It’s early yet on this sunny June morning. The heat is just starting to build. A car drives slowly onto the Harmony Campus driveway which parallels East Harmony Road. Out of the car emerges the guest of honor, Betty Stromberger. She walks hesitantly up to the stone marker newly placed in the grass near a grove of trees. The marker reads:
Site of the Historic Stromberger Farm
With gratitude to Elmer and Betty Stromberger
for their generosity and dedication to the health of our community
Betty shakes her head and says, “I can’t believe this moment. It’s like a dream.” Her daughter, Elaine Hopkins, takes her arm and together they approach the stone. There are tears in both their eyes. They express sadness that Elmer is not here for this moment. Another car drives up and parks. Out of it comes Bob Everitt. He is here to enjoy this moment, for this recognition has been on Bob’s To-Do list for a long time.
It began with a phone call from the foundation office in late December 2014 to Bob and Joyce Everitt. They had given a gift in honor of Elmer and Betty Stromberger and a staff member was curious as to who these people were. Bob explained that in early 1992, John Laurie, the CEO of Poudre Valley Hospital, reached out to Bob, the owner of the Everitt Companies, to help the Poudre Valley Hospital District identify land for the expansion of Poudre Valley Hospital in south Fort Collins. Among the parcels that they were interested in was a 51 acre parcel that Elmer and Betty Stromberger owned on the southeast corner of Harmony Road and Timberline Road. John asked Bob to contact the Strombergers to see if they would be interested in selling their 51 acres to the hospital district. Both Elmer and Betty expressed how much it would mean to them to be able to do this because they felt that Dr. Gary Luckasen, a cardiologist, and the Poudre Valley Hospital cardiac team, had saved Elmer’s life through heart surgery. Moreover, it was PVH’s cardiac rehabilitation program, directed by Dr. Luckasen, that had extended his quality of life. The Strombergers sold the 51 acres to the hospital district in August of 1992 for what Bob felt was a very reasonable price, influenced by their great gratitude for the care Elmer received. “An interesting dynamic that arose from this has been watching all the other developments grow around that area, much because of the hospital being on that strategic corner,” comments Bob. “For years I have felt that the Strombergers should be recognized for what they did.”
On this sunny June morning, Betty smiles up at Bob. “Elmer didn’t want a gas station on this corner of Harmony and Timberline roads. He didn’t want a shopping center or a grocery store. He wanted to do something that would improve the community. Because Dr. Luckasen had saved his life, he wanted to do something that would be far more meaningful. But he never would have thought, and neither would have I, that there would be this stone marker placed here for us today. Thank you, Bob.”