What do you do?
Don Ellis

     Where do you work and what is your title?
        I volunteer at the Old Colorado City History Center. The History Center is a museum devoted to Westside history, and is operated by the all-volunteer Old Colorado City Historical Society (OCCHS).

      What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       I edit and produce the OCCHS' West Word newsletter.

      How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
      Until 2000, I had never thought of editing and producing a newsletter, but my involvement with the effort to secure Red Rock Canyon as open space led me to produce the Red Rock Rag for the Red Rock Canyon Committee (which later evolved into Friends of Red Rock Canyon). I edited the Red Rock Rag until 2010. During that same time, I produced a variety of fliers and small publications for the OCCHS. And, a little over 6 years ago I took on the job of editing and producing West Word.

      What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
        Authors who write articles about history are often very interesting people who, through their works and conversations, teach me more than I can absorb. Some have become good friends. I also enjoy the sometimes challenging process of creating the graphic layout of the publication.

      If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       It is an ongoing struggle for the OCCHS to bring in enough money to keep the History Center operating. I would like to see a large enough membership base and endowment so that the OCCHS could feel comfortable with its finances.

      What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       Nearly everything – I have a pretty solid technical and scientific background, but neither desktop publishing nor local history was included in my academic background.

      What makes working on the Westside special?
       The Westside is mainly where my roots are. Those roots sunk in while I walked a mile and a half to Midland School in the late 1940s, when I caught 'horny toads' in Bott Park, when I took a short cut across the recently closed Midland Terminal yards, when I explored the hogbacks. The Westside is the part of town where my heart is, even though it is not quite where my home is right now. There's more. The Westside is the living embodiment of a freer, more diverse community than other parts of the city.

      “What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer, geared for people who have interesting jobs on the Westside but don't necessarily live here. If you or someone you know seems like a good fit for this column, please give us a call at 471-6776 or e-mail editor@westsidepioneer.com.

(Posted 9/7/14; Opinion: What Do You Do)