Wolfers honored for years of volunteerism

Wolfers honored for years of volunteerism
Woman named Zonta Club’s 2009 Woman of the Year

Debbie Bell
The Daily Record

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEarlene Wolfers was named 2009 Woman of the Year for 20 solid years of volunteerism and service to the Fremont County community.

“Earlene is the perfect choice for our inaugural event,” said Mindy Minor, chairman of the Zonta Yellow Rose Gala at the Abbey Events Center. “The gala is a new idea for us.”

More than 100 people honored Wolfers, representing the many organizations she has worked with since retiring here in 1989 with her husband, Charles. Home battling cancer, she was unable to attend the event, but Charles read a personal message from her.

“This presentation is a great honor to receive,” Charles read. “A very unexpected state of health is keeping me from being with you this evening. But, I send to you my husband of 60 years (almost) to give you my personal thanks. Blessings on all who helped in the service to others in need.”

Minor said Wolfers’ mother, Calista Burns Fulkerson, was a Zontian in Omaha, Neb., and Cheyenne, Wyo., and was part of the Zonta district committee that helped organize Zonta Club of the Royal Gorge Region in 1979.

“Earlene, for many years, sent our Zonta Club a check,” Minor said. Eventually, the club asked her to join and, as she did with all things, Wolfers threw her entire being into her membership.

Wolfers served as president from 2004 through 2006 and chaired the third annual Artful Women Exhibit. The show was dedicated to the memory of her mother. Minor said Wolfers was chosen for the honor not only because of her dedication to Zonta, but because of her influence in many areas of the community.

Representatives from Pueblo Community College, Friendly Visitors, Fremont Center for the Arts, Habitat for Humanity, Rialto Theatre, American Association of University Women and Zonta were on hand for the event. Wolfers also has worked with other organizations, including Sangre de Cristo Hospice, Order of Eastern Star, Daughters of the American Revolution, Elkettes, Fremont/Custer Historical Society, Friends in Council and Knife and Fork Club, to name just a few.

“Clearly, she has touched many lives through all of her activities in all of these great organizations,” Minor said. “Think of all the lives of people she has touched through the work she has done.”

Displays showed photographs of Wolfers and her family throughout the years. Attendees also honored her by speaking directly to her on videotape to give her a personal memento from the evening.

“Acknowledging her lifetime achievements for the empowerment of women and service to the community,” read the burnished plaque accepted by her husband.

“Thank you for being our friends and neighbors over the past 20 years,” Charles added. “We now move forward to all the good Lord has in store for us.”

Zonta Club of the Royal Gorge Region sponsors the Artful Women Exhibition every year to support scholarships for women. The club is part of Zonta International, which works to help women overcome barriers to equal education, health care, legal rights, credit and employment through education, service and advocacy programs.

Following the Yellow Rose Gala dinner, Joni Sheram of Colorado Springs presented the monologue “Cups,” which celebrated the lives of women and their rites of passage through personal memories of brassieres. The audience laughed until the poignant end and gave Sheram a standing ovation.

The Big Cat Band, featuring John Gerlock, John Gomez and John Flores, provided music for a dance following the dinner.

“Thank you all for coming to honor a great lady,” Zonta president Nancy Gerlock said.