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Independence Day beer sales helping fund wounded warrior aid

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By Jeremy Johnson

FORT LUPTON — A little beer money will go a long way in helping wounded veterans.

More than 40 oil and gas industry stakeholders, law enforcement and safety officers, educators and others were on hand as three women representing Fort Lupton American Legion Post 102 accepted a check for more than $2,600 from the DJ Basin Safety Council early Aug. 5 at the Fort Lupton Recreation Center.

The hefty donation came by way of beer sales at the city’s inaugural Old Fashion Fourth of July event, where the DJ Basin-sponsored Beer Garden netted a nifty profit that in turn was donated to the local Wounded Warrior Project.

The Wounded Warrior Project is a more than 10-year-old nationwide initiative aimed to help injured veterans heal through a series of programs that accommodate former soldiers’ physical, emotional and social needs. 

“All the money accepted on behalf of the American Legion will go straight to that project,” said Christina McCullough, of the local Legion Post.

Heather Fenstenmacher, who joined McCullough and Sue Smialek in accepting the generous donation, said the Post 102 has raised a total of more than $6,500 for wounded veterans through fundraising efforts this year.

Fenstermacher said the Post holds a Wounded Warrior Walk fundraising event in the spring and a host of other events to raise funds for the project. “We also have donations that come in and then we do raffles and things like that,” she added.

Carrie Jordan, with DJ Basin, an oil and gas industry support group and safety council that works as a liaison between industry stakeholders and the state, said the group has several fundraising events throughout the year aimed at providing all players in the oil and gas industry the opportunity to give back to the community.

“This is the first time we’ve given to (the local American Legion) but we are always trying to find things in the community that need our support,” she said. “We usually have two or three big fundraisers a year.” 

Jordan said other events include a clay pigeon shoot and, each holiday season, a gift card giveaway benefiting area families in need during Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Jordan said, in addition to sharing the support received from established oil and gas companies working in the region, DJ Basin helps facilitate donations from smaller companies — independent oil and gas producers and service providers — who can’t necessarily afford to make the big, impact contributions that major oil and gas players are sometimes known for.

“This gives another avenue for not just the big companies but the little companies to give back to the community,” she said. “You hear a lot about Noble (Energy) and Anadarko (Petroleum Corporation) and Encana (Corporation) — and they give back in their own way, they really do. But this is a way for our small service companies — a lot of us are safety coordinators and things like that — to be able to also do the same thing, even if on a smaller scale.”