By Ann Butler
As a professional partygoer, there’s nothing I hate more than hearing, “This was one of the best events I ever attended,” about an event I missed.
But that’s exactly what I heard about both the Sept. 9 Hollywood in the Rockies celebration at the Powerhouse Science Center and the production of “The Guys” the day after. Wendie Malick and Dan Lauria have both delighted us with performances and appearances in the past, thanks to Hermosa residents Christina Erteszek’s and Fritz Geisler’s longtime friendship with Malick. I’ve enjoyed interviewing both of the actors, so I know Durangoans had fun getting to know them in a more personal way then on the television screen.
The event was a fundraiser organized by New Face Productions to benefit the Durango Arts Center and six local first responder agencies – the Colorado State Patrol, Flight for Life, Durango Fire Protection District, the K-9 Unit of the Durango Police Department, La Plata County Search and Rescue and the La Plata County Sheriff’s Department. Committee member Debra Parmenter tells me it’s the most successful event New Face has put on since it started in 2010.
These volunteers sponsored two of my favorite exhibits in recent years, the National Jewelry Exhibit and a spectacular textile exhibit with entries from around the world, in addition to numerous other educational and visual/performing arts programming.
They know how to put on a party. Durangourmet prepared an extensive menu, including Thai vegetable wraps with peanut dipping sauce; hummus bruschetta with Kalamata olive tapenade, virgin olive oil and piñon nuts; a slider bar including buffalo with chipotle aioli, local beef prepared with root beer barbecue sauce and salmon with teriyaki glaze; a carving station with tri-tip steak rubbed with chipotle and molasses; and a side dish of pecan-maple roasted sweet potatoes; a salad bar with roasted beet salad, grilled cauliflower with cherry tomatoes and spinach and a baby spinach salad with dates and almonds; followed by sweets, including Barb Mills’ cookies and dessert bars and blueberry-peach cobbler. Sutcliffe Vineyards provided the fruit of the grape, and Carver Brewing Co. beer was also offered.
But of course, the most meaningful part was having so many first responders attending events that commemorated the heroic actions of first responders on 9/11, and pretty much every day of the year.
Both Malick and Lauria spoke at the event at the Powerhouse and after the performance at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, which had more than 500 people in attendance.
La Plata County resident Susan Cross, who was training with her company at the World Trade Center on that fateful day, spoke about her experience and also about how helpful all the departments of first responders were during the ordeal. I often feel for Cross, being called upon to speak about that day over and over again as anniversaries fly by. Most of us would prefer not to have to repeatedly relive one of the worst experiences of our lives, but she graciously steps up, particularly when it’s a chance to honor first responders.
Events like this are successful not just because of ticket and auction sales, but thanks to sponsors who help cover the overhead. For this event, there were more than 30 individuals, businesses and foundations who wanted to be part of the commemoration.
Top sponsors included the Erteszek Family Foundation, JM Jones and Jim Mohle, Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool, Parmenter and Terry Bacon and TRISTAR Risk Management.
They would be happy for me just to thank their sponsors, but I think the organizers should get a round of applause. So in addition to those I’ve mentioned, here’s to Petra Hinke, Regina Hogan, JM Jones, Tim Kapustka, Phyllis Max, Carol Salomon, Jill Schuman, Becky Surmeier, Debbie Wright and Peggy Zemach.
HHHCheck back at durangoherald.com for more Neighbors stories and photos. Neighbors moves this week to its new home on Sunday in the print edition of The Durango Herald.Here’s how to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone 375-4584; mail items to the Herald; or drop them off at the front desk. Please include contact names and phone numbers for all items. Follow me on Twitter @Ann_Neighbors.