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2012 Rotary Parade Grand Marshals

The theme for this year’s parade is “Made in America ... With Pride,” and the grand marshal exemplifies that theme on all levels.

It is with pride and pleasure that we announce that this year’s grand marshal for the 2012 Fourth of July Rotary Parade is the Irons family — Joanne, Karl, Zack and Blake.

Many of us who have chosen to call Pagosa Springs our home have a unique concerning what brought us here and the Irons family is no exception.

Joanne hails from Connecticut and Karl from Ohio and they met in Connecticut. Joanne worked in an upscale clothing store where she says, “I dressed him,” and the rest is history.

After Karl and Joanne were married she started and ran a vintage store called the Chartreuse Moose for several years when Zack was born and she launched her new career — motherhood. Blake was born a couple of years later when the family had moved to Long Island, in New York.

Following a family trip, one of the goals and dreams of the Irons family was to come west. A timeshare trip to Vail started the dream and after a few trips to Santa Fe, Durango and Salida, and passing through Pagosa, they were determined to move west. It was shortly after 9/11, while the Irons family was living in New York, that they chose to make the move.

As Joanne says, “We moved with no job and no house. Our family thought we had lost our senses.”

It was Pagosa’s gain and New York’s loss when the family moved into the Pagosa community in 2002. Coming from a family of “givers” it was natural for Joanne and family to jump into organizations like Rotary, the school board, Special Olympics and other organizations that work with youth and community. Finding a need and then following it up with a passion to serve the community and Joanne has been instrumental in the Loaves and Fishes program, the Mid Act group and the Youth Center, as well as helping to start the Women Helping Women project.

Joanne’s family finds much joy in what she calls “the ripple effect,” in which helping out in a small community always comes back many times over. Joanne refers to herself as a “starter” as she finds a new need and starts the project, develops it and moves to another need. Every project is a blessing to her and her family.

Karl has generously given of his time and financial and marketing background to aid in the successful development of our Pagosa Mountain Hospital. He served on the Finance Committee and was recently elected to the district board of directors. Countless hours have been donated to guide finances and assist directors in creating a much-needed and financially sound working hospital that proves to be a positive addition to the wellness of our community. Chess is a hobby of Karl’s and he meets regularly with a chess club in Pagosa.

Zack loves living in Pagosa where he feels safe and knows everyone. He is most excited about his achievements with the Pagosa Lakes Porpoises swim team and skiing on the Special Olympics team. He recently graduated from Pagosa Springs High School and will attend Eastern New Mexico University in Roswell in the fall.

Blake is beginning his freshman year, plays soccer, skis, plays the trumpet and has been part of Destination Imagination for five years. This year was his first trip to Global competition in Knoxville, Tenn. Blake is the only male on his team of five and he enjoys working with his female teammates. He enjoys science, technology and math, as well as travel. Blake enjoys hanging in the San Juan River with his friends in the summer and at Wolf Creek in the winter.

Pagosa is a very special community because of caring and giving individuals who continue to make our town a better place. The Irons family has enhanced our community by living here and giving back, immeasurably.

As Joanne says, “It is a great village in which to raise a family.”

Rotary is proud to honor the Irons family as the Rotary Fourth of July Parade, 2012 Grand Marshals.

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