This article and photo first appeared in the Vail Daily on July 7, 2020.
Dr. Jack Eck, one of Vail Health’s pioneers, will retire from the Vail Health Foundation in December.
Dr. Eck has been a cornerstone in the Vail Valley since 1971, when he started practicing medicine here. He was the first physician to serve on the Vail Ski Patrol. After successfully overcoming prostate cancer, Dr. Eck began working at Vail Health in 2007 and was integral in the creation of Shaw Cancer Center. Jack’s Place, a cancer caring house, was named in his honor.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of the evolution of health care here in this community from a clinic in the early 1970s with just three doctors to the sophisticated medical facilities we are so proud to have today,” Eck said.
“I have been honored to work closely with Jack during his time at Vail Health Foundation, and his impact goes beyond what anyone realizes,” said Dan Pennington, president and chief philanthropy officer for Vail Health Foundation. “Jack is the reason Shaw Cancer Center exists, and the meaningful relationships he has created during the years have been a great benefit to the foundation.”
In 2007, Jack’s Place opened in Edwards and serves as a haven of tranquility and well-being for patients undergoing cancer treatment at Shaw Cancer Center. Dr. Eck witnessed patients undergoing chemotherapy traveling to Denver for treatment and shared his vision for a more localized cancer care facility with Hal Shaw and others. The Shaw family donated $17 million to build the comprehensive cancer center so mountain residents could stay close to home during treatment.
“Jack is a legend within our community for his continuous contributions, and we are grateful for his decades of service,” said Will Cook, president and CEO of Vail Health. “Dr. Eck helped establish the medical reputation of Vail. From the seamless transition of care between the mountain and hospital to the creation of Shaw Cancer Center and Jack’s Place, his leadership and commitment to patient care built Vail Health into what it is today.”
For those who wish to celebrate Dr. Eck’s contributions to the community and his esteemed career, the public is encouraged to consider making a gift in Eck’s honor to one of the areas he is passionate about https://donate.vailhealthfoundation.org/JackEck.
Prior to his lifelong medical career at Vail Health, Eck completed his residency in Internal Medicine. He then used his GI Bill from his service in Vietnam for another year of residency in Cardiology and Intensive Care.
Since 1971, Eck has been instrumental in helping create and implement many of the life-saving techniques used on-hill by the Vail and Beaver Creek Ski Patrol to treat skiers with injuries and medical emergencies. His experience as a Vietnam combat flight surgeon significantly helped to shape the advanced orthopedic and medical first responder techniques used by the Ski Patrol today. His practices also influenced the U.S. Ski Team and were adopted by resorts nationwide.
Eck serves as a board member with the Helen and Arthur E. Johnson Depression Center at the University of Colorado, Home Care and Hospice of the Valley, and the Quality Committee of the Vail Health Board. He also served for many years as a board member of the Vail Valley Medical Center. Named Vail Valley Foundation Citizen of the Year in 2008, he was inducted into the Colorado Snowsports Museum Hall of Fame in 2015.