- Ann Butler, Durango Herald
Annual Banquet Honors Public Service
The place was hopping with representatives from La Plata County agencies, including those who spoke on behalf of their departments – Interim Chief Lynn Johnson of the Durango Police Department, Chief Hal Doughty of the Durango Fire Protection District, Sheriff Sean Smith of the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, Fire Marshal Tom Kaufman of the Upper Pine Fire Protection District and Maj. George Dingselder, commander of the Colorado State Patrol District 5, who traveled from Alamosa for the festivities.
Club President Jerry Martinez served as master of ceremonies, thanking longtime legal counsel Denny Ehlers and Michael McLachlan, especially McLachlan, who is stepping down, as well as former Board Presidents Don Mapel, Jasper Welch and Dean Brown for their service.
Martinez also recognized Rod and Robin Turner, who have attended every banquet – except one, when they made sure to send their daughter and son-in-law, Laurel and David Waller. Martinez also pointed out Kaufman and wife, Cheryl, whose two daughters were the first recipients of Hundred Club scholarships. The scholarships, by the way, are not chump change – $1,000 per semester as long as a student maintains grade point averages and is in good standing.
Amber Harwig represented the students who are currently scholarship holders. Others in attendance included Ariel Turner, Colton Walton and Caitlin Martin.
Because the banquet also serves as the annual meeting, Mapel gave a financial report, Julie Holligan Westendorff presented the scholarship recipients and Eric Hjermstad updated the club on membership. (They added 20 new members that evening, a good tally.)