David Bruton Jr., a towering figure in almost any room, looks especially imposing when he walks into the lobby of Denver Public Schools’ Greenlee Elementary School. But there’s something so good-natured about him – likely the ever-present smile – that a grade-schooler strides up, cranes his neck and looks skyward.
“Are you a Denver Broncos player?” the boy asks. Bruton, now a CU Denver student working toward a second career as a physical therapist, smiles and says, “I used to be, but now I’m retired. I’m old.” The boy flashes a wry smile and walks off.
Bruton arrives with a group of fellow CU Denver students who regularly join him at Greenlee to spend an hour reading one-on-one with second-graders. He is a longtime volunteer at schools around Denver and Dayton, Ohio, through his nonprofit, Bruton’s Books, and the David Bruton Foundation. Both entities work in partnership with the Mile High United Way and United Way of Greater Dayton.
Bruton’s love for philanthropy is snowballing with the CU Denver students. “Partnering with David and his foundation has offered us the opportunity to uncover our own individual love for giving back to the community,” said Katy Smith, a marketing major with an economics minor.