Original URL: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/state/article/0,1299,DRMN_21_2093280,00.html

Former Greeley cop swaps blue for pink
Veteran officer finds Mary Kay cosmetics to be just the ticket
Greeley Tribune
July 8, 2003
By Mike Peters

GREELEY - Ann Blush has a mantra she repeats when asked about her change of professions.

"I went from nightsticks to lipsticks, tough to fluff, mace to your face and bullets to blush," she says.

After 18 years in law enforcement, Blush turned in her badge and started selling Mary Kay cosmetics. She still drives a Harley-Davidson, but now it's pink.

Blush started her law enforcement career in 1979 as a jail officer in McLean County, Ill., and became the county's first female deputy in 1981. Later that year, she moved to Greeley. She was with the Weld County Sheriff's Office for 10 years then served as a Greeley police officer from 1991 to 1997.

She wasn't expecting to change careers. She had attended college in her home state of Illinois to become a teacher but drifted into law enforcement.

Then, in the autumn of 1996, Blush received a radio call to assist campus police at the University of Northern Colorado.

"There's a man with a gun in a dorm room, and he may be threatening others," the police dispatcher said.

Blush was on her way when another officer in the area said he would handle the call. So she went to answer another call in her patrol area.

The UNC call involved 25-year-old Joe Gallegos, who allegedly had killed three people at his home in southwestern Colorado and had driven to Greeley to confront to his ex-girlfriend, a student at UNC.

Blush's husband, Jim, was a member of the SWAT team that had gone to the dormitory. A Greeley police sniper eventually killed Gallegos as he threatened to kill the women in the room.

Blush worried about her husband all day, unable to concentrate or even eat. That night, when it was all over, she told him about her feelings.

"He told me, 'That's how I worry about you all the time,' " she said. "I never knew he worried about me like that."

Shortly after the conversation, Mary Kay came along.

"It's a more positive organization than police work," Blush said. "As a cop, you see everybody at their worst, whether they're the victim of a crime or a criminal. Now I see people when they're friendly, happy. People I've met in this business actually like me when we meet on the street."

"When I'm on the job for Mary Kay, I'm not pulling drunks over at 2 in the morning," she added.

Blush's new job also pays more. Her salary depends on how long and hard she works. She is now a senior sales director, with 50 women in her group.

Blush also has returned to school and is close to getting a degree in elementary and bilingual education at UNC.

Blush and her husband have motorcycles and like to ride them on vacations. They've also traveled to South Dakota for the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis.

In April, with the help of a friend, Blush took a little more of the edge off and had her "construction yellow" 1995 Harley-Davidson repainted pink - Mary Kay "Cadillac pink."

The cosmetics company is famous for the pink Cadillacs often awarded to high-selling sales representatives, but Blush decided to make a statement with a pink Harley.

"When I had the yellow bike, nobody even noticed," Blush said. "But when I go by on a pink Harley, they look."

She also added some lipstick lip prints on the gas tank and windshield. She isn't sure how other Harley owners will react, but she hopes it might attract some new clients.