When I moved to the small Colorado town of Paonia, I was struck by the palpable feeling of community that flowed throughout the agricultural valley. Never before had I experienced such cohesion among people of diverse political, religious, and economic backgrounds - people here come together frequently for music, local food (and brews), workshops, and festivals and performances throughout the year. Soon after arriving I knew I wanted to support as many local businesses as I could while simultaneously building my own photography business. Part of that was banking locally, and I chose to begin banking at First Colorado National Bank, a locally-owned and operated institution founded in 1903. The service is amazing and it's always a pleasure to go in greeted by friends and neighbors behind the counter. The experience of adjusting to increasingly support my immediate community is one that gives me hope for the future here and elsewhere. Fortunately, the support is mutual and I recently was asked to capture staff photos for my new favorite bank - the same fine folks who'd been helping me set up my accounts and debit card were now laughing and smiling in front of my lens. Sure, it can be a frightening, uncertain world with a lot to be concerned about - but experiences like those I have here in rural Colorado prove that working together for mutual benefit is pretty swell - and fun! Let's all seek what gets us enthusiastic, and then pursue a life that aligns with that in a way that can serve others. We'll all be richer for it.
A sincere thanks to the staff at First Colorado National Bank for doing a great job in the community, AND in front of the camera! - Ben