The BOEC staff recently caught up with BOEC board vice-chair, co-owner of a local business, Cornerstone Real Estate Rocky Mountains, a veteran, and a family member of a participant in BOEC Programs. Barb Rankin has a deep commitment to the BOEC mission and helping the organization thrive, succeed and continue to be a vital part of our community. We cannot thank Barb enough for her time, energy, and funding commitment to our operations. The following are some answers to a variety of questions.
You were born into a military family and served in the Air Force. Can you talk about all the places you lived, where you were stationed, and what being in the military has meant to you and shaped who you are today?
I was born in New Jersey, and then we lived in Spain, California, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Massachusetts. When I graduated from high school I went to the US Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, then was stationed in Dayton, Ohio and Tokyo, Japan before leaving the Air Force after 6 years on active duty. We spent two years in Seattle, Washington before taking a year off to travel, then moved to Summit County in 2005. Making the decision to go in to the military at 17 years old seemed totally normal to me because I had grown up with my father and uncle in the Air Force and the Army. I also knew that it would be the best way for me to get an education and life experience. Looking back on it, I am so glad that I did for a few reasons. I got to serve my country and learn a lot about the military and the people who serve and what they contribute and sacrifice in order to do so. I also learned throughout my lifetime in the military to be adaptable, and invaluable leadership skills that still help me today. The skills I gained through those experiences absolutely shaped me in to the person I am today, and guide me to want to be involved in leading and contributing to my community and those who need help.
You’ve been in Summit County since 2005. Why did you decide to move here, establish a business and make this your home?
We had lived in and visited a lot of places and knew we wanted to be in the mountains and in a place where outdoor activities are a major part of life. We started our own business because we wanted to be in control of our own destiny, and be able to use it to enrich the lives of those who work with us and the community as a whole. We love living in a small town where we can be so involved with local organizations and leadership, and feel like we can have an impact.
How and when did you first learn of the BOEC?
My 90-year-old grandfather came to visit around 8 years ago and he had been skiing his whole life. He had suffered a stroke and was no longer very mobile, but it was on his bucket list to ski one more time. The BOEC was able to get him out on the hill on a sit ski, and he was able to ski again with about 10 of us, including some of his children and grandchildren. It was an amazing and emotional day for all of us. We realized then that the BOEC would also be a great opportunity for my sister in law to ski, which would not have otherwise seemed possible to us.
You have a family member that participates in BOEC programming. Can you talk about that and if that has made your interest in BOEC more personal?
My sister in law has spent time skiing with the BOEC and it is always the highlight of her trips to Colorado. The sense of wonder and empowerment that these days have brought to her life are something that I hope more people can experience. Skiing with the BOEC with my grandfather and then my sister in law, I realized that this was an organization that brings so much joy to so many people and I wanted to be involved in making sure that it grows and thrives and continues to provide this much needed service.
With so many great organizations to support, why should others choose to support the BOEC?
It is true that there are obviously so many great causes to support. I believe that the BOEC should be on everyone’s list to give either their time, their money, or both in order to contribute to a cause that is very special. They provide experiences that are life changing and empowering to those who may not always have that opportunity. In addition, supporting the BOEC also means you are supporting some of the most amazing, patient and giving people in the staff, interns and volunteers who work there.
What does the BOEC mean to you? How has your involvement with BOEC changed you?
Now that I have had the chance to not only be on the board but volunteer on the ski hill with the staff and participants, I am even more passionate about doing everything in my power to support the BOEC. It means a lot to me to be able to help other families like ours, and also all of the veterans and their families. The impact that every single lesson or program has is far reaching, causing a positive effect on not just the participants but their families, the volunteers, the staff, the interns and therefore the community at large. The people who dedicate their time and careers to the BOEC are some of the most amazing people I have met, anywhere. They continually inspire me to be a better person, and to work hard to make sure they have the support they need to keep doing what they do.
Do you have a favorite BOEC story/memory?
The sound of a non-verbal child in a bi-ski hooting and hollering as his instructor took him through the trees off the side of the ski run.
If you could pick one theme for BOEC to turn into a book about the organization, what would it be?
Problem Solving and Ingenuity.
Three words to describe BOEC?
Impactful, Inspirational, Amazing.
You’re a board member and on the development committee. Speak to all the extra time you generously donate to the BOEC in this way?
I try to lend support in any way that I can. The staff is so amazing that our role is often one of support and so attending board/executive committee/development committee meetings, and volunteering as needed at events have been the ways that I give my time. I try to target my efforts in donating my time and money towards making sure the staff and interns are happy and getting the support that they need.
Your company is very gracious in supporting BOEC financially with donations, sponsorships etc. Why is this important to you and Cornerstone to give back to BOEC?
I am very passionate about helping support the BOEC in as many ways as possible, and giving as a company accomplishes a few goals at once. Supporting the events allows us to hopefully help leverage those events into more giving from others, and also inspire other businesses to do the same. Of course as a company it gets our name out there to the benefit of everyone who works with us as well, and the fact that it is then a business marketing expense allows us to budget even more for giving.
If you were to work full-time at the BOEC, what job would you want to do?
Ski instructor (which I am in no way qualified to do!)
What do you see for the next 10 years with BOEC?
In the next ten years, I see the BOEC continuing to improve upon their already amazing programs. Growth is not necessarily the goal so I see us getting even better at training, staff and instructor development, quality of programs, and marketing and fundraising. The staff is always adapting and has obviously had to change everything in 2020 in light of the pandemic so I see them meeting those challenges with the same resolve and exceptional problem solving skills that they always do.
What do you think other people should know about this organization?
It’s hard for me to explain to someone what a powerful impact that the BOEC has on everyone involved. In order to truly appreciate and understand it, you need to experience it first hand. Being there to see someone in a wheel chair successfully navigate a ropes course, or a child on the autism spectrum riding a chair lift for the first time, are just two examples of experiences that change the lives of those people and all those who are lucky enough to witness it. The positive effects are far reaching and long lasting and if you can’t volunteer and be there to see it yourself, I hope that you can contribute to the organization and make sure we can continue to make it happen.