Alan Harry – Putting Others First
October 20, 2005
Alan Harry has a big heart for his family and friends and for the town of Truckee.
Alan and his wife Cathy and their five sons, who range in age from 17 to 28, moved to Truckee in 1992. Before their arrival here, Alan was the assistant City Manager in Half Moon Bay and Cathy was a developer. They met and blended their families, moving to Truckee soon after.
When Alan and Cathy first drove around Truckee considering a move here, they didn’t see many people out in their yards. At first they wondered if Truckee might be like Half Moon Bay, where people pulled into their garages and disappeared behind closed doors. Then they came upon the fields between the old middle school and the high school. According to Harry, the entire town was there. Looking for a town focused on kids and families, they decided to give Truckee a try.
The Harrys next move was to inquire about available rentals at a real estate office downtown. The guy who managed rental properties asked Harry what he did for a living. When informed that Harry was the new manager of Weststar Cable, the rental manager turned around in his chair and announced to everyone in the office, “Hey guys, meet the new jerk from the cable company!”
With an introduction like that to Truckee, it’s a good thing that Alan Harry is able to laugh at himself. He also knows how to persevere against adversity.
Harry recalls his first winter in Truckee, living in a rental with no garage. To make matters more challenging, he also did not yet own a four wheel drive vehicle. One sunny, Sunday morning, Harry went outside to scrape the ice off his windshield preparing to take his family out for breakfast. He was wearing a T-shirt, sweat pants and a pair of thongs. He was baffled as he kept scraping the windshield, and ice kept reforming where he had just scraped. It took one of his sons to come out of the house and inform him that it was 2 degrees below zero and that he should come back inside and forget about going out for breakfast.
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Friends from down below predicted Alan and Cathy would not last a year up here. Harry believes that remarks like that made him even more determined to stay and figure it out.
Harry’s belief in perseverance is reflected in a quote he shared with me.
“The truth is incontrovertible,
Malice may attack it.
Ignorance may deride it.
But in the end it is always there.”
Six years ago, Harry was offered a job with the Truckee Donner Public Utility District.
He currently serves as the Director of Telecommunication Services with the PUD, in charge of getting the broad band system up and running. Harry explains broadband as fiber to the home or to businesses. With all “the dominoes” in place for construction and launch of the system, Harry is optimistic that broadband services will be up and running next year.
Harry’s kids and his wife are his life. Regarding his approach to raising his sons, he says he has allowed them to spread their wings rather than trying to control them. Harry got teary talking about his son Adam who joined the Army and who will soon leave for Iraq where he’ll fly planes via remote control. He remarks about being humbled by all those years when he hounded his son to quit playing video games; now Adam will use those skills to serve his country.
Harry has done volunteer work since he was a teenager. He has worked with disabled veterans in Yountville, and has been active in the Big Brother program. Since 1983, he has been a member of Rotary. Harry is passionate about the Truckee Noon Rotary club, of which he is past president. He spoke proudly of last year’s Cadillac Ball which raised close to $100,000, with every penny going back to our community.
Harry tells me what fills up his life: his wife, his kids, volunteerism, and his work.
And when it comes to Truckee, Alan Harry embraces the town for all that it offers him. According to research by local historian Guy Coates which Harry’s wife Cathy came across, one interpretation of the word Truckee comes from a Paiute Indian guide who led a party of explorers along the Truckee River. The guide kept pointing and using a Paiute word for all right, which sounded like “Tro-kay.” Harry likes to think of Truckee as a place where everything’s going to be all right.
Harry views himself as “a regular individual that is blessed to have a handful of very good friends, and an incredible family.”
Rephrasing his favorite quote above, he adds “if you believe in something, focus on it, and hold on to it ” at the end of the day, it will come to pass.”