Immigrant Stories

You have probably heard Immigrant Stories weekday afternoons at 5:44 during All Things Considered. Now you have the opportunity to listen to an extended Immigrant Stories version. Tune in on the third Tuesday of the month from 4:30 to 5 when the host Walter Gallacher sits down with one of our valley's storytellers as they relate their family's journey to America.

Ways to Connect

Fifty-one years ago, Alexandra Yajko was forced to flee her native Poland. Tune in as she reflects on being a refugee as a child and the impact that has had on her life.


Host Walter Gallacher explores the reasons for our border crisis through his Irish roots and interviews with Central Americans who fled to the United States twenty years ago. Pictured: Left to right top row - José Mendoza Turbin, Ismael Argueta, Ana Ariza. bottom row - Mercedes Garcia, Lizbeth Jacobs, Tony Mendez

Walter Gallacher


Walter Gallacher

Julie Olson is the Executive Director of the Advocate Safehouse Project, based in Glenwood Springs. On this episode of Immigrant Stories, she reflects on her Minnesota roots and her 30-year career assisting victims of domestic violence and abuse.

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This month on Immigrant Stories, hear from Jasmin Ramirez: a Roaring Fork School board member and cofounder of  Voces Unidas, a Latino-led advocacy non-profit. She talks about growing up Latina and her commitment to social justice.

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This month on Immigrant Stories, hear from Chas and Marco Salmen, who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and went on to work as doctors at North Memorial Hospital in Minneapolis. Here, they reflect on working in medicine during the pandemic and the death of George Floyd. This interview is in two parts. Click this post to hear both.

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For the last seven years, Elizabeth Velasco, a medical translator, has been helping Spanish speaking members of our communities navigate hospitals and clinics. This month on Immigrant Stories, she describes how the COVID pandemic has impacted the Latinx communities in Garfield, Pitkin, and Eagle counties.

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Brisa Chavez is Garfield County's 2020 recipient of the Humanitarian Award for Community Empowerment. Here she describes the challenges and threats the Coronavirus poses for immigrant families in the County's communities.

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Ernie Gerbaz is the grandson of the Gerbazs and the Arbaneys who came to the Valley in the 1890s. Here he remembers growing up in Coal Basin and the life of Italian immigrants in the early 1900's.

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Eric Petrocco was born during the pandemic of 1918 in the mining town of Lime, Colorado. He grew up in Marble and was drafted into the Army in 1941. In this interview, Eric remembers his life in mining towns and his near death experiences as a soldier in World War II.

Post Independent

Roz Turnbull died on July 4th. She was a woman with a generous loving spirit. This month's Immigrant Stories honors her memory with an episode from the archives, speaking with Roz' mother Ditty Perry.

John Goodwin is a career peace officer and retired professor of Criminal Justice at Colorado Mountain College. John reflects on his life, the death of George Floyd and the importance of community centered police work.

Beatriz Soto

Beatriz Soto is and architect, environmentalist and Latino Outreach Coordinator for Wilderness Workshop. She recently co-founded Voces Unidas, a network of Latino and Latina leaders in Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties. Beatriz talks about traveling to the US with her parents as a two year old and adapting to new places. She also talks about work with Wilderness Workshop, Voces Unidas, and the impact of COVID-19 on the valley's Latinos.

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Lucia Ponce Campbell grew amidst the Nicaraguan Revolution and started teaching literacy classes when she was thirteen. Today she teaches young immigrant students English at Glenwood Springs Middle School. Tune in as she describes how she and valley residents help students learn English using their journey stories.

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Nancy Bo Flood is a child therapist and celebrated author of 20 books, many of them for children. Tune in as Nancy reflects on her life, her work in the Navajo Nation and the power of storytelling.

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Eleven years ago, Crystal Mariscal was living in a shelter with her four children. Today she is a city council woman, an award winning radioproducer, and a community organizer. Tune in as she describes how she overcame every challenge that life sent her way.

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Lucy Moncada-Arcila immigrated from Cali, Colombia in 2010 and left behind a life of community service. Here, she talks about the dangerous encounters that prompted her to leave.

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Anayeli Espinoza was twelve when she and her parents and her brother tried to cross the border from Mexico to the United States. It would be the first of five tries for Anayeli. Hee, she describes her harrowing journey and the emotional price she had to pay. For the web exclusive second part of this interview, click here.

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Zalmai Salahai grew up in Afghanistan, the son of an Afghan general. When he was fifteen, his father sent him to live and work on his own in New York City. Here, Zalmai talks about why he was forced to leave and how he survived on his own.

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Alex Sanchez is the new Executive Director of Valley Settlement Project. Here, he talks about the project, his childhood in Mexico and his journey to the Roaring Fork Valley as a young boy.

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Molly Hemmen had to struggle to survive her premature birth. But that challenge didn't slow her down. In this interview she talks about her Dutch ancestors, her family and her interest in genealogy.

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Brigitte Heller was ten years old in 1945 when allied forces leveled her town of Magdeburg, Germany. She shares her memories of a time she will never forget.

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Ed Grange is the son of Italian Immigrants. He grew up on a farm outside of Basalt in the 1930's without electricity. Here, he shares with Walter Gallacher about his career at Holy Cross Energy and tells the backstory of how Vail got started.

On this month's episode of Immigrant Stories, José Miranda describes his life in Venezuela and why he and his family had to leave their water buffalo ranch and start over in the United States.

On this month's edition of Immigrant Stories, local attorney Claire Noone contrasts her recent work with Central American refugees to her experience with the war widows of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia.

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Lizbeth Jacobs was born in Guatemala in 1976 amidst the country's 36 year civil war. Here she describes her family's escape and reflects on why people are still fleeing.

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Francisco Nevarez Burgueño is the Director of the Folklorico Dance Program at Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Here he shares about his love of dance and his journey from the mountains of Chihuahua, Mexico to New York City and the Roaring Fork Valley.

Immigrant Stories

What's it like to grow up in a country that doesn't embrace you as one of its own? Angeles talks about her search for a place she could finally call home.

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Jim Mason spent twenty-five years as a firefighter, first as a volunteer and eventually as the fire chief for Glenwood Springs. Here he remembers the Storm King fire and other major events in his firefighting career.

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