As we age, we are forced to accept losses. We lose family members, friends, community leaders and our own physical and mental capacities. It almost becomes rote.

But then we lose someone or something that leaves a big wound that is tough to heal and a big hole that is hard to fill. This was the effect on me at the unexpected death of Scott Skinner.

I knew him as a lawyer, a friend, an amazing family man and an adventurer. His annual Mount Hunger Climb was an event that many would travel across the country to attend. His contributions to the people of Nepal when in the Peace Corps and for decades after, helping to build schools, his service to the state of Vermont, and his personal attention to each and every one who touched his life, are all unmeasured gifts. I was in the group that summited Mount Kilimanjaro with Scott and his wife, Mary. Anyone who struggled during that climb could turn to Scott for his ever-present calm and his ebullient passion for the mountains.

I regret not spending more time with him this past year. Life was always “too busy.” This loss reminds me how important we are to each other and how we should never be “too busy” to reach out and spend time with our loved ones.

Thank you, Scott Skinner, for being in my life.

Dot Helling


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