Community Table

From Red Cross Heroes Karen and Tom Nern to SheLift Founder Sarah Herron, our Fantasy Guest List

Here’s whom we’d invite if we could entertain this season’s most interesting visitors, locals, and newsmakers.

By Cindy Hirschfeld Illustrations by Jen Gillette July 2, 2020 Published in the Summer/Fall 2020 issue of Aspen Sojourner


Karen and Tom Nern
Last winter, this doctor and her husband, who run dermatology centers in Aspen and Vail, helped dig out and revive a skier who was stuck upside down in deep snow—all the way up to his ski boots—on Vail Mountain; in February, they received American Red Cross Adult Lifesaving awards for their heroic actions.

Scott Gilbert
After stepping in post-career to lead Habitat for Humanity Roaring Fork Valley for 15 years, which included guiding construction of the innovative Basalt Vista affordable housing community and a huge new ReStore facility, this overachiever has more than earned his recent second retirement.



Lara Whitley
This Aspen creative hangs her hat on artistic endeavors like an ethereal “cabin” of mining-era glass fragments, but recently she sprang into action as a sewer extraordinaire, using found and donated fabric to make 150 masks last spring, which she generously gave away—future relics of our time.


Jason Mehl
The local sculptor was chosen from a national call to design the prestigious new Rainwater Prize, given for cutting-edge research in neurodegenerative disease treatment worldwide; he cast the abstract award, suitably inspired by dendrites, in bronze with a pecan wood base.


Sarah Herron
Once a Bachelor contestant, now the founder of the nonprofit SheLift, the Carbondale resident—who was born with only the upper part of her left arm—aims to inspire women with physical differences to gain confidence and self-empowerment through outdoor adventures.

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