John McCallan knows firsthand the harm alcoholism can have on individuals and their families.
His eldest son, Shane, died in 2019 at age 37 from complications alcohol had on his body. By all appearances, Shane was doing well. He was a successful lawyer in the automotive industry and had recently started his own company.
“What we did not realize was that he was drinking to excess. He drank in private,” John explained.
A Place to Come Together
John’s family moved to the Denver area when he was 8 years old. His parents bought a property in Vail in the late 1960s, and he’s been visiting the valley ever since. He has thrived outdoors, enjoying popular activities, including skiing, hiking, biking, and golfing.
He shared this love for the mountains with Susan, his wife of 45 years, and their four children. “We wanted a place for the family to be together, hoping that would include the extended family with grandchildren and friends, too.” They have all gathered here since John and Susan bought their second home in Beaver Creek 20 years ago.
A Lack of Resources for Those in Need
In 2019, their family was forever altered by Shane’s passing. John believes if support had been available and Shane had been open to getting help, he may be alive today.
John explained, “There were times when Shane was experiencing different physiological problems, and we didn’t know it was related to alcoholism.”
He hopes that sharing his family’s story will encourage others dealing with alcohol, substance abuse, or mental health issues, either personally or with a family member, to start talking about it and get help.
Addressing the Valley’s Most Pervasive Issue
Addressing addiction and substance abuse are among Vail Health’s Eagle Valley Behavioral Health’s (EVBH) top priorities. Although it’s widely accepted in mountain communities to celebrate turns on the slopes, a trek into the backcountry, or a ride on the dirt with a few drinks, overuse and a dependence on alcohol and drugs have taken a toll on residents, workers, and families.
EVBH has made considerable headway in addressing the gaps that have existed for decades in our community, including: driving legislative change in the state; improving access to care locally; building the top crisis response system in Colorado; adding comprehensive training and prevention programs; and placing over 13 behavioral health clinicians in schools. Behavioral health care is now more accessible than ever, thanks to our collaboration with partner organizations and the support from our benefactors.
Turning Loss Into Hope for Others
John is confident that EVBH will address alcoholism, substance abuse, and other mental health challenges with the same momentum.
“Now is the ideal time to support behavioral health. We have the awareness and momentum to create critical resources as awe-inspiring as the scenery,” John says.
If you or a loved one is in crisis and need help, call Your Hope Center at (970) 306-4673. View more addiction resources and programs with Eagle Valley Behavioral Health community partners.
“I’ve gotten so much from the valley; I would like to give back. Eagle Valley Behavioral Health seemed like the perfect fit.”John McCallan