Dr. Thomas Steinberg, Vail’s first full-time physician and the longest serving member of the Vail Town Council, has been selected as the first recipient of the Vail Trailblazer Award. Dr. Steinberg will be recognized during the Town of Vail’s 50th birthday celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 23.
Presented by the Vail Town Council, the Vail Trailblazer Award has been established as an annual civic recognition to honor an individual, couple or team that exemplifies the spirit and determination in making Vail a great community through selfless contributions of time and talent.
Dr. Steinberg will be in attendance to receive the award as part of Tuesday’s 50th birthday ceremonies at Donovan Pavilion. Doors open at 4 p.m. with the program beginning at 5:15 p.m. in which the town’s community accomplishments and the people that made it happen will be recognized.
Vail Mayor Dave Chapin will present the award to Dr. Steinberg with additional remarks from former Mayor Peggy Osterfoss and Dr. Jack Eck, the director of development for Vail Valley Medical Center who was hired by Steinberg in 1971.
Dr. Steinberg’s presence in the community
has been felt for more than 50 years, arriving in 1965 with wife, Florence, and their two young children, Kristina and Erik, after answering an ad for a full-time physician in a new ski town. His 25-year presence as a practicing physician in Vail contributed to the eventual establishment of a new hospital along with expanded medical services.
Not long after starting his medical practice, Dr. Steinberg began a lifelong commitment of public service in Vail. He was elected to his first term on the Vail Town Council in 1968. Through the decades, he has served a total of 19 years on Town Council – more than any other member. During those years of service, he was instrumental in the acquisition of land to be used for parks and open space, such as the Antholz property which is now Ford Park. He also helped develop a comprehensive hiking system that includes the Vail Trail as its first leg, and was instrumental in creating a dedicated environmental planner position in the Community Development Department in 1992.
Today, Dr. Steinberg continues to work on behalf of environmental conservation initiatives where he serves as President Emeritus of the Eagle Valley Land Trust and Eagle River Watershed Council.
In addition, Dr. Steinberg has been responsible for helping to raise the community’s consciousness about the atrocities of the Holocaust. As a private in the U.S. Army during World War II, Dr. Steinberg was among the American and Allied troops who liberated the Dachau concentration camp in April 1945. During his military service, he was awarded the Bronze Star for bravery. Years later, Dr. Steinberg was instrumental in creation of Holocaust Remembrance Day observed by the Vail Town Council.
Throughout his career, Dr. Steinberg has continued to help address the varying needs of the community. He helped provide a space for the local chapter of Alcoholic Anonymous to meet and most recently campaigned for support of the new Castle Peak Senior Care Community in Eagle which will open in fall 2016. As an additional tribute, Vail Valley Medical Center has created the Thomas I. Steinberg Heritage Society for those making a legacy gift to VVMC in their estate plans.
As the first recipient of the Vail Trailblazer Award, Mayor Chapin says there’s no one more deserving than Dr. Steinberg. “His passion and dedication to this community for the past 50 years has been extraordinary,” he said. “I’m honored to have this opportunity to represent the greater community in offering our thanks and admiration for his many contributions.”
In addition to Tuesday’s tribute, Dr. Steinberg will be honored with a mayor’s proclamation that will be read into the public record at the Sept. 6 Vail Town Council meeting.
For more information about the Vail Trailblazer Award and additional details about Dr. Steinberg’s lifelong community contributions, visit the town’s website at vailgov.com.