Cedaredge reporter Bob Borchardt was nearing what many would consider his retirement years when he embarked on a career as a journalist with the Delta County Independent about 15 years ago. The move was not out of character for Borchardt, who ventured into a number of fields after leaving the military in the early '50s.
He worked as a U-Haul field supervisor, owned and operated businesses in Grand Junction and Ouray, was a seasonal employee with the U.S. Forest Service, worked with kids as a teacher's aide, and turned a volunteer position with the four Catholic churches in Delta County into a full-time job in youth ministry. In the field of journalism, exposure to such a broad range of experiences and viewpoints is a plus. Although he had never been employed as a writer, Borchardt submitted numerous photographs and news articles about the activities of his Catholic youth. With those clips in hand, he landed a job at the DCI. He was first assigned to the North Fork Valley, where it could be said his long hair, love for music and penchant for activism helped him fit in. After commuting from Cedaredge to the DCI office in Paonia for many years, a position opened up in Cedaredge and he began covering that community. He admits that politics and town council meetings were never his thing, "although Jim Crook made the Crawford meetings interesting."
His favorite assignments paralleled his passions — dogs, the outdoors, music and wine (not necessarily in that order). He greatly enjoyed writing feature stories for the Back Page. Among his favorite subjects were former Olympian John Burritt, artist Cat Deuter, and the "wine dude" Bret Neal. His beloved border collie and "soul mate" Bonnie, now deceased, was featured in several adorable photos; his wife Connie was more camera shy but occasionally submitted photos of her own.
"I've kept all the back pages I've written," Borchardt said. "I was always excited when people told me they'd bought 20 copies of the paper because they were so pleased with the way their story turned out," he said.
"Everybody I've met has a story; you just need to take the time to hear their story," he said.
Borchardt says he's already experiencing some "buyer's remorse" and has agreed to be available to cover Surface Creek happenings in a pinch, so his byline will not completely disappear from the pages of the DCI. But without a regular schedule of council meetings, community activities and school events, he and Connie will be better able to visit their kids and grandkids, who are scattered from Arizona to Washington.
"It's been a great relationship with the Sunderland family and with the DCI," Borchardt said.
"Bob's interest in his community has translated into a wonderful relationship with us, the newspaper and our readers," said DCI general manager Randy Sunderland. "He has always been a willing listener and keen observer of what is happening in the community. He will be a hard act to follow."