Craig After 42 years of nursing, Marilyn Bouldin, of Salida, received a lifetime achievement award from Colorado Public Health Association on Sept. 29.
"Public health has always been my first love," Bouldin said.
She moved to Salida from Craig about two years ago to be close to her sons, Todd and Scott, and enjoy retirement, she said.
Instead of completely retiring, Bouldin took a challenge and became Chaffee County Public Health director from March 2007 to September 2008.
Her successor, Susan Ellis, nominated Bouldin for the lifetime achievement award.
"I like challenges and to start new things," Bouldin said.
She was a public health nurse, nurse manager and director of community health at Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association from 1984 through 2002.
In 2003, she started the nursing program at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig.
"Starting the program was my biggest challenge, but really rewarding," Bouldin said. "In Northwest Colorado, there was no nursing school.
"After the program was established, I had people say, 'Nursing has been my lifelong dream, and now I can pursue it.'"
Bouldin is no stranger to seeking education. She received her bachelor of science in nursing at Duke University and a pediatric nurse practitioner certificate and a master of science degree from the University of Colorado.
Growing up in Long Island, N.Y., as the oldest of five children, Bouldin said she was always taking care of her siblings - two of whom have special needs.
"I also admired and loved my aunt who was a nurse, and I followed in her footsteps," Bouldin said.
Always seeking new challenges, Bouldin recently became president of Chaffee People's Clinic trustees.
Other achievements and awards include appointment to the Colorado Board of Health and leading a team to Vietnam to teach a two-week course in advanced teaching strategies.
She wrote the grant, developed and initiated a four-county nurse-family partnership program for new mothers and received the Colorado County Nurses Association Florence Award.
Bouldin said there are many opportunities in the nursing field. She said people interested in nursing should care about people and the community and want to make the community a better place.
"I never went through a period of doubt whether I should be a nurse, and I've never regretted my decision," she said.
Bouldin's future plans are to continue volunteering and traveling with her husband.