Mentors who have mattered

Who were the mentors who have made a difference in the lives of some well-known La Plata County residents?

Big Brothers Big Sisters Executive Director Tracy Cornutt

Frank Morgan, a supervisor at an early job at Dole Food Co.: “Not only did he make work fun, he just had great business sense and took everything in stride. He said, ‘Sometimes you just have to trust that you don’t have all the answers.’”

County Commissioner Julie Holligan Westendorff

Alex Tejada, who hired her for his law firm when she first came to town: “He established a lot of the ethics I had as an attorney and a tribal prosecutor for the Southern Ute Tribe, ethics like having respect for everyone, recognizing that everyone has value, listening to the voices of everyone, both people who have money and people who don’t have as much.”

Durango City Manager Ron LeBlanc

Sam Mamet, executive director of the Colorado Municipal League: “I’ve known him for 33 years. He’s renowned across the country for his ability to talk to people, and I’ve used a lot of what I do today from him in terms of communication.”

Tim Walsworth, the new executive director of the Durango Business Improvement District

Second grade teacher Mrs. Burchelman and middle school coach Wes Wolfshaw: “She made me feel special and always complimented my work. I was slow and small, but he was a good guy. He was trying to win, but he was also trying to instill some life lessons in us young boys.”

Women’s Resource Center Executive Director Liz Mora

Margie Deane Gray, executive director of the Fort Lewis College Foundation: “She spoke as a fundraising professional at a nonprofit management class at Fort Lewis, and she did it with so much knowledge and grace. She inspired me to do the same and have as big an impact on my organization as she does on FLC.”

Fort Lewis College Foundation Executive Director Margie Deane Gray

Her mother, Betty Deane, and oldest sister, Nancy Kreitler: “My mother was always one to volunteer in the community, and one thing I learned from her is to treat everyone with respect and integrity, whether it’s a homeless person or the richest person in the world. My sister was much the same, and when I was younger, she guided me in the right direction, asking me ‘Is this really the best thing for you?’ and making me think.”