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Health Council recognizes two who have been long-time contributors to the group

 At left, Priscilla Lucero, GCCHC chairwoman, presents a gift to James Marshall. At right, Lucero hugs Sam Redford for her mentorship.

The Grant County Community Health Council heard presentations from several community groups and organizations at its Monday, March 17, 2014 meeting.

Connie Hostetler, who deals with senior issues revolving around health, said she plans to attend the Compassionate Choices March 26 Western Institute of Lifelong Learning class.

She is also part of the Silver Adult Care Services program, and said the group received partial funding from the Freeport-McMoRan Community Investment Fund.

"We are revising the senior directory," Hostetler said. "We are expecting people from the state at our senior centers. We will attend the Hunger Forum in Albuquerque, because it is a huge senior issue. At meetings on senior issues, networking always happens. At our next meeting, we expect a conference call with Jennifer Avril, who has been working on senior issues in the area for years."

The next presentation was by the Community Partnership for Children. Maria Elena Jauregui-Cross, president of the group, spoke to the council. "Our group promotes excellence in the care of children. It started in 2d003, and we are the ones who got funding for the childcare center, where Baby Boot Camp is housed."

"We are trying to get all of us who are working with younger children to work together," Jauregui-Cross said. "We work with the Red Hot Children's Fiesta. In the fall, we want to hold a 5k run to bring awareness of what child abuse is. We work as a pass-through agency with Western New Mexico University Early Childhood, New Mexico assistance program and with the local dyslexia group.

Priscilla Lucero, health council chairwoman, asked about funding.

"We are grant funded, and always trying to become more sustainable," Jauregui-Cross said.

Presentations were made by Lucero to two people, who have in the past, worked extensively with the health council.

James Marshall, who was with Gila Regional Medical Center Project Development, is now the director of GRMC Emergency Medical Services, so no longer working on behalf of the health council.

"It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to work with you," he said.

Lucero recognized former health council co-chairwoman Sam Redford, who after about 15 years, retired from the council. "Sam has always been a mentor to me," Lucero said.

"Corre Caminos was the first thing we got accomplished as a new health council," Redford said. "We also helped get First Born off the ground and now it's in more than 15 counties and Guatemala.

"We created a co-operative agreement between competing agencies and held so many information forums, I lost count," she continued. "We don't fit bumper sticker logic, but we get things done. I hope you continue to be successful. The health council has been a terrific accomplishment for a lot of people."

Tony Trujillo, another long-time member, said he would "pick on Sam. I'm not sure if I'm happy or mad." Redford, as an aside, laughed and said she probably would have resigned a while back, but she didn't want Trujillo to be the longest serving member. She and Trujillo were founding members of the council.

Trujillo continued by saying: "It will be difficult having to replace someone like Sam. She brought so much to the council, so much initiative to make us something. We are something because of you, Sam." Redford acknowledged the compliment.

"As for the mayor," Trujillo said, "when the health council needed support, we knew we had James Marshall doing work behind the scenes to get things to happen."

Lucero read the Disabilities Advisory Council report, in the absence of Evangeline Zamora of Lifequest and health council member. The report said Senate Bill 313, which included a request for rate increases for the DD waiver passed, "thanks to help from senators Howie Morales and John Arthur Smith, and support from representatives Rudy Martinez and Dianne Hamilton. This will serve all."

It was announced that the building donated to the Disabilities Advisory Council by the town of Silver City had been moved to its location and the group had received a grant to provide equipment for the center, which will provide therapeutic activities for the disabled.

Damie Nelson gave a presentation for CARES, Community Advocates for Respect, Equality and Safety to combat bullying. "The schools do not have adequate training for addressing bullying. We set goals fro ourselves, four older ladies who were part of the Silver Schools Committee on Bullying. We applied for funding from the health council. With the help of the mayor, the town of Silver City presented us a proclamation against bullying. In May 2013, we brought in an anti-bullying trainer, Esther Williams, who presented a seminar for teachers during the day and in the evening a session for parents. We still have money and are looking forward to using it."

Annie Lessem said it was not just the four women, but the group has pulled in numerous other groups who want to support bullying prevention and bullying awareness. "Some of us are with your group on interpersonal violence helping to develop anti-bullying programs. We set out goals and objectives and are looking to pull CARES as a community action team under the health council, so everyone is coordinated."

Lucero said the group met with the steering committee and "the intent today is to bring is as a recommendation, but we have no quorum." Later in the meeting, three additional health council members arrived, reaching a quorum, and the item was approved.

Health Council member Mary Stoecker reported on Fitness and Nutrition in the Community (FANC). "For several summers, we have held Jump Into Summer. This year, we are adding to it the 5210 program, promoting five servings of fruit and vegetables every day; no more than two hours of screen time, whether it be TV, the computer or a phone; at least one hour of activity spread throughout the day and zero sweet drinks."

Lucero presented a video on hunger in New Mexico. "Grant and Catron counties have among the highest rates in the state for senior hunger, as well as for children's hunger. A Hunger Forum will be held July 17-18 in Albuquerque. They are calling for partners and presenters."

She said The Volunteer Center has seen an 87 percent increase in the number of people coming in for commodities."

The 20-minute video produced by the Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque featured stories from individuals and families who had been helped by the food bank. One of the statistics stated 50 million Americans do not have enough to eat, and the number of hungry people had almost doubled in the past two years. The food bank helps about 40,000 people every week, with about 20,000 in New Mexico not being helped.

"I hope it made a statement to you," Lucero said. "We will have local governments proclaim hunger as an issue in June and have fundraisers for local food banks."

Health Council member Armando Amador said what he saw on the video, "I've been there. I got sick and the kids would ask me: 'Dad, what are we going to eat today.' I heard my older son and daughter talking and asking each other when 'Dad was going to work.' I decided to go to school, but had to stay all day at the university because I couldn't afford gas to go home. I got involved in student government. The university would buy pizzas for students to go to the movies. I would get the left-over pizzas to take to my kids. At banquets, I got the left-overs. A man gave me tickets for the cafeteria and I took my family there for hamburgers. That person cared. Another person gave me a job at the library. I was fighting Social Security and the Veterans' Administration for benefits. I won and I began to help others. One day when we had no food in the house, my wife and I prayed. A knock at the door brought in my parents with groceries. Another knock was her parents with groceries. Then the in-laws and my sisters came with groceries. God provided for us. Give these people a hand. I see the same thing in veterans. My kids learned the hard way and now they help others."

Lucero said the council of governments sees the lack of potable water in the area every day.

The rest of the meeting will be concluded in a subsequent article.


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