Monday, January 16, 2017

Mesa County Sheriff's Deputy to honor father's legacy on MLK Day

Deputy Janielle Westermire
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo - Mesa County Sheriff Detention Deputy Janielle Westermire is the fifth generation of her family to call the Grand Valley home.

“I love this community, I am part of it and to be able to give back is what it’s all about,” said Westermire.

Westermire will be apart of Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr. events in honor of her father, former Grand Junction City Councilman Harry Butler. A man she thanks for instilling in her the value of service.

"He was just involved in so many things. Part of his legacy is to honor those that give to others and that is another thing Martin Luther King, Jr. was about is giving. So, it’s a perfect day to honor him,” said Westermire.

During the festivities, Westermire will read Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous 'I Have a Dream' speech. Westermire believes his powerful words carry a message that still resonates today.

"The speech talks about our destiny. Whether it's white, black or whatever, we’re all in it together. I think people tend to forget that," said Westermire. “It doesn’t matter what background you come from, whether you are rich, poor or what have you, we all are accountable for what we do.”
Harry Butler

Her father, the late Harry Butler, was a pastor at Grand Junction's historical Handy Chapel. It's where he began his legacy of service and where Monday's MLK Day events will take place.

Bulter was also a two-term Council member, School Board member, and a decades-long volunteer at the Mesa County Detention Facility.

Westermire recalled a time her father volunteered at the jail. “He had church service for the women. They would sing real loud, and he would buy these beautiful leather bound Bibles and give it to them," said Westermire.

She still gets surprised to hear how many lives her father touched through his kind and giving heart.

Westermire working at
the Mesa County Detention Facility
"I had a young lady that was an ex-inmate come up to me and tell me I still have your dad’s Bible. It was neat," said Westermire. 

Now Westermire is proudly continuing his legacy of service spending her days helping inmates better their lives. She's worked in the Mesa County Detention facility since 1992.

“Sometimes I feel closer to God working here, because, I guess, this is where it's needed the most,” said Westermire.

After Butler passed away in 2013, an award was created in his honor.  The Harry Butler's Service to Others award will be given to three recipients this year during the MLK celebration at Handy Chapel.

“That’s what he was about, service,” said Westermire. "He was a very humble man."

Westermire said she couldn't do it alone, David Combs, Juanita Trujillo, Bob Lang, Celeste Girtman, and Dan Robinson were instrumental in making Monday's Martin Luther King, Jr. events a reality.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Events

This year's celebration is "Service To Others"
  • 12:30pm City Hall
  • A symbolic march from Grand Junction’s City Hall to the historic Handy Chapel 
  • Route - Commence at 5th and Rood - South on 5th to Main - West on Main to 1st - North on 1st to Grand - East on Grand to 5th - South on 5th to White - West on white to Handy Chapel located at 200 White Avenue.
Handy Chapel
Handy Chapel Program:
  • 1:00pm Immediately following the march will be a program at Handy Chapel with singing and speakers.
  • The Harry Butler's Service to Others award will be given to three recipients this year.
CMU Program in the CMU Ballroom:
  • 5:30pm - Social Hour
  • 6:00pm - Program Start 
  • This will consist of vendors, sponsors, speakers, musicians, singers and other festivities.

For more information about the event click here.