It wasn’t a positive thing when several downtown businesses burned down six years ago, but positive things have come out of it.
One of those is Burning Down the House, Seasons Rotisserie & Grill’s annual evening to honor the firefighters who responded Feb. 22, 2008. Owners Wayne and Karen Barger donate proceeds from that night to The Hundred Club of Durango. Club members show up immediately to help the families of first responders in the event of an injury or death. They also help their children attend college with a robust scholarship fund.
Seasons is always busy, but on this night, when there are two sold-out seatings, at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., and everyone seems to know everyone else, it was positively abuzz. About 140 dinners were served.
The decor was slightly different for the party, with firemen’s boots, fire hoses and one of those ubiquitous red fire boxes scattered around the restaurant.
The Bargers pull out all the stops, too. They created a special cocktail – a jalapeño-cucumber margarita with agave nectar, lime juice, sour mix and orange juice. To double up on the giving, the featured wine-by-the-glass was Murphy-Goode “Homefront Red,” and for every bottle sold, a donation was made to the Wounded Warrior Project or to Operation Homefront, which provides emergency assistance to the families of service members.
In addition to the regular menu, Executive Chef David Stewart and the kitchen crew behind the grill created some special dishes, including what I was told were the “best mussels ever” by Ellen Noonan. (They had all been enjoyed by the time I was ordering.) The steamed British Columbia mussels were prepared with fire-roasted red peppers, chorizo iberico and parsley.
The wood-grilled Gulf mahi mahi served with crispy polenta, caramelized brussels sprouts and kalamata-olive aioli also sold out, and I heard from folks at my table that the handmade lamb ravioli with Idiazabal cheese, rosemary and rich lamb jus was also pretty scrumptious.
As always at Burning Down the House, the conversation turned to the reason we were there. People remembered where they were when they heard the fire had broken out, mentioned how lucky our community was when no firefighters were killed when the fire exploded out the front windows. (The club was on hand to give checks to those who were injured.)
I sat with Dean and Sandy Brown. Not only have they been actively involved in the Hundred Club since its inception, their daughter-in-law, Mary Monroe Brown, was downstairs meeting with her Trails 2000 board of directors when the fire broke out.
The Bargers will write a nice check for about $1,500 to The Hundred Club, bringing their total donated from this event during its five-year run to more than $10,000.
You may be wondering, “Why is it called The Hundred Club? Do they limit membership to 100 people?” The answer is that the dues are one Benjamin Franklin per year, although of course larger donations are happily accepted.
If you would like to become a member, your tax-deductible donation may be sent to The Hundred Club of Durango, P.O. Box 3146, Durango, CO 81302.
Visit www.durango100club.com to learn more.
Some of these birthday celebrants are enjoying a spring break for their special day, others are asking “Who needs a break from this nonwinter?” In any case, greetings for the day go out to Michael Pratt, Lynda Morris, Kim Hobby, Haley Fleming, Lauri Kloepfer, Anne Swanson, Haley Cotgageorge, Lillian Boe, Randy Bondow, Suzanne Gamble, Louisa Drouet, Carin Garcia, Margie Deane Gray, Susie Fisher, Phyllis Max, Nancy Macho, Carolyn Plested, Jaime Marquez, David Bishop, Troy Bledsoe, Warren Broman, Frank Tikalsky, Jeani Poe, Linda Heaton, Chris Money, Zack Trammell, Emery Miller, Finley Leininger, Nathan Gain, Maddie Robertson, Jamie Marquez, Kristen Roessler, Damen McCaddon, Marian Rizzo, Sandy Seibert, Mason Miller, Ben Anderson, Kathy Black, Marci Wait, Art Cahill, Brittany Jaramillo, Kirk Dignum, Rhonda Messier, Cathy Jones, Marty Schank, Dee Stites, Dora Edgerton, Steve Schwartz, Keith Messier, Teresa Jordan, Bud Halldorsen, Lauri Kloepfer, Haley Fleming, John Gerhart, Janice Martin, Ed McCoola, Cindy McLean, Duane Speh, Julie Ward, Randy Bondown and Jim Schoultz.
Area search-and-rescue personnel have been busy and working in dangerous conditions this week as they helped rescue a skier who got lost going out of bounds at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort and searched for the bodies of two avalanche victims, a snowmobiler in the La Plata Mountains and a Wolf Creek ski patrolman near Conejos Peak.
It was a reminder of just how valuable rescuers are in an area where so much land is administered by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, among other agencies, providing significant opportunities for backcountry adventuring.
So it’s the perfect time to remind folks that it’s spring skiing at DMR and time for Steamworks Clam Bake on the “beach” outside Purgy’s to benefit La Plata County Search and Rescue.
A piping hot bowl of “steamed” clams, complete with corn on the cob and potatoes plus a Steamworks brew (or the brewer’s Lil’ Toot root beer for the nonimbibers) will be served up for $7 from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday.
The fun will include live music courtesy of Bacon, a groove-based funk band, and the special tapping of a firkin of Irish Car Bomb (not a political statement, they are quick to add), based on Steamworks’ Backside Stout, fermented a second time with Irish and Jameson whiskey flavors.
The volunteers of our search and rescue are called out at all hours of the day and night and face all kinds of hazardous conditions. Money raised will enable them to buy equipment and pay for training so they’re ready for whatever they may face.
Enjoying the first crocuses (croci? Webster’s says both are correct.) of spring for their anniversaries are Bill and Joyce Watt, Jim and Carol Lewin, Cliff and Marilyn Summers, Miles and Cheryl Lillard, David and Dora Chavez (70!), and Bill and Anne Butler O’Flanagan (no relation as far as we know).
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