Fruita Rotary Club provides valuable services to Fruita, including beer pouring |

Fruita Rotary Club provides valuable services to Fruita, including beer pouring

Allison Ildefonso
Special to the Free Press
Fruita Rotary Club members, standing from left to right: Bennett Boeschenstein , Claudine Bogart, Winnie Storm, Angelina Salazar and Kyle Hunke. Seated: Steve DeFeyter, Duke Wortman, Tom McNamara, Terry Davis.
Denise Hight |

The Fruita Rotary Club (FRC) was chartered in 1936 and is one of the Grand Valley’s oldest organizations. The club, which meets Tuesdays at noon in the Fruita Civic Center, provides services such as distributing food to underprivileged children and awarding annual scholarships to those in the community, along with an unexpected service — beer pouring.

“We have been integral with the festivals out in Fruita and we pour beer to raise money for the various programs we provide to,” said Duke Wortmann, club president.

FRC provides beer at Fruita Fall Festival, Mike the Headless Chicken and Fruita Fat Tire, among other events.

“As the festivals have grown, the Rotary Club has taken over the licensing of that and runs with it,” Wortmann said. “It just provides a nice source of income for the club.”

Rotary started in Chicago in 1905 by lawyer Paul Harris, with the idea that club members could “do good for the community while also doing good business,” according to Lynn Perez-Hewitt, a member of the Horizon Sunrise Rotary Club.

The notion of rotary was built around a four-way test (four questions) that members measure their actions against: Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? These questions are asked to ensure that all business transactions through the club are ethical.

“The nice thing is [people] can expect a real warm, genuine environment of caring people that want to take care of the community’s needs,” Wortmann said.

Along with beer pouring, FRC underwrites for a family in Fruita around Thanksgiving time that provides a community food day for local families in need.

“They feel like they’re part of something bigger than themselves,” Wortmann said, “and it’s a great way to say that we care about you and we’re going to take care of you for this day.”

The club also provides high school children in special education with a ski day every year, and participates in Dolly Parton’s imagination library to promote early childhood literacy.

“When you see kids skiing, and you knew you underwrote that through a little hard work, that’s what makes being in a service club worth it,” Wortmann said. “You get this feeling that you’re doing good things and you’re part of the community.”

There are currently five rotary clubs in the Grand Valley, including Fruita, Horizon Sunrise, Grand Junction, Redlands, and Palisade. You can catch FRC members pouring beer at the Fruita Fall Festival Sept. 25-27.

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