“Gratitude changes everything. Share it,” says Charmayne.
For those who are fortunate to know Charmayne Bernhardt, a variety of kind and endearing words may come to mind when describing her. Perhaps one of them is how she embodies selflessness by always putting others before herself while never expecting anything in return. It is this caring nature that has led those closest to her to call her “Char Mom.”
Charmayne and her husband, Chas, have lived in the Vail Valley for nearly five decades. Faith, gratitude, and generosity are meaningful virtues in their lives, and they have seen first-hand the positive impact that a giving community has on its residents and visitors.
The couple met in high school in New Jersey. It was not until after Chas moved to Colorado that they married. “He moved out here and came back one off-season,” says Charmayne. “He asked me if I would ever leave the east. When I said ‘probably,’ he said, ‘then would you marry me?’”
Charmayne made her way to Vail Valley during the 70s — a time she describes life as very different: “We did not have local family support. Many people did not stay, and those who did all had to work multiple jobs.”
Health Care That Treats the Whole Person
During her career, Charmayne has played a central role in providing top-tier administrative support to the Vail Valley’s healthcare sector for more than four decades. After working 35 years at Colorado Mountain Medical, Charmayne brought her talents to Vail Health Foundation, where she has supported leadership, staff, volunteers, and benefactors for the past 13 years.
Throughout the years, she has witnessed the incredible growth of Vail Health, including the addition of various departments, such as cardiology, surgery, behavioral health, and more.
“The expansion of services has been made possible through the generosity of those who believe in the work Vail Health is doing and will continue to do,” she says. “Although some would think this is a small community hospital, it is far more, with excellent physicians, surgeons, caregivers, equipment, and programs — while maintaining a true connection with patients.”
Two areas that Charmayne and Chas are passionately supporting through philanthropy are Vail Health’s Shaw Cancer Center and the Spiritual Care and Chaplaincy program.
Charmayne describes, “It is important that the ‘whole person’ is treated. Often there is a spiritual and emotional need for support, comfort, encouragement, or courage that can be left unmet. The chaplain program helps meet those needs of patients and staff alike. Making a connection of faith can make all the difference. We are excited that the new in-hospital Frechette Chapel is open for patients, visitors, and staff.”
Giving is Key
Since she was a child, giving to others has been an important principle in her life. “My parents would say, ‘Always tithe on the first 10 percent of your income in gratitude for your blessings. You can live better on 90 percent of your income than 100 percent because giving is key,’” says Charmayne.
Charmayne and Chas consider themselves to be incredibly blessed. They love living in the Vail Valley and are grateful to have raised their son, Luke, here.
Chas, a contractor and master woodworker, loves creating custom wood cabinetry, while Charmayne, a talented artist, provides freelance work for her art, sewing, and quilting. They also enjoy being outside in their garden, dancing in their kitchen, and having friends over to share a meal and play games.
“Thank you to all of you at Vail Health — in every department — you all mean the world to me.”Charmayne Bernhardt