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Boat People

12/01/2003 01:00, Published by Anonymous, Categories: Shop+Eat+Drink, Sports, Culture, Living, In Print, Community, People



Winter 2003:

Boat People

Linking Steamboat to the faraway world   Steamboat Springs native Benita Bristol, her husband and four children were in Panama City in 1967 when a coup was staged. The Bristol family also lived for six months in Brazil in 1965 during military rule, following the collapse of democracy there the previous year.    By comparison, the time they spent at home in Steamboat must have seemed tame. Still hectic, though, as vacation meant traveling throughout the country. “I’ve changed diapers in every state in the Union,” Benita jokes.     Benita’s late husband, Everett Bristol, after whom Bristol Hall on the Colorado Mountain College Alpine Campus is named, was an electrical engineer who specialized in rural electrification. His business often took the family to underdeveloped countries.     CMC international relations professor, George Tolles, suggested that Benita write papers on the places she visited. She found this opened doors into societies she would not otherwise have discovered.     Forming a link between Steamboat and the faraway world is a priority at CMC. The college’s founder, Lucile Bogue, provided the impetus for this emphasis, but Benita is one of the keepers of that flame today.    The Bristol International Scholarship Foundation awards two scholarships each year for foreign students to study at CMC. Benita serves on the selection committee, but that’s only one of her many activities.     She works at the CMC reception desk, where one student saher name tag and quipped, “I thought you had to be dead to have a building named after you.”   “I just love those kids,” Benita says. “They are challenging. They like to tease me. I’m not a mother figure, and I’m not a teacher figure. I can identify with them.”     Benita also serves on three committees of the Yampa Valley Community Foundation, is a member of Kiwanis, recently rotated off the museum board, is a member of Steamboat’s oldest investment club, and is active in the Methodist Church, all the while keeping up with four children and their families. Perhaps more accurately, they’re trying to keep up with her.Snowboarding surgeon "commands" the slope    For 6-foot blonde doctor Maryann Wall, snowboarding in Pioneer Ridge is merely her most recent adventure. She has gone on night dives with Navy SEALS, visited aircraft carriers and sailed small boats. As a naval surgeon, Commander Wall did more than treat patients. She took full advantage of the recruitment promise that she would see the world. “There was so much beyond being a surgeon. It was fun to participate in the whole experience,” she recalls.     That is not to say Maryann did not take her career seriously. After completing her medical education and basic military training (which she dubbed “Golden Door Spa”), she was assigned to Okinawa, Japan. “I went from being a resident to being the head of a department, where the closest physician was 3,000 miles away. I got used to working independently, and I gained lots of surgical experience.”     Maryann went on to train medical residents in Portsmouth, Va., where her students were among the brightest in the country. She was on the “conveyor belt” to a lifetime naval career.    Then she had what she describes as her “Talking Head moment.” She came home one day and just like the band’s lead singer, she said, “This is not my beautiful house.” It was time for a change.     “I had no life outside of my career, so I resigned my commission, sold my house and moved to Steamboat Springs,” she says. Five years later, Maryann’s practice in otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) and facial plastic and reconstructive surgery is thriving, and she’s a veteran powder rider. Although she has no regrets about leaving the Navy, she says, “I have the utmost respect for the military – both enlisted men and women and officers. They are not in it for the money, but because they are committed and have values. It was an incredibly rewarding experience.” Dissection doesn't make 4-H vet science students sqirm a bitI pledgeMy head to clearer thinkingMy heart to greater loyaltyMy hands to larger service andMy health to better livingFrom my club, my community, my country, and my world   The 4-H pledge may seem like a page from yesteryear, but for veterinarian Lee Meyring, being a 4-H leader means preparing his protégés for tomorrow.     Dr. Meyring works with more than a dozen local youngsters in a three-year veterinary science program. “My approach is to take these kids who may be interested in becoming vets and help them truly make their decision. Vet school is very competitive, and I want to give these kids a head start.”     “It’s a great learning experience,” says third-year student Amanda Thielemann, 11. “It’s fun when you can interact with your project instead of just reading a book about it. It’s very hands-on.”    Early on, Dr. Meyring feared that the program, which includes dissection and attendance at surgery, might be a bit too hands-on. “The biggest surprise to me was their lack of fear. In fact, all they want to do is dissect things.”     First-year participants focus on animal anatomy. “We spend a lot of time learning and understanding normal animals,” Mr. Meyring explains. “The second- and third-year kids are studying abnormal animals, problem-solving and diagnosing.”    The comprehensive program, which also includes book work and a culminating project, is demanding of Dr. Meyring’s time, but it’s time he is devoted to providing.     “I greup in the Walden area and I was involved in 4-H. I gained a lot out of it. 4-H enabled me to pay my undergraduate tuition. I want to give kids a chance to take on responsibilities and to do things. Besides, we have a lot of fun,” says Dr. Meyring.     “We get to hang out with the vets – that’s the funnest part,” says Amanda, who is torn between becoming a veterinarian and a jeweler, like her father. Fortunately, she has a feyears and 4-H to help her decide. The sight is remarkable     Two snowboarders riding face-to-face down Heavenly Daze. Their hands barely touch. Their movements are in sync; their stance, confident.    They are snowboard instructor Scott Anfang and his blind student David Hunter. Their ability to ride together, which appears so natural today, is the product of hard work and experimentation.   At first, the teacher kept a firm handhold on his student, but as their confidence increased, he loosened his grip. “David and I play around with pressure and guiding moves, but a lot of our riding is done with verbal communication. It’s always a work in progress, trying neways, finding nechallenges, then being able to move forward with our riding.”    On a feof Steamboat’s wide, blue runs, David rides by himself, with Scott nearby. One of Scott’s best memories came on a powder day. “The snowas so light, we straight-lined it down High Noon and Dave was getting face shots, with even the slightest direction change. It was amazing to witness,” Scott recalls, “watching Dave go off the side of the run, landing headfirst on his back, looking up at me, covered in snowith the biggest smile on his face!”   Their teamwork has paid off. In 2002, Dave won gold medals in the halfpipe and boardercross at the U.S. Amateur Snowboard Association Disabled National Championship. Scott was nominated for the Ski Magazine “instructor of the year” award, and his peers chose him as the “instructor I would most like to take a lesson from.” 


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