By Jade Ortego

Killeen Daily Herald

Debbie Charbonneau, Salado's tourism director, is a busy woman.

Charbonneau said the most important thing about what she does is accommodate guests to Salado, a 150-year-old historic village that prides itself on its dedication to the arts.

"It's my job to take care of them and make sure they enjoy their visit, tell their friends and come back," she said.

Every day is different, she said, because she meets different people and different groups and tells them the story of Salado.

"I absolutely love my job," she said.

Charbonneau works with a lodging property group to draw more guests to Salado. She loves the people she works with, she said, and her job involves the input of many.

"It takes everyone – from the residents, to the retailer, to the lodging property owner, to the civic organizations, to our schools, to our government, to our volunteers – to always keep on working on ways to make sure that we continue working on all aspects of tourism," Charbonneau said.

The challenges of her job, she said, are to always keep up with the current needs of the hospitality industry and think of innovative ways to bring more guests to Salado.

Debbie said she found out about her job more than five years ago at a Susan B. Komen Foundation Board retreat. The facilitator there was a retailer in Salado and told Charbonneau about an opening for a tourism director. She applied and got the job.

Charbonneau also serves on the Texas Downtown Association board of directors and the Texas Brazos Trail board of directors and is the certified Main Street manager through the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Because Charbonneau's father was in the Army, she moved around a lot in Germany and the United States during her childhood.

She went to schools in Waco, Amarillo, Rosebud, Fredericksburg, and finally graduated from Tivy High School in Kerrville. She graduated from Concordia University.

In her spare time, Charbonneau goes to movies, travels and spends time with her grandchildren. Her hobbies include reading and playing the piano.

Contact Jade Ortego at or (254) 501-7553.

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