Broomfield Rotary


The History Was Recorded on May 3, 2007 By Joe Mazzola

Updated in 2023 By Lary Haas

On March 22, 1958, the Newly Formed Broomfield Rotary Club was Admitted into the Rotary International
There was an active membership of twenty-six charter members at the time.   These first Rotarians were John W. Berg, Dale N. Bridgewater, John J. Brosius, George A. Cathy, Theodore F. Damme, Harold D. Ferguson, Charles K. Gibson, Josef  C. Hallback, Earnest McCulluch, Don Milliman, Louis A. Miller, Albert E. Morr, James O. Mullen, Leon Rasmussen, Kenneth A. Pearson, Jerry Russell, Marvin G. Schnell, Donald Schray, Gene L. Shaw, John R. Shaw, Joseph R. Sullivan, Merle Swank, Victor C. Thomas, James R. Van Buskirk, William M. Wilson, and Raymond T. Yosten.

"As People of Action our mission is to change lives in our community and the world by providing impactful services and support."

The first Club Officers
James R. Vanbuskerk took the office as president of the new Rotary Club. 
Merle Swank served as vice-president, Raymond T. Yosten became secretary/treasure and Theodore Damme acted as Sergeant-at Arms.
The first Board of Directors
The Board of Directors were Jim Van Buskirk, Merle Swank, Louis Miller, Leon Rasmussen and John Berg. 

Finding a Meeting Place in Their Small Community Proved to be the First Challenge.

During its early years, Broomfield Rotary struggled finding a home.  The Club’s first weekly meetings were on Tuesday evenings, at the ‘Ye Olde Lantern Still, a local landmark on the south side of 120th. Other local taverns and meeting halls included the Rendezvous, the Oasis Café, Mary’s Café (Great Scotts Eatery), the Manor Motel dining room, the Miramonte Club, the Elks Club, Ball Brothers Facility, Humphrey’s Restaurant, Eagle Trace Golf Course (The Broomfield Country Club), and the Ranch Country Club
‘The Rendezvous’ (now, ‘Roosters Bar & Patio’) offered a basement meeting room that seemed to fit the needs of the club in spite of  the stairwell  low ceiling  that often caused injuries to the heads of the taller Rotarians as they negotiated the last step down into this lower room.   A visiting Rotary District Governor fell victim to this architectural error and left Broomfield with a noticeable lump on his head
The club was asked to leave the Manor dining room following a dispute between a member and the management over the soup and salad.  It seems that anyone arriving late to the dinner meeting was denied soup or salad; a situation that clearly angered at least one member!   Thus began the long, often complicated, search for a permanent meeting place.
Early in the 1970’s, Broomfield Rotary Club signed an agreement with the Miramonte Club on 10th Avenue.  This arrangement proved successful for both the Rotarians and the Miramonte owners. 
Sometimes, the Miramonte Club did not have cooks to supply the necessary meal so the Rotarians found caterers willing to bring in food.  When the Elks Club became the new managers of the Miramonte Club, the Rotarians stayed on with members of the Elks doing the cooking….and serving beverages. 

In 1987, Rotary International Opened its Membership to Women

Broomfield Rotary Club welcomed the change immediately and began recruiting business women.  These new members added a different perspective on many issues and contributed greatly to the success of projects undertaken by Broomfield Rotary.
Here we see fellow Rotarian Kimberly Groom, winner of a grant from NextCycle.   Kimberly is explaining how the funds are being used to develop processes that convert plant wast into BioChar.  BioChare is a soil amendment that makes it easier for plants to take up water, nutrients, and air thereby reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills and at the same time reducing the amount of water used to grow crops.

The Early Club Membership did not Engage in Fund Raising Projects.  

As a town of small families, Broomfield could not support large fund raising events.   If the club found a project they felt deserved funding, the members contributed directly to the funds needed.  The Rotary Club offered social interaction to its members and friends in the community.  Over the years, the Rotary International Student Exchange Program became the project most enthusiastically supported by the local membership.  Broomfield graduates were sponsored by Broomfield Rotary and had the opportunity to live with families in foreign countries for one year.  In return, Broomfield High School welcomed Rotary Exchange students from all over the world.  These exchanges proved of great value to the local kids.  
Annual family picnics became a Rotary tradition.   Ken Landers and Jim Van Buskirk owned properties in Big Elk Meadows and this lovely area hosted some of the early Rotary picnics.  Paul Murphy offered his cabin site in Estes Park, and the Rotary families gladly traveled to this popular mountain town.  
In recent years, the picnics have been held in Broomfield community parks and have the advantage of being closer to home.  One of the parks used by the club bears the Rotary name since it was created by the cooperative effort of the Broomfield Rotary Club and City of Broomfield. 

