Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
It’s no wonder Candace Lewis loves Roswell, and it’s no surprise that she’s the perfect person to be running the Roswell Chamber of Commerce at this point in Roswell’s history, either.
“My parents are both from Roswell and my grandparents, too,” Lewis said. “ Without their love and support throughout my life, I don’t know where I’d be now. I come from a family of truckers and my grandpa was a cattle commissioner here in Roswell and down in the valley. His name was Duff Johnson.
“Being a young girl and coming to visit my grandparents in the summertime, my grandpa had a farm and horses and cows. It was great fun for me to go be with Grandpa and feeding the cows and the horses.
“My papa hauled hay as a truck driver for many years. That was a cool thing to be around. He had a trailer with a revolving floor because he hauled hay cubes. After he’d drop off a load of hay, he’d put me on the trailer and I’d get a merry-go-round ride.”
Though she wasn’t born here, Lewis had the good sense to move to Roswell early on.
“I was born in Dalhart, Texas. Lived in the Panhandle until I was 5 or 6 years old, then we moved here,” she said. “My papa, my dad’s father, had passed away, so we moved back to be with my grandmother.”
From then on, she has been a Roswellite.
“I went to school at Roswell High, class of ’97,” Lewis said. “We’re celebrating our 20-year high school reunion this year.”
From high school, she continued her education in town.
“I took a few classes at the college,” she said. “I met my former husband after graduating. We were married 10 years.”
The marriage brought her the joy of her life.
“I have one wonderful son,” she said. “He’s a freshman at Goddard, plays football. He also plays drums and guitar. I’m very proud of him. He is what keeps me going every day.”
For a few years she ran a business with her mom.
“My mom and I opened Merle Norman Cosmetics on College and Kentucky,” Lewis said. “We were in business for about five years, and then, unfortunately, we had to close down.”
During all that time, there was an unsolved mystery that kept bugging her.
“For many years I would drive down Second Street, and I always wondered what the Chamber of Commerce did,” Lewis said. “Even in business, we were involved with the chamber, but I was never really plugged in. I never really quite knew what they did.”
There’s nothing like getting a job somewhere to learn what they do.
“When the opportunity arose, I applied to work here,” she said. “I started here as communications coordinator, front desk. I worked my way up. It was interesting. Honestly, there has not been a day since I started here that I’m not excited to come to work. It’s been a great opportunity, and there’s so much more to the chamber than I’ve ever dreamed.”
New horizons opened up for Lewis because of her work at the chamber and because of her boss and mentor.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without an amazing mentor, Dorrie Faubus McCarty, the previous director,” Lewis said. “She guided me and helped me to get where I am today.”
It’s pretty clear, Lewis is right where she belongs.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I love what our goals are. I love our mission. I have no desire to go anywhere. My heart is set here, and I’m going to be here doing what I do for as long as my board and the community will keep me here.”
With her gregarious nature, she makes the most of her work.
“I’ve always enjoyed people,” Lewis said, “and getting to know people and getting to know where they come from, what they’ve done and where they’ve been. It’s very interesting to me. I see that a lot at the chamber, visiting with tourists on grand adventures. It’s fascinating!”
Lewis wants to address an all-too-common issue in Roswell, for those who are bored.
“Get out of the mindset that there’s nothing to do here,” she said. “It’s all about choice. You can choose to wake up and be grumpy or you can wake up and be happy. Instead of talking bad about Roswell, find good things to celebrate. If you can’t find good things about Roswell, call me at the chamber and I’ll help you.”
She’s glad to help.
“I want to encourage people who constantly say, ‘There is nothing to do in Roswell,’ all you have to do is plug in,” Lewis said. “Come to the chamber, go to city hall, read Vision Magazine. There are so many ways to get plugged in. If you’re bored in Roswell, you’re not paying attention. There were 17 events in April alone.”
Comparing Roswell to bigger cities is an apples vs. oranges argument.
“It may not be Disney World,” she said. “It may not be Six Flags, but it’s not supposed to be. Look around at the environment that we have. Roswell has things to offer that you cannot get anywhere else. You just have to open your heart and mind to the possibilities.”
She offered a small portion of options.
“Our parks, Bitter Lake, Bottomless Lakes,” she said, “fishing and all the outdoor activities; we have over 300 days of sunshine here. The golf, tennis, ATV riding… there are so many opportunities to do things. We have educational possibilities at ENMU-Roswell.”
Lewis takes her job seriously because she loves Roswell, and her love of Roswell is why she’s so good at it.
“We want to promote this city,” she said. “Roswell is a great city. It’s been my home for over 30 years. I want to see people have pride in our city. The people that run our community are fascinating to visit with. I love having that connection with them, building those relationships. I feel privileged to help people connect with each other. It’s really cool when people come together to mutual benefit.”
Lewis understands a basic truth of calling Roswell home.
“I want to encourage everybody to take a little pride in Roswell,” she said. “Don’t give up on Roswell. Don’t put Roswell down. This is your hometown. If you eat here, you shop here, you sleep here, this is your hometown. Take care of it. Take care of your neighbors. Support your local businesses. Take care of one another.”
Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.