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Borough man picked as new Greencastle Chamber director

August 02, 2005|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, PA.

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

A chance meeting between a young man and a young woman in Myrtle Beach, S.C., eventually led to a marriage, two children and a job as executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

William Gour, 37, spent his first day on the job Monday as successor to Dana Given. Given headed the Chamber since 1999. She leaves Aug. 12 for Nashville, Tenn. She will help Gour with the transition until she leaves.

Given was honored at a daylong open house celebration Thursday for her years of service to the Chamber and the community.

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Gour, asked about filling Given's shoes, said, "You can never fill somebody else's shoes. You can only make bigger or smaller steps."

Gour was selected from a field of 31 applicants.

Given and John Rotz, chairman of the Chamber's board of directors, said they were impressed with Gour's passion for Greencastle.

"We saw his passion and love of Greencastle and it was second to no other interviewee," Given said. "It made him stand out. You do this job for the love of the community."

"Bill rose to the top among those who were interviewed because of his talents and his public-speaking ability, but the key was his passion for Greencastle," Rotz said.

"It was obvious in the interview that he loves Greencastle," Rotz said.

Gour is a native of Canada. He earned a bachelor's degree in European history and studied U.S. history at McGill University in Montreal.

In the summer of 1987, when he was 19, he flew to Myrtle Beach for a weeklong vacation with family and friends.

One night, while walking with some family members, he saw a young woman walking toward them.

"She was with a friend," Gour said.

"I thought she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen," he said. "As she passed by, I said, 'How are you?' She said, 'fine,' and kept walking. I looked back at her and knew I didn't want her to get away, so I walked up and asked if she and her friend wanted to join us on our walk and they agreed."

He went looking for her the next night and found her. Later, he learned that she had been looking for him, too.

"Divine intervention led me to her," he said.

They spent the next few nights walking together. Her name was Amy Johnston, she was 19 and she lived in Greencastle.

Gour had just entered the university. The two began their courtship with letters, then telephone calls and then visits, when time permitted. He traveled often to Greencastle.

When he graduated five years later, they married. It was 1992.

They live in Greencastle and have two children, Canaan, 6 and Malachi, 2.

Gour said after he applied for the Chamber job, he went through its directory.

"I knew most of the members," he said.

Gour is leaving St. Maria Goretti High School, where he taught religion to take the Chamber post.

Before that, he managed the Video Den store and worked for Nevin's Furniture and Elliott's TV and Appliances, all in Greencastle.

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