Grassroots men's group marks year of existence

Chad Frey
The Kansan

Just more than a year ago local minister and city commissioner Clint McBroom posted a note to his Facebook page, inviting any and all men who saw it to have lunch with him at Gurty's, 212 E. 12th. 

Clint McBroom cuts into an anniversary cake marking one year since a men's group began having a weekly lunch at Gurtys, 221 E. 12th.

He was intentional about it — setting a lunch date on a Wednesday, which is a day that seems to be safe for lunch away from his commission, church and wood shop owning responsibilities. And it was, he believed, a time that a few guys could gather and forget about not only the pandemic but also the other stresses of life. 

"In the midst of COVID it was nice to support local business and for men to just get together, laugh, offer support, encouragement and fellowship," McBroom said.  

That first lunch there were five or six guys who stopped by. They came back the following week — and now, one year later, the lunch averages 12. Sometimes the Sheriff will stop by, other times members of the city commission or board of education. There's occasional high school students, and teachers. Mechanics have been at the table with city commission candidates. 

"Any man is welcome to come, on any Wednesday," McBroom said. 

Aug. 18 there was an anniversary cake, marking a full year of gathering around the table. 

"There is no agenda, no hidden messages. We just want guys to enjoy others company and have a chance for guys to men around each," McBroom said. 

The group spends time talking about general topics — once in a great while diving into the shallow end of politics and what they see on the Facebook pages of local governmental agencies, board members and candidates. 

But that conversation never lasts very long. There's food to be eaten and other conversations to enjoy. 

"It is neat to see guys whose paths may never cross coming togther and getting to know each other," McBroom said.  " ... I think men need connections with each other. We need to leave the stress of work, life behind and enjoy each others."

McBroom told the Kansan it was the minster in him that recognized the need of a time to gather for men — an hour in the middle of the week to set things aside and have a little fun.

But the city commissioner in him plays a role as well. 

"All my hats, as a commissioner it is good to see the guys at the table. It is good to see guys at the table and not talking business. ... This is not a commission meeting, or school board meeting, we are just there to have fun and enjoy each other," McBroom said.

The group, which averages about a dozen men each time, meets at noon each Wednesday at Gurty's — a restaurant McBroom said he picked for its hamburgers and "ample seating."