Ninety ­three years young, Marcia Walsh has climbed Kilimanjaro twice, the Dolomites in England, Cinque Terra in Italy, a volcano in Tanzania, and the Inca Trail in Peru. She’s also twice biked Ride the Rockies, one of the longest running bike tours in the country that spans 308 miles and 27,000 feet of elevation.

Marcia on Ride the Rockies.

“I’m consumed with helping others as much as I am about preserving our land.”

Marcia received her nursing degree at age 60, journeyed to various third world countries, became a medical missionary for Haiti and has visited over two dozen times working with Colorado Haiti Project (CHP). Her vivacious spirit, strong faith, love of humanity, combined with two artificial knees and two artificial hips, assist her unyielding motivation and strong determination to serve no matter where she is or whom she’s with.

Born in Woodstock, Illinois, Marcia’s mom moved her young family to Sheridan, Wyoming when Marcia was 5 years old. She recalls, “My father abandoned us shortly before we moved to Wyoming. My last memory of him was him taking me roller skating shortly before our move. Mom married her second husband who was a chemistry teacher at the local high school. He left us to serve the Navy during World War II. When mom sent me to a summer camp, I met a young camper who was stricken with polio and confined within an iron lung. This young boy made a lasting impression upon me. All we could do was wave to one another, but it was enough to inspire me to live life to the fullest.”

Marcia and Michael.

Marcia met the love of her life, Michael Walsh, when both were students at Sheridan High School. “Michael and I fell head over heels when he was nominated King of Hearts and I was nominated Queen of Hearts for our high school homecoming. His father was both brand inspector and Sheridan’s deputy sheriff. I’ve heard it said that if you like the father, you’ll love the son, which I found to be true. Michael’s father was widely revered, and when he died, numerous Indian tribal leaders throughout Sheridan County and beyond attended his funeral.”

After high school graduation, Marcia went to Jacksonville, Illinois to attend MacMurray worked until Michael completed his undergraduate degree as well as his master’s in geology,” she remembers.

Starting a family that would consist of six children, Michael embarked upon an impressive career as a geologist. The Walshs moved to Billings, Montana, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Casper, Wyoming, then landed in southeast Denver. “Michael wanted to be near the Rocky Mountains, and he became the Chief Geologist for Consolidated Oil and Gas. We moved to Denver and met Father Ed Morgan while attending St. Joseph’s Episcopal Church in Lakewood. He was one of three who founded the Colorado Haiti Project. Whenever he spoke of Haiti, tears rolled down his face. It was then that I told Michael, ‘I’m going to Haiti.’ I obtained my nursing degree from Emily Griffith School of Opportunity when I was 60, and Life Care Center of Evergreen hired me as a Charge Nurse. Michael quipped, ‘So, you’re finally going to earn some money?’ We built our dream home in Soda Creek in the late ’70s, and sadly, he suffered a heart attack and passed in 1995. It was then, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for the first time as a means to console my grief.”

Haiti’s devastating 2010 earthquake.

When a large-scale earthquake hit Haiti full throttle on January 12, 2010, Marcia immediately headed for Haiti. “Never have I experienced such devastation. The Haitians lost everything. They scavenged for food, disease was rampant, and large trucks did their best to move people and debris. To say it was overwhelming is an understatement. Returning home, I thought visiting our vacation home in the Cayman Islands would soothe my soul, but no. I cried harder than I ever had, feeling full of guilt. The plight of the Haitians consumed me, so I started working with numerous teams that were taking volunteers—many of them young people—to Haiti. Once there, they readily realized they shouldn’t be so obsessed with material things as they witnessed how happy Haitian children were to receive food and clothing. Because of that experience, I became intent on taking my grandchildren to third world countries. It touched my heart to witness their genuine concern and desire to do all they could for the Haitian people.”

“Haitians are happy people, and they know the importance of what is relevant to life,” Marcia says. “In spite of the atrocities that plague Haiti, the people remain resilient. Poverty is so excruciating that the majority of Haitians grow their own food. Safe shelter, education and healthcare are also sparse. It’s been said that ‘Haiti is the place to discover how much can be done with little.’ A Haitian proverb claims, ‘Tout moun, se moun. Every person is a person, which means everyone deserves to be treated as a human being.’”

Living life comfortably in Evergreen has never been Marcia’s ambition. She says, “I’ve been associated with the Colorado Haiti Project for over 25 years, and helped establish a medical and dental clinic that helped a section of Haiti with a population of 15,000–20,0000 people. Colorado Haiti Project is also responsible for starting a school, establishing microcredit and digging 12 wells. I’m also proud to say Evergreen has over 200 nonprofits. That’s what’s most important to me regarding our community. I’m consumed helping others as much as I am about preserving our land. I proudly worked with PLAN JeffCo to create our Open Space Park System. We were the first county in the United States to tax ourselves to ensure our Open Space land would never be developed.”

Now 93 ½ years old (she wanted to be sure I added the ‘1⁄2’), Marcia remains as vibrant and cause-driven as she was when I met her in 1997. She might wrestle with her hearing aids, and perhaps she’s slowed down just a tad, but meeting people at the point of their need remains her primary objective—proven by the fact that she goes to a local bar/restaurant after church every Sunday to mingle with strangers. She’s engrossed in a conversation the day of our interview with one who has experienced an abundance of abuse. When I approach our table, Marcia ropes me into the conversation and attempts to console this emotionally vulnerable being. Marcia’s love knows no boundaries no matter where she is or what she’s doing.

After our lengthy interview, she ends our time with quotes. “Mark Twain said, ‘Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, you do better. ’ Maya Angelou said, “ I keep both quotes in mind daily.”

Marcia Walsh is a woman who walks her talk and is living proof that actions always speak louder than words.