Durrett-Ortiz FundraiserOf the times tragic fires have brought disaster to our community in recent years, it is always the shared effort of gracious people pooling their resources to help those in their time of need that keeps the spirit of human kindness shining so so brightly in the Roaring Fork Valley.The fund-raiser, given for the Durrett and Ortiz families, which was held in the parking lot of the Bank of Colorado this past Thursday evening was one of those times.In a crowd of more than 750 people, one repeated wish from attendees was the desire to get the community together more often in happier circumstances.While Ashton Durrett is a fourth generation native of Glenwood who has many acquaintances, the Ortiz family of Satevo, a city in the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, has dealt with the misfortune of losing everything while living far from family and friends.But when Alvaro Ortiz called Mexico with an update on his family’s situation, he had good news. “Please don’t worry about us; the community is taking care of us.” He told his family.With the help of Hotel Colorado manager Larry McDonald, Jitter Nolen and Larry Robinson, the family closed on a trailer loan on Friday in a trailer that is newer, bigger and in the same location as their last home and with the remaining donation money they hope to buy a new truck. “We’re going to go forward with our lives. Thank you so much to all the people in the valley.” Ortiz said.The Durretts plan to rebuild on their land on Blake Avenue and until then are renting a house on Colorado Avenue. “It’s perfect, it’s like we just walked in.” Stacie said.Ashton continues to look at the good that has come from their tragedy. “I hope we can touch others as well. Maybe this is the seed for something to germinate,” he said. And to put the idea into action, when the donation boxes were presented to the families, the Durretts gave half their cash which amounted to more than $XX,XX0 from the fund-raiser to the Ortiz family.Since all of Ashton’s favorite classic Italian films were destroyed in the fire, someone suggested to John and Regina Buxman, who were planning a small fund-raiser at the Springs Theatre, that they present a special showing of the Godfather. And although the Godfather theme stuck, the little event turned into much more like a big zesty Italian get-together animated with the love of food, family and friends.”We could do this every week!” Ashton said.Normally a fund-raiser of this size could take half a year to plan, but Regina explained why it took only 23 days. “We started and the town took over, offering expert advice and help,” she said while John Buxman remembered several key individuals who worked behind the scenes.Glenwood Springs city clerk Robin Unsworth went beyond her normal call of duty and made several calls to the state to push a special application permit through while Dave Armbruster at the Bank of Colorado cleared the security issues involved with having a major public event on bank property.Richard and Leann Katchuk, along with Chris Spence and Chris Rush, who own Peak Party Rentals, donated the 3,200-square-foot heated tent.”It was an extraordinary gift.” Said John Buxman. One that translated to several thousands of dollars. But like the 41 restaurants, 20 volunteers and Jim Water who spent two days putting up lights, they just wanted to help.”This is our hometown. We just wanted to support it,” said Leann Katchuk.And for that, two local families are forever grateful and together, they expressed identical thoughts of appreciation to their community.From the Ortiz families in Chihuahua and Colorado: “Muchas gracias!”And from the Italians underground: “Grazie!”
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The city of Rifle plans to allocate grant funding for improvements to Railroad Avenue and Third Street.