Mancos’ charismatic community leader Athalie “Mac” Neely celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday.
The Mancos Marshal’s Office arranged for firetrucks from departments throughout the Four Corners region to participate in a car parade at The Valley Inn on Wednesday. Neely, a resident at The Valley Inn, was seated on the portico outside as a safety measure against the coronavirus.
Mayor Queenie Barz officially proclaimed Jan. 27 as “Mac Neely Day” in Mancos.
“She was ecstatic when she was out there,” said longtime friend Reena Wilson. “She had a grand time.”
Friends from throughout the community turned out with signs and balloons to greet Neely on her birthday. Roughly 30 vehicles took part in the parade, which included local law enforcement. Among the visitors was Avatar, a 16-year-old horse, who approached Neely’s window at the Valley Inn.
Before coming to Mancos, Neely was a registered nurse and a restaurant owner, among other things. Neely’s restaurant in California was where Dave Alvin and The Blasters started their musical career.
Neely arrived in Mancos in 1995 as a member of AmeriCorps. Her grant-writing abilities resulted in Great Outdoors Colorado funding for the Mancos River Walk.
Neely was also president of the Mancos Chamber of Commerce in 2001 and 2003 and was named Mancos Citizen of the Year in 2011.
Neely, a lifelong Girl Scout, stays in touch with Scouts she has influenced to this day. She also wrote a regular column for The Journal.