genuine curiosity. She has four children of her own, but most residents of Copper became her adopted children, especially in the early days, when family was far away for most people, and phone calls were expensive. At 94, Violet remains sharp and inquisitive.

— Nominated Anthony Effinger

Walter Briney
Silverthorne
85 years old

I am nominating this senior because he still worked real hard up to just a few years ago and has volunteered and given his heart to Habitat for Gumanity and Restore.  He is a perfect gentleman and full of great stories and so positive. I’ve been doing his hair for some years now, and I always look forward to when Walter Briney has an appointment. He is a solid human being!

— Nominated by Janey Glover

Still very active as a volunteer. Revived the local Habitat for Humanity by singlehandedly taking over any responsibility that was open including operating the Restore six days a week, hiring its staff and establishing its processes. Also recruited a new board, trained as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration safety representative and the mortgage officer. He also was out sawing lumber and driving nails for our Playhouse Project. In his spare time, he takes care of the 40-acre property he lives on.

— Nominated by David Murray

John Lugo
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John Lugo
Breckenridge
86 years old

John still works full time (27 years) at the Baymont Hotel in Frisco as chief engineer. In his free time, he keeps busy traveling in his motorhome with his Can-Am motorcycle towed behind, making annual trips to Moab and Sturgis. John has been a private plane pilot for 70 years. During that time, he has flown almost anything with wings. I am constantly amazed by his endless energy and lust for life and knowledge.

— Nominated by Suzy Burr


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