It’s been said, if you tell people what you want to do, some of them will step up to help you do it. When I first heard this, I thought the idea preposterous. Over time, I discovered it was true.
Case in point is Donna Carlson, Executive Director of Estes’ Chamber of Commerce. We first met when I became mayor. The pandemic was surging. Social distancing was in vogue, face to face, in-person communication was not. I told Donna I was seeking alternatives. She offered to help.
We met at Donna’s home and discussed messages, and then, as I talked she recorded me with her cell phone. Twenty minutes later, a video was posted on the Internet.
Since then, I’ve come to understand that Donna has a heartfelt passion for helping people help others. I see it in the enthusiasm she brings to scheduling the ribbon cuttings that celebrate the openings of new businesses here that engage community members and hopefully attract more businesses. The cuttings are a favorite mayoral activity of mine. I’m not surprised membership in the Chamber has doubled over the past year.
Proclamations the Town Board issues to acknowledge contributions that people and organizations make to the common good of Estes Park are another case in point. After becoming mayor, I asked why proclamations weren’t being issued. The answer, gathering the information for the text of one is staff intensive and complicated.
Soon after, during a meeting I happened to mention this circumstance to Bill Melton. [A quick aside...many of you know Bill, and those of you who don’t surely would recognize his wonderful voice from the parades he announces here. I know Bill and his voice from way back. When he was announcing at the Dallas Cowboys stadium, Texas State Fair, Texas Relays, the Atlanta Olympics, and a USA/Russian indoor meet in which I competed.] Upon hearing the situation with proclamations, Bill offered to help. Now, Kimberly Disney from Town Clerk’s office who puts proclamations together is benefiting from Bill’s support as she does. When needed, Kurtis Kelly conducts research to come up with necessary facts and details.
Donna and Bill are just two of many people whose gifts of time and expertise greatly benefit Estes Park. The niches of need they fill with joy and competence attracts other helpers, who, in turn attract others and so on.
Ironically, connections made while helping at one place often open a door elsewhere. Here’s yet another case. Even if you know Donna, Bill or both, I seriously doubt that you know (I’m sure they don’t know) they have a common connection. It is the Chamber of Commerce. With Donna heading up the one here started in 2019 and Bill having been general manager of the one in Oak Cliff in the 1960s which became the US’s largest area chamber.
My experiences with helpful people have been a good teacher. That’s why I won’t be surprised when Donna and Bill start talking about what they did and want to do, that people will step up with offers to help. That’s how it works. I know, because it happens to me.