Happy Trails Liz!

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Photo By Tommy Stafford : Liz Salas (center) in the 2008 photo coordinating the upcoming annual Nature Foundation at Wintergreen Sara Ott Golf Classic. On the left is Jack Daly who helped coordinate the event each year, on the far right is the late Frank Ott. The tournament was named in honor/memory of his wife that passed away in 2008.
Photo By Tommy Stafford : Liz Salas (center) in this 2008 photo coordinating the upcoming annual Nature Foundation at Wintergreen Sara Ott Golf Classic. On the left is Jack Daly who helped coordinate the event each year, on the far right is the late Frank Ott. The tournament was originally named in honor/memory of his wife that passed away in 2008.

Wintergreen
Nelson County, Virginia

By Tommy Stafford

I first met Liz Salas Fravel of the Nature Foundation at Wintergreen way back in the early 2000’s. Back then I was helping emcee the annual Sara Ott Golf Classic. It’s still a major yearly fundraiser for the Nature Foundation. Fast forward to well over a decade Liz became a regular that I interacted for many years. She was legit. Hardworking, tirelessly coordinating events for the foundation.

There’s Liz on the far right in the ball cap at one of the annual golf tournaments back in the fall of 2009.That’s Robin Ott MacDonnell on the far left holding none other than a very young Adam Stafford! Robin is the daughter of the late Frank and Sara Ott. The tournament is named in memory of her parents.

I just sort of thought Liz would always be there. She’d become such a permanent fixture at the Nature Foundation. We worked together on so many projects during the years from our weather station up there, to all sorts of other things dealing with the magazine.

I was a bit saddened, I must admit, when I heard Liz was leaving the Nature Foundation to take a new job as a project manager with Mary Baldwin that’s a bit closer to home. Excited for her, yes, but it will feel odd knowing she’s not a fixture up on the mountain as she has been for the last 24 years.

I’ll leave you the words Liz wrote in her final newsletter for the Nature Foundation in a recent email blast. We will miss you Liz, happy trails and good luck!

“To the Most Wonderful Members a Person Can Have,

The honest truth is that when I came to work at the Nature Foundation in my twenties I thought I’d be here for a few years. I learned to ski when I was maybe five, owning Potato Patch, Diamond Hill and eventually Eagle. For the record, Tyro is still my favorite. 24 years later, my chapter here is ending and a new adventure awaits. I never planned to stay 24 years. But the truth is that I fell in love with you, all the people I’ve had the privilege of working with over the years.

The community opened their homes and hearts to me. I often tell people that I’m the favorite daughter of this family and that family and I truly believe it. You shared your stories with me and through the years this little community became way more than a job to me. I believe that everybody has a story and I genuinely want to hear it. You talked and I listened.

People have asked me what I want to say as I turn the page to my next chapter. Thank you. You always answer my calls when I need one more thing, you volunteer more hours than I can work and you’ve welcomed me into your homes and shared your lives with me. Wintergreen is truly the most amazing community in the world, made up of the most amazing people. You are the reason this place is special.

Liz”

2 COMMENTS

  1. Tommy,
    Great article but I am providing 1 correction please.
    The Sara Ott Golf Classic: It still “IS” a yearly fundraiser for the Nature Foundation.
    I’m sure that Liz would want everyone to know that this year’s fundraiser is Friday, September 9th, 2022 with a rain-date of Friday, September 16th, 2022.
    Thank you!

  2. Thanks Marilyn for pointing that out. I made the correction so it reads better and doesn’t make someone think it’s still not happening. Tommy

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