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A festive “Cheers” to all the friends of GECKO who assisted this past week with two December fund-raisers: the Last Child in the Woods Christmas tree at the Festival of Trees and the inaugural Sweaty Santa Fun Run. Thanks to all our sensational volunteers and sponsors, with a special mention for Stewart Bellina, Kathy Sloan, Lvonne Wilson (Home Again), Michael Whiting, Dee and Steve McPeek, Karin Kohake, Ace Hardware, Alco, City Market, Mike Hayward, Muriel Eason, Ross Aragon Community Center, Mark Weiler, Tess and Jade Garcia, Archuleta County sheriff’s department and Marco Rodriguez.
My heart rejoiced at the end of Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. The people of our community truly opened their hearts to give packed shoeboxes full of gifts to children who live in impoverished situations. Through these shoeboxes, kids receive toys, school supplies, and simple hygiene items, but they also hear and read about God’s love for them. In 2012, Pagosa collected 674 boxes from churches and individuals. This year, we received 832 boxes from our churches and individuals. That’s a 30-percent increase in giving by Pagosa. I want to give special thanks to everyone who gave so generously, particularly to those who were involved for the first time. It’s exciting to know that your boxes are on their way to bring blessings, hope and joy to children in Togo on the west coast of Africa, Guyana on the northeast coast of South America, or Mexico.
We recently came back from a short Thanksgiving trip to find our roads in Aspen Springs graded and smoothly drivable. Once again, I would like to thank the heroes, Carrey and Roy, plus the others who come and help, for the wonderful job they do on the miles of roads in Aspen Springs. This has been going on for some of the 16 years since we moved here.
And, speaking of heroes, I can’t thank Ronnie Zaday and her mother, Pauline Murphy, enough for decorating the Christmas tree for WHIPS (Women Helping in Pagosa Springs) at the Festival of Trees. Then, there were the members of the sheriff’s department who met Jack Rosenbaum’s challenge along with other generous biddings so that together we raised $3,000 toward the purchase of Peyton’s dog.
Archuleta Seniors, Inc. (ASI), assumes management of the Senior Center on Jan. 1. Developing the proposal for this venture, a daunting task, involved numerous individuals and organizations. Therefore, the 2014 ASI board would like to thank those who assisted in the effort.
The 2013 Archuleta Seniors, Inc. board members were gracious in giving us the leeway to do necessary tasks as we applied for funding and prepared for our new responsibilities.
Cheryl Bowdridge, facility director of the community center, has been extremely helpful in making it possible for the Senior Center to remain where it is. We are also very appreciative to Mayor Ross Aragón and town manager David Mitchem for their support and their monetary contribution from the town.
ASI also thanks Musetta Wollenweber for her years of service to seniors.
Christina Knoell, executive director of the San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging, has been our go-to person, ready to answer all our questions, advise and encourage us throughout the process. Some funding for senior services is provided by the SBJAAA, which funnels federal and state money to a group of five Colorado counties including Archuleta, in order that meals, transportation and other services are available to seniors. Thanks also to the RACOA (Regional Area Council on Aging), which is an SJBAAA advisory group.
Finally, we thank the county commissioners, whose unanimous decision to terminate their contract with the SJBAAA allowed ASI to officially begin efforts to put in place our own contract with the SJBAAA. Throughout the meetings and work sessions, the BoCC reassured us that their intentions were and are to provide a framework within which an equal or better program can be provided to Archuleta County’s seniors. We thank them for their monetary contribution to the program, without which none of this would be happening.
Other Archuleta County people have been available to provide advice: county attorney Todd Starr’s guidance provided an overview of the steps necessary for success. Contract and procurement officer Larry Walton helped with budgetary and contractual questions. Special thanks to finance director Larry Augsbury, whose invaluable advice led us through some transition phase difficulties.
The 2014 ASI Board of Directors
Christmas came early this year for my third-grade class. Lynne and Rick Stinchfield came to our school during the recent Scholastic Book Fair and generously donated a filled container of coins with a note attached that included this message: “We read about the book sale in the Pagosa Sun. And about the Classroom Wish List Program. Please use these coins to fill your wishes for classroom books.” Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Stinchfield, for your bigheartedness, kindness, and thoughtfulness. My students and I are grateful and will be reading even more because of you.
Mary Kaye Mayo