Connie Fry

LEWISTOWN: Connie Fry has been the Executive Director of the Lewistown Area Chamber of Commerce for 16 years.

Come December 23, she'll retire from the position, leaving a legacy and big shoes to fill.

"It's become part of my family and a lot of times comes first over my family," Connie said.

In her time as the Executive Director the Lewistown Chokecherry Festival has grown from 80 booths to over 300, bringing in thousands of dollars to the local community during the first weekend in September. 

Connie spends months preparing for this event. She organizes all 300+ booths, gets runners registered for the fun run in the morning all while taking reservations for the Charlie Russell Chew Choo.

Chamber Secretary Karissa Perryman says, "She brings in people. She's a positive impact on our community for sure."

The chamber has been Connie's life. She's devoted 16 years to the people of Lewistown but now it's time to pass the keys on to someone new.

Connie says she hopes whoever takes over can share her dedication.

"I just want whoever takes my spot to have the passion to take care of the chamber, take care of its members and take care of this community," she said.

Connie is in part responsible for bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars to the center of Montana throughout her tenure. It's her love of the area and the people who live there that makes her job worth going to everyday.

Connie says, "The best part of my job is the people and this community.  I have met so many people that have become friends with.  I love making friends and i like making you happy and for me that is important to go that extra step to make sure you get what you want."

Her impact on the community doesn't go unnoticed. Right before the 5K race kicked off on the morning of the Chokecherry Festival Connie was greeted with well wishes and thanks from dozens of people getting ready to run the race she spent weeks and months organizing.

"She's the gem in the center of Montana.  She keeps it all going," Perryman said.

The chamber is still working to figure out who will take over as Executive Director, but Connie has a little bit of advice for whoever fills her role.

"You have to be flexible. You have to love people. I don't care if it's the President that walks in or the homeless on the street. You have to love people and want to make them happy. It's not about me, it's about taking care of those people that walk in the front door."

Connie's retirement date is December 23 and her first goal as a retired executive director is to have a house full of family for the holidays.

It's no secret why so many people consider Connie a Montana Treasure.

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