RIDGWAY, Oct. 23, 8:06 a.m. – It’s refreshing to hear someone say they love their job and really mean it. That’s how Linda Lysaght sincerely feels about her new position as director of the Ridgway Chamber of Commerce.
“I wanted this job for a long time; I was watching for it to open up,” said Lysaght. “I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing.
“I love Ridgway, I love my job.”
When she got the call, she was more than happy to leave behind a security job at the
Her first two months were a trial by fire, planning the inaugural True Grit Days, but instead of wearing her down with the hectic pace, it invigorated her.
“That was a real highlight. It was exhausting, but it was just a blast,” she said of the event that took place Sept. 8-9 in Ridgway’s
Lysaght said True Grit Days will be Ridgway’s benchmark event for years to come.
“We’re already planning for next year so that we can get more celebrities, more people who were involved in the making of the movie,” Lysaght said. “There were people who wanted to come this year but who didn’t find out about it in time,” including John Wayne’s stunt double who called from his home in
“It is thrilling to the board that she could go through such a demanding experience, put so much hard work into something, and still have the enthusiasm for her job that she does,” said Tammee Tuttle, vice-president of the Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “She’s doing a great job; she brings a depth to her work based on her experience of living here. It’s not like hiring someone new, it’s like meeting an old friend.”
Lysaght moved to Ridgway from
“I don’t know what got into us,” she said. “It was just after 9/11, and we said to ourselves, ‘Why are we living in the city? We don’t even like it here.’”
The couple drove to Montrose to look around, and the mountains drew them further south. They eventually built a home in
“Gardening is a real challenge around here; we figured out pretty quick what the deer eat and what they will not eat,” she said. Lysaght’s favorite backcountry road is Imogene Pass.
“Linda believes in a lot of the things this community believes in, like helping your neighbor, that kind of thing,” Tuttle said. It’s no surprise, since Lysaght comes from a small town in Appalachia: Cutler,
With vivid red hair, Lysaght is of Irish descent, as is her husband. “I tell people Lysaght is Gaelic for ‘hard to spell and hard to pronounce.’”
She is trained as a teacher, but has never used the degree. Instead, she worked as a retail buyer for Joslin’s Department Store for 15 years, and then worked for Qwest for another 15. She moved to
If her past record is any indication, Lysaght may be tending the Ridgway Visitor’s Center for, oh, say, 15 years?
“It’s my job to be the face of Ridgway, make people feel welcome, and make sure that when they leave here they have a good impression of Ridgway,” she said. “This is my baby; I kind of like that.”