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The wife and children of Dave Cook, the Corrales businessman who went missing during a 2016 mountain climbing trip in Colorado, have launched a fundraiser for search and rescue operations. Maureen Cook and children Ryan, Sara and  Kate unveiled their online Dave Gives Back fund earlier this month in conjunction with National Search and Rescue Week.

Proceeds form the sale of T-shirts, caps, coffee mugs and many other custom items will go to those organizations, especially Mountain Rescue Aspen. (See Corrales Comment Vol. XXXV No.16 October 8, 2016 “Search Halted for Missing Corrales Mountaineer.”)

The search continued the following spring and summer.

“It was very difficult to watch the many search and rescue volunteers put their lives on the line attempting ground and air searches, and exposing themselves to the potential of injury with their extreme terrain and weather in the Elk Mountain range,” Maureen Cook explained in starting the Dave Gives Back campaign. “We will forever be grateful for their efforts even though we have yet to find Dave.”

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Her husband disappeared September 19, 2016 after parking his car at a trail head to begin climbing his 47th Colorado peak in excess of 14,000 feet. He had been expected to call back to his family September 20, but word never came that he was safe. Founder and chief executive officer of Right Sized Inventory, a software solution to inventory control, Cook was an experienced climber, guide and outdoorsman. The 49 year old former Marine had planned to summit Pyramid Peak and then Maroon and North Maroon Peaks.

The search effort was joined by several of his friends in Corrales and Albuquerque. Snow covered much of the search area, the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office reported. The last confirmed sighting of Cook was made by a U.S. Forest Service employee near Maroon Lake in the morning September 20.

The father of three is the son-in-law of Joanie and Dennis McSweeney. In a statement when the initial search was abandoned, family members noted, “As an experienced mountaineer with love for the outdoors and mountain climbing, he has completed 48 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains. He went up on Maroon Bells on September 19 in Aspen, Colorado. He planned to spend that Monday and Tuesday hiking the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak.

“We would like to give special thanks to the Pitkin County Sheriff Office, the search and rescue team of Mountain Rescue Aspen, the other teams from surrounding areas that came in to help, the volunteers and all those who assisted in this search.
“For those who are unfamiliar with the Maroon Bells, please note that the hiking and climbing routes have areas of very dangerous terrain. We would like to raise awareness that the peaks are among the most difficult of the Colorado ‘Fourteeners.’”

The Dave Gives Back website, davegivesback.org, includes a reproduction of the eight goals to live by that Cook posted on notecards above his desk: Have a Positive Attitude; Physical Training, Live Healthy; Motivate Yourself and Others; Earn Respect; Set Goals; Live with Integrity; Mentoring; and Have Fun.”

She expressed thanks for those in Corrales and elsewhere who have supported her family during their time of grief. “Our family is so grateful to live in such a supportive community, and we will always appreciate every ounce of kindness that was extended to us throughout the most difficult days of our lives. With time and support, we have found our footing, and while we miss Dave terribly, we now see a path toward giving back to our community and those in need while honoring Dave.”

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