As co-owner of Endless Travel on Main Street, longtime mountain-area resident Joyce Masyga spends a lot of time working in downtown Evergreen. She spends almost as much time working for downtown Evergreen.
“I do a lot for things for downtown,” Joyce says. “It’s kind of a passion of mine.”
Joyce has been on the Evergreen Downtown Business Association board of directors for going-on five happy years. She ran the Dam Ducky Derby for four of them. She’s one of five citizen-volunteers on the ECD advisory board who’ve spent the better part of the last two years helping to launch the Evergreen Creative District.
“Downtown is already a creative district,” she explains, “but official recognition would really help with state funding for infrastructure. We won’t know before next July, but we’re on a good track.”
Joyce’s philosophy of public service is simple, but anchored in bedrock.
“I learned it from my dad: Stay loyal, and don’t do anything halfway”
Joyce Heffernan grew up in a large Irish family in the small town of Cumberland, Wisconsin. Her father was a state trooper and her mother worked in hospitals. The oldest of seven children, Joyce’s known world stood securely atop three unshakeable pillars.
“I didn’t know there was any party but the Democrats, I didn’t know there was any religion but Catholic, and I didn’t know there was any football team but the Packers.”
But young Joyce knew she wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps, and at the appointed time she enrolled in college and began studying criminal justice. While attending classes in the Twin Cities she met Dick Masyga. She took his hand, and his name; and when Dick’s career took him to Colorado, she set aside her textbooks and law enforcement ambitions and helped him make a home in the Queen City of the Plains.
“We always wanted to live in Evergreen,” says Joyce, “but back then the only thing we could afford up here was a little cabin with no water.”
The couple had three sons, two of them twins, and Joyce threw herself into public school matters. She served as president of the Parent Teacher Organization and spent countless hours serving on parent advisory boards. When she wasn’t busy supporting her boys’ academic development, Joyce was busy contributing to the household budget.
“I always kind of fell into things,” she laughs.
Taking a nice, peaceful counter job in a Hallmark store, Joyce quickly rose to the position of manager, and then spent 17 satisfying years managing Colorado Stationers in Greenwood Village. It was work she enjoyed, and she kept enjoying until 16 years ago when she and Dick finally make their way up Mount Vernon Canyon to Evergreen. They settled in Tanoa, and Joyce started looking for a nice, peaceful part-time gig where she could make a little butter-and-egg money without taking a lot of stress back home with her.
“I got a job as the receptionist for a family practice clinic,” she recalls. “Pretty soon I was managing it.”
Joyce loved her job and loved the people she worked with, but ultimately decided it was time to explore professional opportunities better suited to her personal interests. She got a part-time assistant job at Breezy Travel on Main Street.
“I’ve always loved geography, and learning about new places. It was a turning point in my life.”
Seven years ago, Breezy Travel moved to a home-based business model. Joyce and her colleagues Sheryl Fick and Susan Hammond weren’t ready to let the historic Main Street storefront go so easily.
“There had been a travel agency in that spot for 30 years,” Joyce says. “We wanted to continue that tradition.”
The three women partnered up, reopened as Endless Travel, and the agency took off like a 727 into a 50-knot headwind. For what it’s worth, though, Masyga doesn’t favor the term “travel agent.”
“I prefer ‘travel advisor’ or ‘travel consultant,’ explains Joyce, who spends considerable time in foreign parts gathering information and experience about her clients’ dream destinations. “I’m not an agent of the airlines, and if you want to book a flight to Vegas you don’t need me. But if you want to plan a river cruise or a vacation in Bhutan, I can help. I work for the pleasure of knowing I’m making somebody happy.”
On her own time, Joyce spent much of this year working for the keen pleasure she gets from knowing more about her beloved mountain community. She just graduated with Leadership Evergreen’s Class of 2015, and she found the program as rewarding as it was enlightening.
“It was fascinating. We learned about everything from waste management to economic development, and it gave me a much deeper understanding of this community. This really is a special place, and Leadership Evergreen is something I’ve always wanted to do. I think it’s a good exclamation point to the things I’ve done in Evergreen.”
But the Class of 2015 isn’t done yet. Leadership Evergreen’s curriculum calls for a class project, and Joyce has been tagged to handle the marketing end of what she expects to be a uniquely beneficial final exam.
“We making the world’s longest picnic table,” she says. “We’ve been in touch with Guinness Book, and the Germans hold the record at 511 feet. We’re going for 600.”
To seize that world record, Joyce and her classmates will need precisely 100 picnic tables laid end to end and covered with a unifying tablecloth or runner. Money raised by the sponsorship of individual tables will aid local nonprofits, and when separated the basket-ready buffets will be dispersed to picnic-perfect locations across the mountain area.
“I sincerely think it’s crazy we’re doing this,” Joyce laughs. “But I grew up in a small town, and part of it is about a sense of small-town pride. Evergreen’s my small town now, and I’m proud of it.”