Coming Home: Dave and Amanda Repsher
Published January 23, 2019
They met at a medical class. She was working for Eagle County Ambulance, going to paramedic school, and he was working as a ski patroller at Copper Mountain. For their first date, he took her kayaking.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and they are finally finding their way back home to Silverthorne, a place that’s been Dave’s home since the sixth grade, and Amanda’s for more than 20 years.
Most everyone in Summit County knows Dave Repsher’s name. In 2015, while he was working as a flight nurse, the medical helicopter Dave was riding crashed shortly after takeoff from St. Anthony Summit Medical Center in Frisco. Dave narrowly escaped with his life. Years of medical care and rehabilitation followed, taking him from his beloved hometown to an apartment in Aurora so that he could be close to the hospital where he was receiving treatment.
Coming home was a community effort, and one for which Dave and Amanda are incredibly grateful.
“The biggest thing we were working toward was just that: home,” Dave explained. “Silverthorne is a place that, despite all the growth, still allows me to get on a trail from my neighborhood, and quickly into the wilderness.”
Silverthorne also has a remarkable sense of community, Dave said. “I always knew it was here but didn’t appreciate it until all this happened. The outpouring of support from friends, neighbors and strangers in the town —” (and yes, it’s a big enough place now that there are people you don’t know, he mused) “— it just shows the strength of this community that is here in Silverthorne. Everyone has come together to help us. This was the goal, to come back to this place, to our home.”
Dave is a self-described small-town guy. He describes Silverthorne as the working side of the county. It’s where people live and where they make roots, he says. “If you go to the Recreation Center, everyone waves and says hi. If you’re in a store, it’s hard to shop because people stop you all the time. It is a true community. There’s been a lot of growth, and things are changing, but that feeling remains.”
To fully understand that sense of community and hometown feel, you need to know Turq. A few months before the crash, the Repshers adopted a rescue dog. For the year Dave spent in the ICU, Turq was cared for by a friend, local plumber George Altz. But George’s work takes him away from home for hours at a time, so another friend, nurse Sarah Karges stepped up, creating a dog-walking schedule for Turq and George’s dog Molly. Old friends and new, even strangers, came forward, and Turq and Molly got up to three walks a day! It’s just one of the many kindnesses the Repshers say they’ve been offered. Today, Turq is back at Dave’s side, always aware when Dave is not feeling well, keeping in tune to his needs.
Dave and Amanda are in awe of the support they’ve received from every corner of Summit County and beyond.
“People we’ve never met will stop us and say hi,” they say. “Individuals, businesses, contractors…. The list goes on and on. We don’t know where to begin to start thanking people. It’s an incredible feeling.” That ongoing welcome culminated in an official “welcome home” at a Silverthorne Town Council meeting before the holidays.
And how is the road to recovery and getting back on the trails and other outdoor activities Dave and Amanda love?
“The sky is the limit,” according to Dave.
Dave is back on ice skates, hiking and snowshoeing with Turq, and is still trying to locate his ski boots, which have been packed away for three or more years.
He’s getting closer and closer to getting back on the water — one of his and Amanda’s greatest passions — hopefully by spring. With any luck, he’ll be back to all of his activities, and if not at the same level as before, it’s the anticipation that’s driving him forward.
“That’s my motivation,” Dave said. “All these things are right here. It’s nice to wake up and see mountains. It’s good to be home.”