Chamber, Pagosa Country to host soldiers next summer

The Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce will host soldiers next summer who have been wounded in war.

The date is set for June 1-5. The idea came from parents of a wounded warrior son offering to donate their Pagosa cabin for a retreat for a soldier. The idea has since grown from there.

Pagosa Springs will host 15 soldiers (each soldier will be accompanied by their primary caretaker) transported by Angel Flights West. Once they get here they will have their own transportation (handicap accessible, if necessary). Only soldiers who are physically disabled will be able to attend, as well as their primary caregiver or spouse.

Depending on their level of interest and ability they can do the following (seasonal): horseback riding, white water rafting, fishing, hiking, soaking in therapeutic mineral baths, massages, historic tours of Pagosa Springs, rodeo on Thursday nights, archery, and other suggested activities.

We will include donations from sponsors of non-monetary and monetary items to help assist in their stay. Some sponsored items could be: gift cards to restaurants, services our visitors can enjoy — tours, massage, adventures — things to be placed in goody baskets, such as candy or non-perishable items. Any monetary donations will be combined and used to offset expenses incurred on behalf of our visitors while they are in Pagosa. If there is any money remaining following the visits, it will go toward future Wounded Warrior projects.

All sponsors will be listed in alphabetical order in a full page ad in the SUN as well as in the soldiers’ gift bags. This will be the only official sponsorship “advertisement,” regardless of the amount donated. Individuals and businesses are urged to donate. Press releases will be sent out to gain national attention months prior to the event. If you are interested in participating, contact Autumn at the Chamber offices by Dec. 28 in order to help us organize information for the soldiers. Again, the event will take place June 1-5. We look forward to thanking these soldiers and showing them Pagosa’s hospitality and gratitude.

Twelve Months

of Christmas

With the end of 2008 and the possibilities available in 2009, the Chamber unveils several more programs planned for the upcoming year. Though we mentioned it last week, we want to remind you about the Twelve Months of Christmas to make sure word gets out in the community. We will notify businesses, churches and Human Services about the program, and we want the giving to continue all year.

The Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce would like to reach out to community members and involve the business community in a “direct assistance” program. Typically, once the holiday season is over, the concept of good will towards men decreases significantly, but the need does not. The Chamber wants to start the program before the end of the month and continue it throughout the year in 2009, thus creating the Twelve Months of Christmas similar to the twelve days of Christmas.

Program guidelines:

• Any qualifying person or family will be considered.

• There can be various ways names can be submitted to the Chamber: from religious organizations, non-profit and service organizations, business owners who know people who may have been laid off or had their hours cut back, Pagosa Outreach Connection, individuals, and the Department of Human Services.

• Persons’ names should be submitted for assistance based on need or hardship. A narrative describing the needs and the reason for assistance should be described.

• The submissions will be reviewed and chosen based on the individual or family need and the urgency of the situation.

•The Chamber would like to include these types of items in the packages: gift cards to City Market, business donations, clothing or other hard goods as identified in the request form. Financial assistance would not be part of the monthly gift.

Business involvement:

• Businesses are requested to participate with food donations, restaurant coupons, business discounts, clothing or household goods, toys, and other items.

• If a business owner is going to mark down or cut out certain merchandise, perhaps they can donate those items.

• The Chamber will put out notices to businesses of goods needed throughout the year, and depending on the season, the goods could change.

• When a business donates an item, it will be given credit for the donation unless the owner would like to remain anonymous. However, we would like to notify the recipient of the business’ generosity.

• In addition to dropping non-perishable food items off at the various food banks, the Chamber can be used as a drop-off location as well.

We know that the food banks, Operation Helping Hand, Loaves and Fishes, Pagosa Outreach Connection and other organizations are feeling the pressure of the current economic times. We hope this small program will assist families who need extra help, not only at Christmas, but all year long.

Information please

Just a reminder: We will have information on restaurants, lodging and religious services posted at our outdoor kiosk at the Visitor Center during the holiday. Locals or visitors can access this information by driving up to the facility and checking the boards in the kiosk. There is also weather and road condition information available. This information will be the most current we can obtain, and will be updated regularly, even on Christmas Day. If necessary, direct people to our Visitor Center to obtain the latest information — even if the Visitor Center is closed.

Membership news

We welcome a new member this week to the Chamber directory. Black Swan Antiques and Collectibles is now open on the east side of town. Black Swan carries fine quality furniture, glassware, pictures and paintings, china, jewelry, and objets d’art. Black Swan also offers refinishing services and a gift registry. They start their holiday hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and will be open Christmas Eve until 4 p.m. We will hosta ribbon cutting soon, and will let the public know when this event will be. Congratulations to Marcia Leeper and Lisa Saunders for all their hard work on this beautifully renovated building and another business contribution to the community. Call 264-6200 for more information.

Our renewals this week include: JJ’s Riverwalk Restaurant; Econo Lodge; In Balance Physical Therapy; the JoAnn Laird Group; Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, in Chama, N.M.; and the Durango Herald.

We wish everyone a safe and fun Christmas. We look forward to lots of visitors gracing our businesses’ doorsteps, and I know everyone will thrill them with wonderful Pagosa hospitality.