Friday, November 21, 2008

When chaos begets windfall

Senior accomplishes even more after fire

Photo by David N. Seelig

Each senior student at the Wood River High School must complete a senior project to graduate. Only in its fourth year at the high school, the senior projects have increasingly been community-service oriented. From organizing a walk against domestic violence to raising money to support girls' education in Afghanistan, students are reaching out to their neighbors.

For his project, Ketchum resident Greg Roos organized a clothing drive of ski and snowboarding outerwear, such as pants, jackets, gloves, goggles and helmets. Originally he solicited and gathered the items from Hailey Ski Team and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation families. His mission was to donate the collected items to the Bellevue Elementary School's winter program, which introduces children in grades three to five to winter sports.

A member of the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation ski team since he was 7 years old, Roos said the project has particular significance for him.

"I've grown up loving snow and loving skiing and I wanted these kids to enjoy it as much as I was able to," he said.

Roos began soliciting items through the ski and snowboarding communities in September and received great items that he intended to donate this month. But on Oct. 19, a devastating fire at the Roos' home destroyed the garage and much of the house. Stored in the garage were all the items that Roos had received. The only thing he had left to show for his efforts was a melted helmet.

After hearing about the fire, the community rallied and came to his aid. He received even more items from Hailey Ski Team and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation families, as well as items from Ketchum retailer PK's and Smith Sport Optics.

On Wednesday, Roos presented more than 250 items, including helmets, goggles, jackets, pants, gloves, hats and neck gaiters to the 111 students who participate in the program.

"They loved it," Roos said. "They were really excited. There was some used stuff and rental stuff from PK's, Smith gave me 60 new helmets and 50 new goggles. The principal at Bellevue Elementary was especially excited about the helmets and goggles because the school is going to keep them at the school for the future. The students will be able to check-out the helmets and goggles like library books on a need-basis and then return them when they are finished so the school can use them in years to come."

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