November 2, 2003
What an evening! A very impressive gathering of elite businessmen and many famous skiing celebrities. It was not the usual black-tie gala.
There was an enthusiastic mingling of friends and the affair was further evidence of how important the Jimmy Heuga Center is for families with multiple sclerosis, or MS. The medical industry has even changed the way it thinks about MS because of the Center.
One person at the speakers' table said, "There is not a person who has MS that would not learn something from this program."
It is understandable why so many important people were there to support Heuga. Billy Kidd was this year's honoree. Kidd and Heuga were the first American men to win skiing medals in the Olympics. It was 1964 - Kidd won the silver, Heuga the bronze. Kidd told how through the years Jimmy was such a dear friend and inspiration.
There was a mixture of skiers with recreational backgrounds and former champions and coaches. Their speeches were filed with many entertaining stories of their ski team days.
I asked Heuga how he felt.
"It is so moving I am so proud of all the people who have helped," he said.
Harry Smith of CBS News' "The Early Show" was master of ceremonies. He kept the evening moving and exciting. No one looked at their watch and everyone listened.
"Jimmy and Billy are an irresistable force. Together they are doing so much good," Smith said.
Bruce Hallett, president of Sports Illustrated, was more explicit.
"It was the most extraordinary collection of ski greats ever gathered on an island without a (ski) lift," Hallett said. "Their names are not the names of ski racers, but ski legends."
The Vail area was well represented with over twenty supporters. The Center's staff was headed by president Brian Hutchison, Chylus Martinez and Susie Kincaid.
Austin and Bob Howe, Bob and Beth Garden, John and Debbie Feeney, Oscar and Argie Tang, Andy and Lucinda Daly, Tom Banner, Ed O'Brien and Carol Ferguson, Carl Folg, Kurt Krieg and others made the trip.
The Heuga Center has a motto "CAN DO". They can and they are doing it.
Copyright © 2003, Vail Daily