Perhaps the least notable thing about longtime Evergreen resident Kim Herfurt is that he’s a native Coloradan who wasn’t born here.
“We lived in Lakewood, but my father was a Hollywood musician who spent a lot of time out there,” explains Herfurt, a quietly genial man who thinks before he speaks. “My mother flew out to California to have me, then flew back. I was actually born in Burbank.”
As a boy, Herfurt spent many a notable summer at the family’s cabin in the woody wilderness west of town. As a student at Lakewood High School in the mid-1960s, he was notable for being a computer geek before it was cool.
“I had a high school instructor who was way ahead of the curve,” says Herfurt, whose two daughters also live along the Front Range. “He got me interested.”
That interest was temporarily superseded by a series of noteworthy events, the first being his enrollment at Western State in Gunnison where he enthusiastically immersed himself in the study of…”Skiing,” he grins. His father wasn’t grinning, though, and persuaded him to transfer to UCLA and pursue a business degree. In 1968, circumstances intervened again in the form of a draft notice, and the nineteen-year-old junior was shipped off to Vietnam for the first of three tours spent flying a medivac helicopter in and out of harm’s way, mustering out in 1971.
“My folks were building a house in the Genesee area, and I lived in Evergreen while I helped them build it.” Swinging a hammer by day, Herfurt swung a shaker by night, tending bar at the Brook Forest Inn. When the house was finished, he took his small trove of college and military credits to Regis University, enrolling in night school and re-acquainting himself with his boyhood interest in technology.
“I realized I was going to need a computer, but they were really expensive at the time,” he says. “I couldn’t afford one, so I built one.” He knocked out his undergraduate studies in one year, and spent the next two obtaining a master’s degree in business management. His growing fluency in early computer languages made his society much sought after by Regis faculty members struggling with their own first-generation PCs, and eventually led to a part-time teaching post at the university, and then a gig managing Jefferson County Schools’ expanding computer network.
At loose ends one summer, he found himself hunkered in IBM’s Boulder “war room” building servers for Proctor and Gamble from scratch, in the fall returning to his increasingly necessary duties at R-1. It was in 1995 – the year he married his second wife, Jennifer – that the diverse threads of his past finally came together to form a strong and durable fabric.
“I finagled my way into a part-time job teaching Pascal programming at Evergreen High School,” recalls Herfurt. It was initially intended that he spend odd hours managing EHS’s network and the bulk of his time teaching algebra. It didn’t work out that way.
“I went right to teaching computers.” He took to his post with notable energy, assuming a leadership role over the school’s industrial arts catalog and launching notably successful programs in rocketry and robotics. Firmly established in Evergreen, Herfurt set out to achieve in the community what he’d achieved in the classroom.
Settling in Hiwan Hills in 2001, he and Jennifer joined Blue Spruce Kiwanis, where they quickly immersed themselves in that organization’s many good works. Jennifer rose to become the club’s secretary, while her husband earned a term as president that can only be described as notable. His first signal accomplishment in office was founding Blue Spruce’s Ice Golf Tournament to fund the Blue Spruce Aktion Club.
“The Aktion Club is designed to give developmentally disabled kids an opportunity to develop leadership skills, and to give back to the community,” Herfurt explains. “Those kids have the biggest hearts in the world, and they love nothing better than giving back. A lot of them are kids I had at EHS.”
His second was forging an alliance between Blue Spruce and Project Sanctuary. “As a veteran, it’s dear to my heart.”
Founded in 2007, Project Sanctuary helps veterans and their families negotiate the often perilous landscape that servicemen and servicewomen returning from war zones find on the home front. Statistically, two in five of the 2.5 million soldiers who’ve served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer either physical disability, or psychological injury, or both, and the pain of their wounds radiates outward in destructive waves of depression and dysfunction and, too often, tragedy.
“Twenty-two veterans commit suicide every day,” Herfurt says. “The impact on military families is huge, and that has a huge impact everywhere.” Blue Spruce Kiwanis donated $1,500 to Project Sanctuary last year, and the Herfurts joined other local Kiwanians in donating their time, experience and genuine empathy to Project Sanctuary’s most recent six-day family retreat at Snow Mountain Ranch in Granby.
“When I came back from Vietnam we didn’t have that kind of support system in place. I worked out my aggression on a hammer and nail, but not everybody has that option. I’m a strong believer in the Project Sanctuary mission.” He and Jennifer are also strong believers in the notable goodness of the community they call home.
“I’ve moved away on a couple of occasions, but I always came back almost immediately,” Herfurt smiles. “There’s something special about Evergreen.”