Group takes stock as it hits 50th anniversary

Parker Breakfast Club unsure what future holds

Nick Puckett
npuckett@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/14/20

Spend a morning with the Parker Breakfast Club and learn about the town first-hand from the people who helped make it what it is today. On Jan. 6, the group met for its 50th year at its regular spot today, the Parker Adventist Hospital. In 1970, the group met for the first time at the Ruth Memorial Chapel.

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Group takes stock as it hits 50th anniversary

Parker Breakfast Club unsure what future holds

Posted
Spend a morning with the Parker Breakfast Club and learn about the town first-hand from the people who helped make it what it is today. On Jan. 6, the group met for its 50th year at its regular spot today, the Parker Adventist Hospital. In 1970, the group met for the first time at the Ruth Memorial Chapel.
 
The group’s 50th year meeting comes with one sour note: It may be the club’s final year.
 
At one end of the table is Jean Martin, the granddaughter of Charlie O’Brien, a revered contributor to the town who is the namesake for O’Brien Park downtown. One of the town’s original councilmembers, Martin is the last living member of the O’Brien family living in Parker and a regular of the club.
 
“I have so much history with this town,” Martin said, “I can’t even remember it all sometimes.” The room boomed in laughter. Around the table were Bill Gripman, whose late wife, Nancy, started the Parker Task Force; Pat Bygott, who founded the University of Parker (PU) Marching Band and works at the historic Herzog House in Parker; Brian O’Malley, a dedicated parks volunteer for the Douglas Land Conservancy; and other engaged members with strong ties to the town.
 
The group began as an all-men’s group based out of the Ruth Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Parker. Parker United Methodist Church in 1970 has changed over the years in membership and venue, but never in its purpose to be a social and educational club for people who live in Parker.
 
The members congregate regularly to talk, to eat breakfast, but most importantly, to learn about the town in which they live.
 
“I love what it stands for in the community: learning and continually learning about things that are impacting us,” said Nancy Bruscher, a business owner and mother of two, who is the youngest member of the group and has helped keep the group going despite its aging population, along with Genese Sweeney.
 
“I’m not even in the same generation as some of these people, but I keep making it a point to go there,” Bruscher said. “I think that speaks volumes about the group: despite lifestyle and failing health, these people have found a community to help learn from each other and stay informed.”
 
For the first time this year, the group eliminated dues, the money from which would be donated to certain guest speakers throughout the year.
 
Sweeney, who has lived in Parker since 1984, said she is not optimistic about the group continuing much longer.
“I feel it will be the end, but we’re at least going to do the full year,” Sweeney said.
 
As the sun began to rise over the Rocky Mountains in the backdrop, the members, about 16 on Jan. 6, wrapped up their breakfast and headed to a conference room for a speaker, like every meeting for the past 50 years. The group used to meet weekly. That moved to monthly and now the group meets just quarterly. The agenda stayed relatively the same: breakfast first, then an hour for a guest speaker — anyone ranging from local political figures to returning travelers eager to share their exciting adventures.
 
The group became so large at one point it moved its meetings to the conference centers at Parker Adventist Hospital, its current home.
 
“Today we had 16 … in my book that’s a nice number,” Bruscher said, looking at the group filing into a conference room. “I would love to see it grow, but if it doesn’t, I think 16 people is enough to keep our group going.”

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