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Jack Eck receives the 2024 Trailblazer Award

Vail Daily

Dr. Jack Eck, one of Vail’s first doctors and a health care pioneer, is the ninth Vail pioneer to receive the award

In recognition of his contributions to the safety and health of Vail’s residents and guests, Dr. Jack Eck has been named the 2024 Town of Vail Trailblazer Award recipient by the Vail Town Council. 

The annual Vail Trailblazer Award honors those who contribute their time and talent to make Vail an extraordinary community. Eck will be formally recognized at the town’s annual community meeting, which will take place Tuesday, March 5, at Donovan Pavilion.  

Eck arrived in Vail in 1971 after having served as a flight surgeon in the Vietnam War. A native of Pennsylvania, he had skied Vail during a medical internship in Denver in the 1960s. He was hired by Vail’s first physician, the late Dr. Tom Steinberg.

By the late 1970s, Eck became the first medical advisor for the Vail Ski Patrol as well as the first physician to serve on the patrol. He established the basic medical qualification criteria for the ski patrollers, and many of those he trained became the core of the local paramedic community and the Eagle County Ambulance District. 

Among his contributions, Eck established a mobile cardiac program consisting of a defibrillator in an old Samsonite suitcase. He developed medical first responder techniques that were modeled by ski patrols throughout the country and were later adopted by the U.S. Ski Team.

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