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Shannon plans to continue giving back

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Charles Shannon has been a pharmacist for 45 years. Thirty-five of those years have been at Primm Drug where he has served Roswell alongside his wife Jana. (Submitted Photo)

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Charles Shannon is a community-minded man. Roswell has been his community of choice for 35 years now.

“We moved to Roswell in 1983 from Clovis,” Shannon said. “We met people right away, inviting us to get involved. It didn’t take long to make friends here.”

Some of his earliest friendships have become some of his closest ties.

“John and Betty King were some of the first people we met,” he said. “Betty was running for Tim Jennings’ spot in Santa Fe. She asked if we’d cut some radio spots for her in support. I said sure, they’d been really helpful to us. Glenn (his partner at the time) cut a spot or two and I cut a spot or two.

“Well, who comes in the store and walks up to the counter and says I want to introduce myself. ‘My name’s Tim Jennings,’ He said. ‘I just wanted to come and meet the guys who cut the spots for Betty King and ask why you didn’t cut some spots for me.’ I said ‘Mr. Jennings, I didn’t know you, but I knew Betty and I knew she was a good person.’

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“We became the best of friends because of that. I would ride with Tim’s wife Patty at the end of the session. She would load up in the old suburban that they had. It had the legislator’s license plates, so we were doing 100-plus miles per hour. She was talking the whole time. I was terrified the whole time. I’d get a load of stuff and come back here in his vehicle at a normal speed.”

Shannon and his wife Jana have been involved in the community through Crimestoppers, the Eastern New Mexico State Fair and other organizations. They make their decisions together and they work together. Their marriage is truly a partnership.

“Jana and I have worked together for 45 years,” he said. “That’s how long we’ve been married. We get along really well and we enjoy each other’s company.”

The skinny years helped them develop that partnership.

“There were some hard times when we first started,” Shannon said. “Money was tight. At Primm One, we had a hide-a-bed up in the office. Our two girls would come in, do their homework in the office and go to sleep there. We’d take them home at night when we were finished.”

Purchasing Primm One, at Second and Main Streets, gave Shannon a lot of insight into how Roswell is run.

“It was a gathering place for all the locals,” he said, “the old guys who knew what was happening all over town and had been here forever. Dr. Steve Marshal and a bunch of them. They’d come in every morning. From 10 to 16 of them, and they would discuss what was happening in Roswell and what was going to happen.”

After five years renting the original building, Shannon decided that ownership made more sense to him. They purchased the building at Eighth Street and Union Avenue, where they remained for 18 years. Then they bought four lots across the street and built the current facility.

“I was about 60 years old at that time,” he said. “Everybody thought we were crazy, but it worked out well. We had 12 covered parking spaces put in behind the building. I never thought I’d hire that many people, but we ended up with 17 employees.”

While negotiating the sale of Primm Drug, recently, Shannon negotiated the rehire of all his employees by the new company.

“Brian, one of my pharmacists, will take over as the pharmacist in charge and store manager,” he said. “He started doing deliveries for me when he was 17 years old. He worked for me while he was in high school. From college, he worked with me on holidays and weekends. He’s been with me now for eight years.

“Lindsey Pearce is also one of our pharmacists. Her mother worked for us at Primm One 35 years ago. I’ve known Lindsey since she was born.”

Shannon talked about starting a new life after he walks out of his office for the last time.

“I’ll probably cry,” he said. “Jana and I are just focusing on getting to Oct. 20, then we’ll decide what we’re going to do. We have a place in the mountains between Mayhill and Cloudcroft. I’m going to go up there and sleep for three or four days. This has been more stressful than I thought. My wife has a long honey-do list I’ll fight my way through, but in between that we’re gonna do some traveling and have some fun.”

After decades of building a business in Roswell, Shannon’s life is undergoing a significant change. But it won’t include stepping away. He has always believed in giving back to his community. Roswell has been good to him and his family, and he will remain active in the community for years to come.

“We have met some of the greatest folks you’d ever want to meet in Roswell,” he said. “We’ve got the greatest friends here, people I’d trust my life with.”

He’s looking forward to having more time to focus on his family now that retirement is on the horizon.

“I need to take care of Jana,” Shannon said. “We’ve missed a lot of stuff. Our 45th wedding anniversary was just last month, we spent it here preparing for the sale. Her birthday is the day before we close on the sale. I said let’s do something for your birthday. She said ‘My birthday present is getting those papers signed.’”