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Valley View to put last 50 years into print

April E. Clark

Jim Nelson knows so much about Glenwood Springs, he has written six books on the city – and he’s adding one more to his list.In conjunction with Valley View Hospital’s 50th anniversary this fall, the author-publisher is compiling a half-century worth of historical facts, photographs, personal stories and memorabilia.”The hospital gave me the honor of writing it,” said Nelson, a Nebraska native who wrote “Glenwood Springs – The History of a Rocky Mountain Resort,” “A Quick History of Glenwood Springs” and “A Quick History of Marble & Redstone.” “I have collected a lot of photos, some old, some not so old and gotten a lot of writing done. The ladies’ auxiliary, which is now the hospital auxiliary, has a magnificent collection of memories in a scrapbook that has been a great source of information.”Nelson, who has lived in Glenwood Springs with his wife, Mary, since 1973, began working on the Valley View book in September. He said he has been fortunate to communicate with the hospital’s first administrator, Samuel Janzen, who is now in his 80s and lives in a retirement home in Virginia.”When originally started, Valley View contracted with Mennonites because one arm of their religion is volunteering and working in the health-care field,” Nelson said. “Sam Janzen came to Glenwood Springs with his family and brought other Mennonites with him to run the project. He was the hospital’s first administrator, the first pastor of the valley’s Mennonite church and the administrator of Valley View’s first nursing home. He was a very busy man, and had eight kids. I tracked him down through a Mennonite Web site, and we have written letters and e-mailed back and forth.” To honor Valley View’s five decades of serving Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties, Nelson said, Janzen plans to make a return trip to Glenwood Springs for the hospital’s celebration and the book’s release in late August or early September.Along with recounting the hospital’s history with Janzen, Nelson is interested in speaking with other Mennonites and former board members who helped establish the community-based hospital in 1955.”Some of the Mennonites who came with Sam are still here,” he said. “I want to sit down with some of the old-timers. Sadly, as of yet, I haven’t had the chance.”Until April 15, Nelson may not have the chance. He shares his love of writing with what he calls his “real-life” occupation – accounting.”I am living proof that right-left brain integration really works,” said Nelson, who has published two fiction novels, “Compulsive” and “The Case of the Blue Chicken.” “Writing comes easy for me, and it started as a hobby. When I’m really cooking, it’s almost a magical experience.”Let the magic begin.


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