For proud dad, life has hit a high point after family tragedy in 1995
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Greg McKennis can’t remember a happier time in his life.
His older daughter, Kendra, gave birth to a baby girl in December and his younger daughter, Alice, is a newly minted Olympian.
It doesn’t get much better than that.
“It’s really the most wonderful period of my life,” he proudly proclaimed. “To see both my girls doing so well in their lives, to have a granddaughter, just to experience the most wonderful, highest points any parent can have for their children, I can’t think of a time, ever, in life that has been quite as spectacular and rewarding and wonderful.”
Greg, Kendra and baby Jill, named for her late grandmother, are all in British Columbia for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. They are there to support Alice in what they hope is her first of many Olympic appearances for the 20-year-old alpine skier.
It’s only fitting that the family that’s always skied together will assemble as one as Alice competes on the biggest stage she’s ever known.
Greg, who grew up in Vermont and dabbled in cross-country ski racing, introduced his daughters to the slopes at young ages.
The family used skiing as a way to cope with the loss of Greg’s wife, Jill, who died in a car accident while driving to a horse show in Wyoming in the summer of 1995.
“When a horrible event like that happens in a family, you have to move on with something,” Alice said.
And skiing was the outlet.
“We stayed busy with skiing. It was definitely a way to cope with it, to keep on with life,” she said.
Alice and Kendra inherited the ski genes from both parents. Like Greg, Jill knew her way around a ski mountain.
“She was a rec skier, but she was very competent,” Greg said. “She could ski any hill, any trail.”
Greg knows that, wherever Jill is, she’s just as proud of their daughter as he is.
“Oh yes,” he said. “No doubt.”
With Jill constantly in their thoughts, the McKennis family has carved out quite the life since tragedy struck nearly 15 year ago, a happy life in which Vancouver will take center stage this week.
“To see both my girls doing so well in their lives, to have a granddaughter, just to experience the most wonderful, highest points any parent can have for their children, I can’t think of a time, ever, in life that has been quite as spectacular and rewarding and wonderful.”
And Alice couldn’t be happier for her father, the man who introduced her to the slopes.
“I know he’s super excited to be a grandpa and to go to the Olympics and everything,” Alice said. “Things are going good for us.”
As Alice takes center stage at the Olympics, Greg will always have his daughters and granddaughter at the center of his life.
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