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By Jann C. Pitcher
Special to The PREVIEW
Pagosa Springs Rotary Club is honored to name Mary Jo Coulehan as the 2014 Rotary Fourth of July Parade grand marshal.
The role of grand marshal is traditionally bestowed upon a person who is renowned as a community leader, is loved by his/her community and deserves a place of honor. The grand marshal is named to take the lead in the processional.
Coulehan exemplifies this year’s theme of “Service Above Self.” Whether it’s a friend in need, a big project for the betterment of the community or spearheading a project for her beloved Catholic Church, Coulehan is always serving. Watch for her at the head of the parade. She will not be in a carriage or a convertible. Coulehan will be riding a horse.
Because Coulehan has been the face of Pagosa Springs for so long, it’s difficult to imagine her arriving here 20 years ago knowing no one. (Her Realtor was her first friend.)
That’s Coulehan — always looking for adventure and the next chapter with that trademark smile and can-do attitude.
Now for a little background. Our heroine hails from El Paso, Texas. She is a graduate of Tulane University with a degree in biology. Her intention was to be a doctor; however, while waiting to be accepted into medical school, she took a job with Marriott. Her Marriott path lasted 16 years and she worked for nine of the company’s premier hotels.
She enjoyed her work very much and learned early on the importance of high standards and customer service. She also understood how to take the extra step to create a good, positive experience for her guests.
Segue now, if you will, to her arrival in 1994 to Pagosa Springs, where she opened up TLC Bed and Breakfast on Fourmile Road, and also began working for the Pagosa Welcoming Service.
The B&B became a popular stop for travelers who received much tender loving care. The name, however, was in honor of Coulehan’s parents Tom and Lottie Coulehan (TLC).
After running the B&B and a very successful catering business (she is known to still cater from time to time), Coulehan took the helm at the Chamber of Commerce. What is that old adage? If you want something done right and on time, give it to a busy person.
One can see how her background was the perfect training for her years with the Chamber. She worked hard, but the love of community and her job was what the community saw through good times and challenging times.
Coulehan is onto her next chapter and we are so fortunate that this chapter will be played out in Pagosa Springs. She has taken a management job with Pagosa Verde, a renewable resource development company focusing on sustainable solutions for economic development in rural communities.
“I’m so excited to help Pagosa take the next step toward renewable energy,” Coulehan said. “We have such an amazing resource right under our feet.”
The excitement of her new chapter is palpable. Our community and Pagosa Verde are fortunate to have someone with the love of community, enthusiasm and expertise on board.
The Rotary Fourth of July is fortunate to have Mary Jo Coulehan as its 2014 grand marshal. Give her a shout out as she passes by.