Love Where You Live: Honoring a Truckee Community Leader
Lately, I have a robust Instagram thread running through my head. At work, on a run, at the store, generally out and about, I see something, pause and say to myself “love where you live”. I’m pretty lazy about posting on social media, but when you live in a place as spectacularly beautiful, consciously aware and gritty as Truckee, you could spend a whole lot of time adding to the over 720,000 posts tagged #lovewhereyoulive. And as much as I’m completely enamored by the endless beauty of the Sierra (aren’t we all?), it’s the people that make it really special. The people who choose to endure a harsh winter climate, the influx of visitors that contribute to our economy, but test the limits of capacity and a job and housing market that is challenging on a good day.
The Truckee community, like many small towns in the Sierra finds ways to #lovewhereyoulive by regularly gathering to enjoy natural beauty and bountiful talent. On a recent Wednesday night, a crowd came out for Dan O’Gorman’s retirement celebration at Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District’s Music in the Park. Dan O’Gorman is a pretty special guy in a town full of them. He is a bit of an unsung hero. Dan spent 30 years as the Recreation Superintendent for TDRPD. He coached kids for the Buddy Werner ski program and coordinated a myriad of adult and youth sports. During his tenure, the District served over 265,000 participants in recreation programs… and Truckee’s population is only 16,000!
Dan is more than just sports programs though, he has contributed to so many community events, such as the Halloween Haunted House and Parade, Easter Egg Hunt, Big Truck Day, the annual Ski Swap, the 4th of July celebration, and of course the Summer Wednesday night concerts.
My favorite thing about Dan is his absolute commitment to children, especially those whose families might struggle to afford club sports. He is so committed to making sure that the kids of Truckee learn to swim and ski that he volunteers his time to ensure that any kid who wants to can. Dan is also a 30-year member of the Optimists club and was awarded Citizen of the Year and Employee of the Year by the Truckee Chamber of Commerce.
On this Wednesday evening when Dan brought so many people together in celebration, I was quickly transported back to my first infatuation with Truckee after moving here 16 years ago (I know, I’ll never be a true local). Local band, The Blues Monsters were joined on stage by members of the Groove Foundry to put on a memorable show. The amphitheater was packed and it seemed like everyone was there.
Literally, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker all came together to enjoy the evening. Republicans, democrats, doctors, lawyers, mechanics, shopkeepers…no one asked about occupation or political bent, they just danced and smiled. Vegans, carnivores, public officials, entrepreneurs, children, seniors… in that moment, no one talked about global trade wars, the price of gas or how many roundabouts we need, they just listened, appreciated, and … were loving where they live.
Dan O’Gorman has put his heart and soul into making Truckee a better community, placing the needs of others in front of his own many times. After his very last TDRPD Board meeting he told me that the Blues Monsters night was the first time in 16 years he had danced at Music in the Park. I think I can safely speak for the Truckee Community when I say, ‘keep on dancing Dan, it looks good on you’. I’m grateful for people like you who not only make it possible, but inspiring to #lovewhereyoulive.