I recently came across an interesting article on the city of Scottsdale, Arizona. It seems they’re looking for enthusiastic citizens in that community to become volunteer town ambassadors. The job’s top priority is promoting the area to newcomers thinking about living there, as well as welcoming tourists. There’s nothing like receiving a “big welcome” when you first visit a strange place.
Bishop Auckland, a town in northern England, has a similar program and I’d bet that Scottsdale’s is modeled somewhat after theirs. I believe at one time Lake Havasu City had an unofficial town ambassador. The gentleman’s name is no longer remembered by me but I do recall reading about him. Appropriately dressed in royal attire, he voluntarily spent countless hours under the London Bridge greeting people. My family came across this man several years ago in the English Village area, but unfortunately didn’t get to chat. He already had a small crowd gathered around.
Lake Havasu City is also actively seeking tourism ambassadors and they’re expected to do pretty much the same as town ambassadors do. This new program is simply named: Lake Havasu Tourism Ambassador Program. Information about this program is available on their golakehavasu.com website.
My family came across three LHC town ambassadors early on, and they probably don’t even know they held the title. First coming here to visit in 1978, we didn’t know a soul. My brother, Jim, living in Blythe, California, drove us over one Saturday and we fell in love with the place; Lake Havasu City that is, not Blythe. After spending a day taking in the sights, we left, only for Joleen and me to drive back a few days later wanting to purchase a residential lot, mainly as an investment.
Walking into the Century 21 office, we met the nicest person, Diane Carlson. Diane could see the enthusiasm on our faces and drove us around town pointing out several parcels within our price range. During that time, she gave us an upbeat history of the city even cruising by a home owned by Pearl Bailey. Diane was excited for us, and when I asked if she liked it here, her reply was, “My husband and I absolutely love it!” That positive statement on her part meant a great deal to us.
We’d recently been in Abilene, Kansas looking to purchase a lot or small home there. The realtor, a longtime resident, asked why we’d ever want to live in this place. He went on a horrific spiel detailing how he wished he’d stayed elsewhere but was now locked in. Needless to say, we left his office with a sour feeling and no longer had an interest in pursuing things further.
After Diane Carlson showed us around that day, we told her that one particular lot on Injo Drive especially held our interest. With Jo being my wife’s nickname, Injo seemed like an omen of sorts. I can’t remember all of the particulars, but believe for eighteen-thousand, twenty-five hundred down, and the sellers carrying a note for the balance amortized over fifteen years at eight percent interest, we became proud Havasu land barons. The following year Diane sold us the adjoining piece of Injo property for nearly the same sweet deal. If she’d been like that gloomy realtor in Abilene, I tend to think we would’ve left town after our first visit and never returned.
The second town ambassador we encountered was a fellow named Dennis Smith. I may have some of the facts rearranged here, after all it’s only been some forty years, but believe it was at a Long John Silver’s restaurant where we first met him. I do recall it being a franchise seafood place.
It was late one evening and the restaurant was winding down. A man walked over and introduced himself as the business owner, with me asking him to join us at our table. Dennis talked about owning several restaurants in California and having just sold them. Retiring in Lake Havasu City, he opened this new one against his wife’s wishes. When I asked the friendly gentleman if they liked it here, his reply was the same as Diane Carlson’s, “We love it!” Over the next several years we’d stop by and talk to him, the last time in a KFC restaurant he’d just started. Dennis Smith always told us that we shouldn’t wait as long as him in moving.
Randy Randall is the last town ambassador on my list. Randy worked for Harold Johnson Realty and that’s how we became acquainted. We made property transactions with Randy just like Diane, yet for the most part, talked more about other things, such as him asking what it was like living in Alaska during winter, with Joleen and me questioning him about the scorching summers in Lake Havasu City. He never had a bad thing to say other than check your shoes for scorpions before slipping feet inside, and watch where you stick your fingers. Randy and his wife Sharon, who worked with him in real estate, were always positive about the town just like Diane and Dennis had been.
There’ve been other unofficial town ambassadors we’ve met since these folks, with John and Suzannah Ballard, Richard and Beth Pagliero, and Ron and Terri Claspill being other such recipients.
I’ll add Joleen and my name to that ambassador list as well, with us now having told many people over the years about the qualities of Lake Havasu City. It’s not hard being an ambassador at all. All one has to do is smile and have a positive attitude about the place they live!