My name is Neal Elinoff and I live in Telluride.
Here is a little info about me. I have 4 grown children living in NY, Chicago and San Diego and together with my wife of 10 years, Karla, we've recently adopted three abandoned sisters from Honduras; Emili (9), Karlita (12) and Dayan (13). We've been caring for them for almost two years in the capital city of Tegucigalpa and moved them this past spring to the Island of Roatan for safety (Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world) and a better school. Dona Minerva, an “abuelita” (grandmotherly nanny) lives with them, cooks for them and makes sure they do their homework because we've not been able to get their visas, yet. To imagine what it was like for them in Tegucigalpa, they lived behind razor wire and steel gates, leaving their little home only to get on a bullet-proof mini-bus for school 5 days a week. This is no way for children to grow up, but it was a lot better than their orphanage, the description of which could be another blog story of its own. (Disclosure: my wife’s half-brother was the father to these three girls before the state of Honduras took them into the state orphanage.)
Karla and I own a small retail store in Telluride that sells higher-end jewelry and fine art, and we also have a couple of rental condos that we rent out to tourists and visitors. All of this keeps us busy year ‘round.
I grew up in Denver, studied Statistics at CU, went to Medical School in Grenada, lived in Houston where I started my first family and also Neal’s Ice Cream & Neal’s Cookies stores, lived in Chicago where I invented a counter-top commercial coffee roaster, and finally opened a restaurant in Silverthorne before moving to Telluride in 1995 and getting into the gallery business.
Except for 12 years in Houston and Chicago, I've lived nearly all my life in Colorado and for the last 18 years, I've been in Telluride.
Before moving to Telluride, I enjoyed fundraising for non-profits and still intend to get back into that, especially since finding out that the Red Cross is 100% donor funded. Explaining to people, even strangers, the ethical need to do something for others who are less fortunate is what gives me the foundation for volunteering, myself. In later blogs, I’d like to write about ethics; what it is and how it affects happiness for both self and others. Indeed, it is the very foundation we use for volunteering and can be explained rationally, even for atheists and agnostics. In the meantime, look for my monthly posts covering Western and Southwest Colorado. I hope you’ll join me in making our region the most effective volunteers and fundraisers in the nation.