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Valley Voices Article - Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek : Vail Valley Volunteer Groups Provide a Host of Services

The new year is full of promise, bringing past experiences toward an amazing future.

We celebrate the opportunity that we are given in this country, to create our own destiny. Yet, that destiny does not always come easily. Sometimes it takes a village of friends to help us through the rough times and remind us of the greatness we all have inside.

Not everyone has someone nearby to help in times of stress. We offer many professional services, but it is our community members who make the most difference. Often, we hear of a situation or tragic event and think, "I could have helped them." Well, today I am providing you with some ideas that will suit all personalities and make a significant difference in someone's life.

As we make our New Year's resolutions, please consider participating as a volunteer in one of the many wonderful organizations in Eagle County. Listed below are a few that could really use your help, but there are many more. Of course, these groups cannot operate without adequate funding, so donations are greatly appreciated, but having a caring person involved is priceless.

VAIL MOUNTAIN RESCUE GROUP

Vail Mountain Rescue is a group of your friends and neighbors who serve as unpaid volunteers performing backcountry search and rescue activities in Eagle County. Members come from all parts of our community and include: ski patrollers and backcountry guides, mountain climbers, raft guides, professional medical personnel and others with a love of the mountains.

Services provided include: climbers in trouble, lost or injured hikers, skiers, snowboarders, stuck snowmobilers, kayakers and rafters, downed aircraft, cavers, backcountry auto accidents, hunters, mountain bikers, ATV and motorcycle riders, paragliders and horseback riders.

For more information, visit their website at: https://vailmountainrescue.org/ 

EAGLE COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE VICTIMS' ADVOCATES

The Victim Services was created to provide caring support during crisis situations to reduce physical and emotional suffering and is staffed by a full-time coordinator, offering bilingual services, and trained volunteer advocates on-call 24 hours a day. Volunteers provide in-person and phone support throughout the entire process, including court appearances and referrals to medical, housing, mental health and other agencies. Most important, they are there to show community support in crisis. Contact the Sheriff's Office at 970-328-8500 to volunteer.

BRIGHT FUTURE FOUNDATION

This foundation is Eagle County's only 24/7 crisis hotline. Its goal is to empower individuals and families affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. Volunteers are critical in helping victims become survivors. Opportunities are available to monitor the hotline or becoming a Senior Buddy. For more information, go to http://www.mybrightfuture.org.

COMMUNITIES THAT CARE

This group is a collaborative, focused on the development of positive youth experiences by working to prevent substance abuse in young people and with mental health challenges that are often unique to the age. Those who are at-risk need not feel alone. Communities that Care works on supporting skills development in families, schools and community involvement. Volunteers range in age from adults to school-aged peers. For more information, go to http://www.eaglecountyctc.org.

EAGLE RIVER YOUTH COALITION

This coalition works with youth leaders, parents, schools and community organizations to help young people build self-esteem, feel connected and develop healthy choices. Adults and young people are encouraged to participate in their many programs and volunteers are essential to its success. For more information, visit http://www.eagleyouth.org.

HOPE CENTER

The Hope Center's primary mission is to raise awareness of mental health concerns and educating everyone about seeking help. The HopeLine is open 24/7 at 970-925-5858. Volunteers are always needed, particularly those who are bilingual. The center offers individual counseling, crisis intervention, outpatient programs, community collaboratives and related referrals. Sometimes the person who answers the phone is the only one between a caller in crisis and an irreversible decision. While based in Basalt, its expanding its services to the Eagle Valley. For more information, go to http://www.aspenhopecenter.org.

GOLDEN EAGLE SENIOR CENTER

The town of Eagle encourages the active participation of our senior population. Often, families live at a distance and remaining connected to the community becomes challenging. Volunteers are welcome to spend time, play games, watch movies and just be someone who cares. The center has provided our community something worth inheriting. For more information, go to http://www.townofeagle.org.

SALVATION ARMY

Unexpected trauma can throw a family into chaos and the Salvation Army provides food and other essentials to help our neighbors regain their lives. We see the bell-ringers at Christmas, yet hunger knows no holidays. Help is needed year-round. For more information, call 970-748-0704.

AMERICAN RED CROSS

During last summer's wildfires, the Red Cross was everywhere, lending a hand to families evacuated from their homes. They Red Cross offered shelter, food and comfort at every level. Most of its services are conducted by volunteers. For more information, email eric.myers@red cross.org.

James van Beek is the Eagle County sheriff. You can reach him at james.vanbeek@eaglecounty.us.