Dear People of Estes Park:
What is Estes Park? A designated space within a well-defined border? A group of shops and houses in a mountain valley? A chartered government of codes, rules and processes? My home...
The question about Estes opens pathways of life memories as I prepare for being sworn in as mayor next Tuesday. People, their actions, and support have coalesced into this new pathway.
Phil Martin, our elementary PE teacher challenging me at age six to climb a rope to the gymnasium ceiling, walk on my hands, do flips and run faster and farther. PE teacher Judy Jenista summoning me to her office when I was 13. Giving me an entry form for an AAU pentathlon track meet in Broomfield. Saying I’d be good at it. Memories of my father teaching me to hurdle the night before the meet. How my performance there put me on the Colorado Gold Track Team, qualified me for the National AAU meet in Albuquerque and the Junior Olympics in Knoxville TN. And Coach Lyle Knudson who put me in events against older competitors so I wouldn’t feel held back.
A new pathway leads me to the unwavering support of the school district, of principal Rudel allowing me to come early to school to complete assignments, being given keys to the school to be able to have a place to practice high jump in the summer. Of classmates, despite my travel absences, electing me Junior Class President.
On a new path, I see citizens, Stan and Leslie Pratt and George and Glonda Hicks hiring me to babysit so my meet travel expenses could be met. The Estes Park Lions Club fundraising for my travel. In 1971, Mayor Ron Brodie and Mr. Hix from the Chamber of Commerce presenting the Golden Key Award which proclaimed –“The door of Estes Park is always open to you and your family.”
A new path, shorter, comes into view, my husband Roger stands in our kitchen, signing my petition for my mayoral candidacy, Jamie Palmesano seeing the Facebook post immediately offering to handle campaign advertising, materials and the webpage. Chuck Levine-my trustee peer, former candidate for mayor and friend extraordinaire handling finances- past Mayor Bill Pinkham offering campaign advice and Ken Zornes, endorsing me early on. Yard signs went up and homes were opened for meet and greets. Estes has not changed for me in all these years. Encouragement, kindness, helping hands are everywhere.
Next Tuesday, when I raise my hand to take the oath as mayor, you, the people of Estes Park, will be front of mind for me. A new pathway will begin in the story of my life, and our life together as a community... I promise to represent you well.
Stay healthy and keep howling as we move forward together.
Wendy Koenig, Mayor elect