Photos and article by Mary Alice Murphy

Western Bank at its four locations, Bisbee and Willcox, Arizona, and its two New Mexico locations, Silver City and Lorsdburg, where the original bank was built and still serves customers 110 years later, gave a total of $24,500 to organizations.

The money comes from the Bootheel Foundation, which was incorporated in November 2007. Owners, officers, board members and employees donate throughout the year for the awards. Each bank branch has a committee, which recommends the awardees that year and how much should go to each.

According to Robert C. Martin, the advisory board director of Western Bank, his wife Marie is the "boss" of the foundation.

In the bank conference room in Silver City, a screen brought the branches from Arizona and Lordsburg to Silver City. The banks made their awards from the newest branch to the oldest.

Bisbee awarded $500 each to the Friends of the Copper Queen Library, the Friends of the Bisbee Animal Shelter and the Bisbee Unified School District PTSA.

Willcox gave $2,000 to the Charles William Leighton Jr. Hospice, and $1,000 each to Papa's Old School Gym and to the Willcox Historic Theater Preservation, An additional award of an unannounced amount went to Laurie's Place, an advocacy center.

Silver City is the second oldest branch. Pam Archibald, senior vice president, presented the checks. Loren and Barbara Nelson accepted $2,000 for Imagination Library; Amy Wagner received $1,000 for the Gospel Mission, which she said would pay for about 1,000 meals for those they help; $1,000 to Mimbres Region Arts Council will pay for help with youth activities was accepted by Maureen Craig, the board president; $2,000 to Rope 4 Hope, which raises money for meals for cancer patients at Gila Regional Medical Center, accepted by Denise Baird, the founder of the group; and $2,500 to Tatton Allsup, who has raised money for Wreaths Across America, to place wreaths on every grave at Fort Bayard National Cemetery. Allsup signed the check over to Wreaths Across America. It will purchase 250 wreaths for gravesites at the cemetery to be celebrated on Dec. 16, 2017.

The Lordsburg main bank gave out seven awards. The City of Lordsburg received $3,000 for its park, which honors veterans, police and firefighters. Lordsburg PAL, which involves youths with police to create friendships and cooperation, received $1,000. Bootheel Youth received $1,000, as did Hidalgo Medical Services for senior citizens. Sunshine Haven for assisted living received $1,500. $500 each went to the Lordsburg Christmas Festival and Panther Parents for Animas Elementary School. The Lordsburg Elks received $1,000.

Live from Silver City

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