First Big Fundraising Event

During 1998 and 1999, the Broomfield Rotary Club held their first big fund-raising events.  Don Bolich chaired the committee that hosted wine tasting and art auction parties attended by both Rotarians and community residents.  Both events were very successful in raising funds that were used for charitable projects in Broomfield.  These wine tasting/art auction evenings were the precursors of the more elaborate Odyssey fund-raising parties that began in 2000. 
The initiating committee of Gary Francis, Lew Moir and John Santoro designed the more formal Odyssey event and invited the morning Broomfield Crossings Rotary Club to join the evening Rotary Club in production of the Odyssey.  Larry Hendershot and Gary Grenier of the Broomfield Crossings Rotary Club became part of the Odyssey committee.  The representatives of both Broomfield Rotary Clubs guided the Odyssey to success.  The first Odyssey was held in the fall of 2000 at the Omni Hotel in Broomfield. The funds raised were more impressive and allowed both Broomfield Rotary Clubs to expand their charitable giving.
The Odyssey is a formal evening event open to the public.  The evening begins with cocktails and continues with dinner, wine tasting, entertainment, a silent auction of donated items, and open auctions of donated goods and services.  Rotarians from both the Broomfield Rotary (evening club) and the Broomfield Crossing Rotary (morning club) spend many hours planning and producing this evening event.  The two clubs share in the proceeds resulting from the Odyssey fund raising.
Race4Kids Health Event
In 2009, Broomfield Rotary gave a grant of $3000 to Dr. Chris Marchioni to help her establish the charity: Healthy Learning Paths.  Dr. Chris came to Broomfield Rotary with a concern that she was seeing many children’s diseases (e.g. diabetes, obesity, hypertension, etc) that should be eliminated with proper diet and exercise. In addition to the initial grant, the club organized and managed the Race4Kids Health Event.  The initial 10K Race was held at Broomfield Community Park and was moved to the First Bank Center in subsequent years.  The race grew over the years to become the primary source of charitable income for Healthy Learning Paths.  Larry Haas served as volunteer coordinator for 11 years, recruiting 175 Rotarians and Community Volunteers each year.  Sadly, Healthy Learning Paths was not allowed to take their classes into the schools during the “Pandemic Year”, and was forced to close their charitable endeavors in 2020.
In 2007 Broomfield Rotary formed a tax exempt 501c3 nonprofit foundation. 
In March, 2007, Broomfield Rotary successfully completed an application to be designated a 501c3 nonprofit; the IRS granted approval of the request in June, 2007. This led to the formation of the Broomfield Rotary Charitable Foundation, making it possible to raise tax exempt contributions for both local and international fund worthy programs. 
After the Foundation was established a fund raising committee began to examine various ideas to raise funds for worthwhile programs. Early in 2008, this committee, led by John O’Hayre, researched the idea of Broomfield Rotary managed bingo games as a fund raiser. The committee met with tax advisors and the State of Colorado Gaming Department to understand the legal ramifications of the Broomfield Rotary club’s involvement with this type of endeavor. When they were satisfied, the committee called for a vote by the full membership and with their approval the game of Bingo, Broomfield Rotary's first on-going large fund raising project, rose to replace the Broomfield Odyssey.
John O’Hayre, along with several Rotarians, met with the manager of Bingo Mines in Lafayette to discuss the possibility of contracting for a designated time for Broomfield Rotary. Following negotiations on a fund sharing arrangement, our Rotary Bingo commenced during the month of June, 2008.  Four Rotarians, John O’Hayre, John Abboud, Bill Ayres, and Tom Maier volunteered to act as Bingo Managers. The majority of the club membership volunteered to act as workers each Sunday for one year.
Broomfield Trails Marathon-was first organized by Rotarians John Abboud, Tom Deland & John O’Hayre in2018. The event included a 5K, 10K, Half & Full marathon over 4 different race course thru-out Broomfield. The race was only held for two years (2018 & 2019) and was discontinued in 2020 due to difficulty in finding the over 300+ volunteers and the initial breakout of COVID. During its two year run, over $40000 was raised to benefit the A Precious Child organization operating in Broomfield and several surrounding Counties.

Broomfield Rotary has been able to award grants to numerous Charitable Organizations. 

Through this foundation and successful fundraisers like bingo and car auctions  Broomfield Rotary has been able to award grants to numerous charitable organizations:
Broomfield Fish-in 2015 Rotary was requested by several Rotarians who also volunteered working for Broomfield Fish to see if Rotary could help that organization with acquiring a new refrigerated truck for transport of perishable food products to the community.
Rotarians Deland & O’Hayre partnered with Sill Terhar motors to design, purchase and finance the $80000 vehicle. Broomfield Rotary provided a$25000 down payment and assisted Broomfield Fish to arrange financing for the purchase and the new truck was delivered in 2016.
Bal Swan School-Rotarians Deland & O’Hayre were contacted in 2018 by Bal Swan Children’s school for assistance with possible repairs to two of the schools 15 passenger vans used to transport school children to various events and therapy appointments. Thru use the vans were ultimately deemed unsuited for continued use and posed potentially safety hazard to the students. Rather than attempting repair of the vans, Rotary decided to again partner with Sill Terhar to locate & purchase two 19 passenger vans for the school and provide a $30000 grant to assist with the purchase. The Bal Swan Board of Directors agreed to share in the final cost of the of the new vehicles.
More Broomfield area groups receiving grants were:., F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Healthy Learning Paths, and Precious Child, Meals on Wheels, Broomfield Veterans Museum, and Rotary Dictionaries for third graders at Broomfield elementary schools.  In addition, the Broomfield bingo monies allowed the Club to  partner with other Rotary Clubs to  provide clean water and sanitation systems for homes, hospitals, and schools in Kenya, Thailand, Central America, the Christmas Islands, the Dominican Republic and Guatemala as part of Rotary International’s on-going international clean water/sanitation program.
The Broomfield Evening Rotary Club membership has shown a willingness to work tirelessly and unselfishly to support the Bingo Project and deserves to be recognized for their hard work. Well done, Broomfield Evening Rotary membership!   The Bingo Hall was closed during 2020-2022 as a consequence of the Pandemic.  Broomfield Rotary re-established their Bingo Fundraising in 2023.