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Local Restauranteur John Shipp Embodies the Generosity of Local Community

Connie Steiert Vail Valley Medical Center

John Shipp moved around a great deal of his adult life fromColorado to the West Coast and back again to the Rockies. But oncehe decided to make Eagle County his home he embraced the valleywith a passion - not only creating businesses that have become areafavorites and raising a family but also proactively supporting thevery things that he believes make this community so great.

"My obligation as a business owner is to try to give back to thecommunity" states Shipp owner of the Dusty Boots and Luigi'srestaurants. Most recently he made significant contributions toVail Valley Medical Center's cancer treatment programs through ShawRegional Cancer Center's "Get Pretty in Pink" and "Pink Vail"fundraisers as well as last month's "Get Out Expo." Shipp points tothe excellent medical and cultural offerings in Eagle County whenhe says "I think it's important the community should embrace thoseassets."

After growing up in Denver wanderlust hit Shipp. He movednearly every year in his 20s including to California and Oregon.He spent a brief stint in Eagle County some time back beforerelocating to Keystone where he built a restaurant 18 years ago.He then relocated to Evergreen. By the time his daughter was fouryears old he had moved 13 times. Eight years ago he decidedenough was enough and largely for his family's sake decided tosettle down in Singletree in Edwards. Shipp still travels a lotbut now is firmly rooted. He has added the Dusty Boots in Eagle andBeaver Creek Luigi's in Eagle and most recently the Metropolitanwine and tapas bar in Beaver Creek to his restaurant repertoirewhich also includes three restaurants in Keystone.

Over the years Shipp has lent his support to several localcauses. Kim Sharkey of Shaw Regional Cancer Center has knownShipp for years. She notes "We are not the only one he issupporting" An avid fly fisherman skier and mountain biker heserves on the board of Walking Mountains a program with which hisdaughter now 12 and in seventh grade participates. He has hostedfundraisers for the school's new Avon facility and recentlysponsored the Buddy Werner bike team. "He is so generous throughoutthe community" observes Sharkey.

"John is creative and committed to supporting Shaw RegionalCancer Center" said Doris Kirchner president and CEO of VailValley Medical Center. "We are grateful for his commitment to Shawand to our local community as a whole."

Pink Support
That is why when the Vail Valley Medical Center and ShawRegional Cancer Center put together the "Get Pretty in Pink" eventto benefit the Shaw last fall the team thought of approachingShipp. The event invited local salons and restaurants to donateproceeds to the event for one day in October. "He didn't hesitate"recalls Sharkey "but said 'absolutely.' He had a passion for themission." He not only agreed to donate 20 percent of his EagleCounty restaurant sales that day to the event he took the effort astep further personally matching the $2146 funds raised by hisrestaurants creating a $4292 total gift.

"Pretty in Pink was a great awareness building project that gavethe community businesses - mostly salons survivors and supporters- a way to bring awareness to the importance of early detection ofbreast cancer and to the issues surrounding treatment andsurvivorship" explains Peggy Carey Vice President of ShawRegional Cancer Center. "Business owners like John Shipp that hostevents for us increase the visibility of early detection andincrease support for survivors in our community."

When the "Pink Vail" fundraiser came on the horizon this winterShipp was equally willing to jump on board hosting a pre-eventlaunch party in Eagle. Pink Vail raised $190000 for cancerprograms at Shaw. "By hosting events at (Shipp's) fineestablishments it creates a fun atmosphere in which to share amessage encourage participation and support survivors" saysCarey.

Why Passionate about Shaw?
Dr. Jack Eck gave Shipp a personal tour of Shaw RegionalCancer Center last year. He was duly impressed by both the cancertreatment center and by Jack's Place. Jack's Place allows familymembers of cancer patients a welcoming place with apay-what-you-can philosophy (the most they typically have to pay isjust $25 per night). For cancer patients just to be able to gettreatment here rather than traveling 100 miles for treatment ispriceless Shipp points out. The Shaw offers top-of-the-lineequipment including the only Mag View imaging machine between hereand Grand Junction. "Philanthropy" states Sharkey "helps supporta lot of components including top-of-the-line technology and theprogramming that often means so much to patients including yogaclasses massages nutrition counseling and fitness planning."

There is also a very personal reason Shipp has become sopassionate about cancer treatment programs. His mother wasdiagnosed a year ago with Stage 4 ovarian cancer. The good news isshe is a strong woman and doing well for the challenge she's beengiven. But a close brush with cancer puts a new perspective onanyone's thinking.

Shipp's mother was fortunate to have first-rate medical care byexcellent physicians on the Front Range acknowledges Shipp. Buthe says "I think the human side of patient care was missing. Iwish my mom would have had more of a personal touch with patientcare" he says. Cancer points out Shipp is not just a physicalailment. It affects the mind and emotions as well and depressionis a common aspect of cancer. Therapy is vital as are things likenutritional counseling. "Shaw offers that" he says. "Friends whohave cancer can't say enough about Shaw Cancer Center" heobserves.

But he adds "I think people don't know what Shaw has to offer.We just have a really nice facility and I think we need to embraceit and realize what the Medical Center and Shaw have to offer."

Connie Steiert is a local freelance writer who wascontracted by Vail Valley Medical Center to write thisstory.