IT'S THE PEOPLE (and my dog Vino)

Ted Hoff gives Vino a little love. 

Ted Hoff gives Vino a little love. 

This is the final Saturday night here in Aspen and I’m feeling a touch melancholy about leaving such a beautiful place for five weeks in peak season.

But a runner’s gotta do what a runner’s gotta do.

The last two months, and, yes, it has been just two months to the day that this plan was called a go, have seen an amazing number of people step up and do some amazing things to help us along.

You can start with Amanda Boxtel, the Aussie Queen Bee, who sets all things in motion.  But that would be obvious. Besides, she will be making many appearances in this space over the next year.

But, unmentioned so far is the Bridging Bionics crew, who have been so inspiring, smiling, and working and working and smiling, as they go through their daily therapy. Win Charles told me how she works out every day to stay strong. Mackenzie Langley walked across a stage and Tim Burr put on the Bionic Suit for an outdoor jaunt . All to my utter awe.  Physical therapists, Maria and Tammy, put me in the Suit for a “beat the rain” stroll on the Aspen High School track.

In the years I have left I will never forget any of them.

And there are so many others. Emmy Winner Greg Poschman and his crew, including Alan Becker and Michael Stevens, have shown up to produce a pair of terrific videos that explain what we are trying to do better than I can in words. Of course, the words written by wordsmith Greg Lewis also clarified, for me and everyone involved, what race2walk2016 is all about.

Of course, family and friends have weighed in. My sister, Sudie, saw a post and called one day out of the blue to make everything brighter. And my mother calls each afternoon for instructions on how to follow her son on social media. Joe and Nancy Nevin bought in early and have not only been the key rocks in the wall, but have been so brilliantly supportive that we don’t even realize how much we have imposed.

Then there is Ricki McHugh, who knew that the most important thing is that my wife – the real most important thing - was comfortable in Rome. Ricki made arrangements to insure that. There are no words, Rikki.

 And so many others.

But one I must single out is Ted Hoff. Ted takes care of the best dogs in the world at his Cottonwood Ranch and Kennel in Crawford, Colorado. They are the best dogs in the world because they stay with Ted. In other words, any dog that stays with Ted becomes a better dog.

In all the craziness of getting ready to go for five weeks, we got a call from Ted. He said he would look forward to taking care of Vino, our dog and one of the aforementioned best dogs in the world. And he would like to do it as a donation to the race2walk2016 effort. Yes, my wife cried.

Anyway. Happy Independence Day. And to all whom I mentioned, those who I failed to mention, and to those who are reading this, THANK YOU.

  We should be in for a fun ride.