A familiar face has returned to the office of the Lovell Area Chamber of Commerce, and in a way, she still gets to perform her love of teaching.
Linda Morrison, a longtime teacher at the Lovell Elementary School, started work as the office manager for the chamber on Monday, March 25, taking over for Amanda Bennion, who has returned to the National Park Service at Bighorn Canyon with a fulltime position. Bennion worked through Monday, April 1, during a transition period before turning the job over to Morrison.
Morrison grew up in Idaho Falls, and after her graduation from Idaho Falls High School, moved on to BYU, graduating in 1975 with a degree in early childhood education. She also met her future husband, Bruce Morrison, at BYU, and the two were married the summer after her graduation, then stayed in Provo for two more years while Bruce attended college.
The Morrisons moved to Lovell in 1977, and Linda was quickly hired as a kindergarten aide in May for Eva Hansen and Patty Despain. About that time, a second grade teaching position came open and Morrison was hired for the 1977-78 school year, then switched to kindergarten for 1978-79 and 1979-80.
She left teaching in 1980, in part, to focus on her family and also the Morrisons’ new business, Pioneer Service Center. She was then hired as the chamber office manager for the first time in 1981, when the office was located at town hall. She moved the office to the store and also taught kindergarten for a year at Cowley Elementary School in 19834-84, after which she again stepped away when daughter Natalie joined the family in 1984, followed by Ryan in 1988.
The Morrisons sold the store in 1987, and Morrison left the chamber, succeeded by Karma Allred. She returned to teaching in the fall of 1989 as a Title I and reading instructor for 10 years, then was hired as a first grade teacher in 1999 and taught the little ones until her retirement in the spring of 2017.
In the meantime, Morrison served her community in various ways but especially through three stints on the Mustang Days Committee. She joined the committee around 1979, she said, working with chairman Sheri Black for a few years before stepping away due to professional and family obligations. She returned to the committee in the 1990s, joining husband Bruce as co-chairman for four or five years, then after a few years off again chaired the committee with Bruce in the 2000s, adding the Mustang Follies to the couple’s plate for several years, as well.
“That kept us pretty busy,” she said.
When Bennion announced she was taking the Park Service job, Bruce Morrison, a member of the chamber board, asked Linda if she would be interested, the board having discussed the possibility at the March board meeting. She thought about it and agreed to be interviewed. A vote was held and she was hired for a job she loved 30-plus years ago.
“It was a good, fun job. I really loved it and had a lot of fun doing it,” she said. “Bruce had told me the position opened up, and it sounded kind of fun.
“I just like meeting people. There’s a little bit of salesman in me. I like to sell something to people. If I think it’s interesting and something people would enjoy, that’s a challenge to me. Selling people on Lovell comes naturally to me. Bruce has always loved Lovell and he brought me right along with him.”
Morrison is of the belief that all businesses can work together to benefit the community. Her message to chamber members and potential members is: “In the long run, all of our work makes it a better place for you to do business, so join in and help out.”
Her job is also about teaching, she said.
“We have some wonderful things here to promote,” she said. “I want visitors to have a pleasant experience, and the business community benefits from their coming here. It’s a win-win for businesses and those involved in tourism specifically. It comes down to community pride, but a lot of our children don’t know enough about ‘all that out there.’
“I want to work on a Cody-Powell-Lovell pathway. It’s really exciting. Who cannot be astounded by that canyon? We’ve got the canyon, the mountain, the horses, the history. We’ve got so much.”
Morrison said she wants to work with the Cody and Powell chambers of commerce to promote the 14A route through the north Big Horn Basin and also with Sheridan, noting, “We’ve got the attractions.”
Once she gets caught up on a couple of project, including the Mustang Guide, she wants to be out and about talking to business owners, noting, “I want to be visible.” She said she wants to be responsive to the needs of local businesses, adding, “There’s so much that can be done. It’s about working with people and listening to them. It’s about finding ways to have people not only visit here but to live here.”
Morrison is available at the chamber of commerce office at 307-548-7552.
By David Peck