Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014 | 2 a.m.
When Boulder Station opened exactly 20 years ago today, it was down the 515 from a very different Las Vegas: The city was home to less than half a million people, there was no Downtown Project and no one called electronic music EDM.
Over that same time period, the old-time train station-themed casino remodeled all of its rooms, renovated several restaurants and exchanged coin-accepting slot machines for modern ones.
But not everything has changed: 115 of Boulder Station’s employees have been at the casino since its opening day.
Here’s a look at a three of them:
Jorge Parra first met his wife, Cecilia, when she was also working at the casino and on her break grabbing a drink. Cecilia says she figured he wasn’t the kind of guy who would settle down; Jorge says he knew within a few weeks that he would someday marry Cecilia.
Though Cecilia no longer works at the casino, Jorge still does, alongside two of his brothers. In addition to being the place he met his wife, he also credits the family he’s gained in other Boulder employees with helping him lose nearly 40 pounds.
Before she was a cocktail waitress, Renee Sheehy served in the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic and a crew chief working on B-52 bombers during Operation Desert Storm.
“(I) traded in my combat boots for 2-inch pumps,” she said.
Sheehy says the job is much more than just serving drinks. After a co-worker died of leukemia, she began carrying around tiny heart-shaped rocks to give to guests who seemed to be having a rough day and needed reminding that “they’re loved.”
“I have 15 seconds of these people’s time, to give them a beautiful experience,” she says.
The best part of working at the same place for 20 years?
“We’ve all grown up together, our kids have grown up together,” she said.
During the week, Pat Hadlett helps casino guests with slot machines. On the weekends, she rides ATVs on desert trails and explores the mountains of southern Utah with her husband.
Once she even made it into the Guinness Book of World Records as one of 1,816 riders in the longest ATV parade ever.
Hadlett plans to work at the casino until she retires. It’s where her family is, she says.