ReflectionsSome Reflections on a life that continues to inspire…
January 21st of 2017 marks ten years since the accident that took Chris from us. I can hardly believe it has been that long. Ten years of dealing with loss, grief, healing, hope, and now, new life. What a journey we continue on. I would like to share some thoughts with you…
We launched The Chris Mikesell Foundation in late 2008, about a year and a half after his accident. As I shared with you in our first newsletter, I remember the first time Sherry, Laura, Julie, and I talked about putting together a foundation to honor Chris. It was the summer of 2007, and we were standing on a busy street corner in downtown Denver after meeting with our attorney. We wanted Chris to be remembered, and we wanted to honor the impact he had on so many people. It occurred to us that a good way to accomplish both objectives would be to stay involved in causes he was passionate about. This simple discussion along a busy city street was the genesis for what became The Chris Mikesell Foundation.
One of the first things we did was to create a vision and mission to guide us in carrying out the work of the foundation.
Vision: The Chris Mikesell Foundation exists to help people enjoy the journey in life, to climb the mountain and see the view.
Mission: To honor his adventurous spirit, passion for travel, and love of people, The Chris Mikesell Foundation will provide opportunities for young people to experience nature, assistance to organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting the environment’s natural beauty, scholarships at Western State Colorado University, and assistance to people in desperate need around the world.
Each and every grant we have made has fit into at least one of our four mission areas. We are truly excited about the impact these grants have had. And what has that impact been? Well, to give you an idea, let me share some of the foundation numbers with you:
Current Total Assets – $665,143
Total Number of Contributors: 160
Total Number of Contributions: 246
First Grant, December, 2008: $300
Grants, 2008: $300 (1)
Grants, 2009: $18,050 (7)
Grants, 2010: $21.000 (7)
Grants, 2011: $23,000 (7)
Grants, 2012: $26,600 (11)
Grants, 2013: $29,350 (9)
Grants, 2014: $41,100 (10)
Grants, 2015: $27,225 (9)
Grants, 2016: $30,000 (12)
Total Grants, 2008-2016: $216,625 (75)
Total Number of Organizations Awarded Grants: 17
Through our work in The Chris Mikesell Foundation over these last nine years, Sherry, Laura, Julie, and I have found that we have so much to be grateful for. We are grateful for the thoughts and prayers of so many people. We are grateful that the Mueller family chose to join us in providing the seed money to establish the foundation. We are grateful for the contributions of so many others, as well. We deeply appreciate each and every contribution, no matter the size. We still hope to endow the foundation so that it can go on helping people for years to come. Our long range goal is to endow it at one million dollars. As you can see, we are two thirds of the way towards that goal.
Many of you are familiar with the memorial in honor of Chris on the mountain that we worked with the Mueller family to create. Here is an excerpt from an email I sent to Tim Mueller in late 2008 as we were working through the memorial concept: “In consideration of the views of Laura, Julie, and many of Chris’s friends, here is what we have arrived at: we envision a simple cluster of stones with a plaque located in the grove of pines near the accident site. This is the spot where Chris’s friends have placed items since the accident. We are imagining a simple plaque mounted on a large boulder, placed in a way so that it is viewable at eye level during all four seasons. Our vision would appear to require some stone steps to get the plaque up out of the snow during ski season. We are picturing a couple of large flat stones adjacent to the boulder for sitting on during the times when there is no snow.”
That memorial was completed and dedicated in the summer of 2009, and is amazingly similar to the concept I shared with Tim. These words are inscribed on its plaque:
Feb 17, 1983-Jan 21, 2007
Son, Brother, Friend…
an inspiration to everyone he met.
His life reflected these words:
“If you don’t climb the mountain
you can’t see the view.”
He taught us to climb our mountain.
As you know, the foundation website is www.ClimbTheMountain.net. We have engaged Megan Harper to maintain our website. She was a classmate and good friend of both Chris and Laura. We are now posting to it regularly, updating what is happening with the foundation. Check it out, and let us know what we could do to improve it. I also want to take this opportunity to thank Bill McVey for his handling of the financial aspects of the foundation for us. He does all of this work on a volunteer basis as his contribution to the foundation.
And finally, about that new life. On June 23rd of last year, I announced to the world: It’s a girl!!! Happy Birthday, Willa Kendall Egedy!!! Born on 6/23/16 in Gunnison, CO at 1:38 pm, 6 pounds, 4 ounces, 20 inches, and absolutely perfect!!! Laura & Josh are doing great, and so are we…Kendall and Sherry. Our first grandchild is the joy of our life, and we know that Chris would be just as thrilled as we are.
Sherry, Laura, Julie, and I continue to be inspired by our memories of Chris, and we find strength in helping others. And, as we had hoped, Chris has been remembered, and has been an ongoing inspiration in the accomplishment of a lot of good things. We want to thank you for your ongoing love and support as we strive to carry out Chris’s dreams through the work of The Chris Mikesell Foundation…
-Kendall Mikesell, January 19, 2017