On Jan. 3, our son Michael Gebhardt was killed in an avalanche on Soda Mountain. We would like to express our deepest and sincere thanks to Michael's friends and the Steamboat Springs community for their outpouring of sympathy, love, support and understanding. Without you, it would have been much more difficult to deal with this tragedy.
Michael made Steamboat his home for nearly four years. He loved it here. Each time we visited, we saw how happy he was, and that made us happy. We feel very fortunate to have met so many of Michael's friends.
There is only love and respect for Michael's brother, Philip, and friends Billy Grimes and Jason Johnson. Their heroic efforts to rescue and save Michael will always be remembered. We are forever grateful to you.
Our sincere thanks go to all who attended Michael's memorial service. The stories and experiences you shared with us have given us support and solace. We also would like to thank everyone who has given gifts to the Michael Gebhardt Memorial Fund. It is our hope to work together to have a memorial in Steamboat, which will capture Michael's spirit and love of the outdoors and nature.
We would like to thank Rob Ryg, Routt County coroner, for his understanding and professionalism. He is an exceptional human being. Thank you also to Search and Rescue, the Routt County Sheriff's Department, the Colorado Avalanche Center and Yampa Valley Funeral Home. We recognize that each of you had jobs to do, and we thank you for the kindness and understanding you afforded us.
We are especially grateful to Angela Robinson and her staff. You did everything possible to make a most difficult situation a bit calmer. Thank you also to Dan "The Man" Van Devender and his staff. Your friendship is most special, as is that of Kate Holmes, John Trolley, Billy and Amanda Grimes, Jason Johnson, Zach Zietz and Jeanine Dinome. All of you became our family and home away from home.
We also would like to thank Mike and Kathy Diemer, who opened the doors of their restaurant for a night of remembrance. Our heartfelt thanks go to Bina Shah and Donny Leavitt for the beautiful memory and tribute cards, and many thanks also to Aryeh Copa for capturing Michael's spirit through his photography.
Once again, please accept our sincere thanks. We hope that we have not overlooked anyone. We know that Michael touched many people and hope that his love of life will live on. In his memory, smile often, laugh heartily, live well and love. Do a random act of kindness and think of Michael.
Please know that the Steamboat community and Michael's friends will be close to our hearts always. We have lost a son, but have gained a family. Thank you so very much.
Rosemary and Peter Gebhardt