When the King of rock 'n' roll, aka Elvis, makes an appearance, you know fun cannot be far behind.
In his most recent incarnation, courtesy of Allen Haight, the king kept the gang hopping at a cocktail party that accompanied the Columbine Golf Tournament. The philanthropy chosen to receive the money raised both by the golf and the live and silent auctions was the Mercy Breast Care Center.
It was a special event indeed, because, if patrons proved generous, it would prove to be the final fundraiser needed to conclude the $3.4 million capital campaign for the center. Fal Woods, the golf pro at Dalton, didn't let everyone's need to catch up with old friends get in the way of raising the last $11,000 needed.
The staff from Mercy Regional Medical Center's Imaging Department did its part, offering semi-permanent silk-fiber hair extensions children and adults alike were getting. A wide array of silent auction items including hand-knitted golf-club covers, golfing and fishing excursions and even a gourmet basket courtesy of My Gourmet Café enticed bidders to ante up.
When Elvis wasn't getting his licks in on his guitar, newlywed Jonas Grushkin provided the soundtrack on his keyboard.
The schematics for the new Breast Care Center were on display at the event. Mercy Health Foundation Senior Director Karen Midkiff told me the groundbreaking will take place shortly after this holiday weekend with a scheduled opening in October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This will be a significant addition to the health-care offerings in our area, and it's exciting to know the cutting of a pink ribbon is in our near future.
Thanks to all of the volunteers and donors who are making this a reality.
Fireworks are brightening the sky for the birthdays of Melanie Brubaker Mazur, Matt Bracewell, Moni Grushkin, Joyce Wood, Gloria Cherry, June Walker, Greg Maxey, Leanne Jordan, Evelyn Schlumberger, Deck Shaline, Neil Johnson, Clark Lagow, Rachael McCoola, Kelsey McLean, Karen Freeman, Mary Santistevan, Elisabeth Leake, Sally E. Silva and Marv Dworkin.
During the holidays, people give generously to Manna Soup Kitchen and the Durango Food Bank, which is great. But people need to eat every day of the year, and the food bank has the additional challenge of not having its own home.
On June 12, Bank of the San Juans held its 10th annual golf tournament at Dalton Ranch Golf Club. (I know, two charity golf tournament items in a row at Dalton Ranch - what can I say? 'Tis the season.)The recipient of the proceeds, which was selected by bank staff members, was the Durango Food Bank's capital campaign to purchase a much needed new space.
The event raised $22,750, which food bank Executive Director Sarah Smith said could not be coming at a better time. A lot more people need help to feed their families when the economy is in a recession.
For golfers, a tournament like this could hardly be a better deal. Each individual's $150 entry fee included greens fees, a golf cart, lunch, a goody bag and access to the silent auction and prizes. For the community, their fun and generosity is a great way to help those who are struggling.
One thing that makes a tournament like this a success is the sponsors. For this golf tournament, Steamworks Brewing Co., Goldman, Robbins and Nicholson, P.C., Fiji Water, Durango Mountain Resort, Kogan Builders and Century 21 stepped up to the tee.
Of course, you don't have to be a golfer to help out the Durango Food Bank with food for immediate needs or in its capital campaign. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Durango Food Bank, 989 South Camino del Rio, Durango, CO 81303. And the next time you go grocery shopping, don't forget to drop off some nonperishable items in the bins there.
On Tuesday, it was my honor to attend the Rotary Club of Durango's Changeover Party, when one president hands the gavel - and the club - off to the next. President Dwight Burgess, and his wife, Katherine, invited me to be their guest at what turned out to be the inaugural party at Rod and Laurie Barker's Wagon Road Ranch, which is out on Junction Creek Road.
The couple has remodeled the home of Dr. John and Janet Watson into a great place for family reunions and other gatherings.
After everyone enjoyed happy hour, it was time to introduce the guests. It became a bit of a competition to see how long various couples had been married, with the hands-down championship going to LaVern and Loranell Nelson, who have been married for 61 years.
Then it was time for Strater Executive Chef David Cuntz to serve up a delightful meal of corn pudding, salad, baked potatoes and grilled salmon and steak. But it was the dessert that was killer - an utterly scrumptious blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream.
(Cuntz was featured in Thursday's Aspen Times after he participated in the Food & Wine Magazine Classic there last month. The paper's food critic raved about Cuntz's menu at The Mahogany Grill and other food venues at the Strater Hotel, especially the pork posole at breakfast, Steak Herbert and the fantastic scallops.)A fun part of the changeover is the sale of the fine money. Throughout the year, the club fines members who brag about their children, or themselves, celebrate a birthday or anniversary or whose names appear in The Durango Herald. (Because my name is in at least twice a week, I could go broke in this club!) No one knows exactly how much the fine money has amounted to by the end of the year, but the bidding is high to get it - the winning bid money goes to Paul Harris Fellowships through the Rotary International Foundation.
This year, auction emcee Mark Hill encouraged Roger and Andrea Ptolemy to invest $2,400 to see what was in the bag - although I don't know if we'll ever know how much they got back.
Dwight Burgess talked about what the club had done during his tenure - quite a bit, it turned out, including adding eight new members, supporting Durango Cares through the San Juan Basin Health Department and the Durango/La Plata Senior Center and conducting local and foreign projects.
Burgess also announced his selection for Rotarian of the Year. It went to a very deserving Joe Colgan, a past president who recruited new members, always shows up for service projects and has always been a generous contributor. He then gave President-Elect Andrea Mull (who will serve in 2010-2011) and incoming Vice President Mark Bowen their official Rotary pins for the upcoming year.
Assistant District Governor Clyde Church and LaVern Nelson presented Burgess with a Rotary wheel symbol/wine holder Nelson had made in his shop, along with a Presidential Citation from 2009-2010 Rotary International President Dong Kum Lee for reaching several major goals for the club including growth and fundraising.
Then it was time to perform his final duty and hand off to the president for 2009-10, Natambu Obleton. He is ready and willing to take over a new year with the 80-year-old club.
The evening ended with a fun trip to one of the ponds on the ranch to watch Rod Barker feed the trout. It was quite a show.
One way to help any service club raise money for its projects is to attend its events. The Rotary Club of Durango is having one of its biggest, the All-American Breakfast from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. today at Rotary Park.
Nothing says happy anniversary like fireworks and parades for Elsa and Emil Nagy, Jim and Liz Callard and Dan and Robin Goldman.
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