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Chamber Corner

steve chaviraSilver City-Grant County Chamber of Commerce Director Steve Chavira will provide a weekly column to the Beat, featuring items and announcements of interest to the community.

Do you ever feel like you're that performer in the circus whose job is spinning plates? There are people walking past you on the circus midway while you're just there doing your thing. Most people are mildly amused with the task that you are performing, some people are pretending that you're not even there and yet others are totally thrilled with what you are doing! Although the third group of people are genuinely interested in your expertise at spinning plates and they look like they want to ask you a bunch of questions. You make eye contact with them and are just about to say, "HI!" in the most enthusiastic voice you can muster when their mother whisks them away saying, "c'mon son, we don't have time to talk to that guy today!" In true "plate spinner" fashion, you remain positive and silently proclaim, "That's okay… the next guy will have time to talk to me!"

I'm here today to challenge you! I'm hopeful that you will accept my challenge because it's an easy challenge, but it will require you to take swift, decisive, immediate action. I promise that I will not ask you to do anything that is immoral, illegal or fattening. Who's Game?

When I was a child growing up in Bayard, our neighbor was a wonderful woman that we all simply adored. My mother taught us to respect her and, out of that respect, we called her "Grandma Gabriela." Grandma was a petite woman with silvery hair and gold, wire-framed, glasses. She had very happy eyes and a pleasant smile. Grandma was always there for us, and we, in turn, were always there for her.

When do you think we will get back to normal? Is there such a thing as “normal” anymore? It is now September 2020 and, as we’ve moved closer to the end of the year, I have begun to resign myself to the notion that we need to accept a NEW normal.

One year ago, we took many things for granted and we managed our lives on auto-pilot. We went to restaurants with the anticipation of having a plethora of choices to select from the menu. We would, hopefully, run into a familiar face while eating lunch or walking into the restaurant. In the “good old days” we might even have to wait in line to get an open table because everybody else had the same idea of going out to eat. Oh, how I miss those days!

It's Monday morning and, with a jolt, I am awakened by the alarm clock. I really want to open my eyes and go out and tackle the week. Truthfully, I open my eyes after the 2nd snooze and slowly begin to accept the reality that a new work day has begun. As my day begins, I look up toward Heaven and I'm thankful to be alive and excited about my job. Truthfully, however, I'm not a morning person so I get up and pour myself a fresh cup of "liquid ambition" and begin to think about the week ahead.

As I look, enthusiastically, at the new week ahead I'm wondering about the challenges I will face and the obstacles I may have to overcome. I know that I am well equipped to handle anything that the universe throws my way, but I am always on the lookout for that next bit of inspiration. My job is not a static job and no two days are ever alike but I know that no matter what happens I am in control of the week.

The COVID 19 global pandemic is now roughly about 5 months old. I remember when we got the order to shut down our operations. It was Friday the 13th (pun intended), and we thought this was going to be a minor speed bump on our path toward a great year. The Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center was gearing up for a very busy month. We were completely booked for the summer and the fall was beginning to fill up. We were convinced that we were going to be shut down for 2 weeks, 4 weeks tops! Boy, were we ever wrong!

Flash forward to 5 months, 13 days, 3 hours, 57 minutes and 32 seconds and we've been working very hard trying to make the most out of a tough situation. Everywhere you look there are businesses struggling to stay afloat. Some businesses were having a tough time pre-COVID and the challenges of running a business with only a percentage of your normal resources available made survival a longshot for many small business owners. Unfortunately, some business owners have not been able to survive the effects of this pandemic and when all is said and done, many more will also succumb to the problems faced during the crisis.

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned during this COVID 19 crisis? If you’re like most people you are coming face-to-face daily with things that you never thought you’d experience. When the pandemic shot off the charts in mid-March and we were forced to close our doors and furlough our employees, I was in a relatively new position at the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce and Convention Center, and I actually wasn’t sure what to expect. Now, more than 5 months later I have attended countless virtual meetings, I’ve learned what it takes to successfully work remotely, I’ve bought local and ordered takeout more often than not and I’ve tipped much bigger than I usually do, and I’ve learned that I can do this.

Is it just me or do Americans tend to "band together" during times of crisis? I recall, during the time immediately after 9-11, there was a surge of patriotism that bound us in a unified voice to vanquish our common foe. I miss those days. More appropriately, I miss the feeling that those days gave me.

When President John F. Kennedy was elected in 1960 he spoke to the enduring American Spirit when he said, "…we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, and oppose any foe in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." Americans have always been resilient and extremely charitable toward their fellow man. Americans have always joined together for a common cause. Why are things so different during the time of COVID 19 in 2020?

On August 22, 1988 I started my career at the ripe old age of 23 and, even on day one, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. Nine days earlier, on my last day of class, I was offered a job as an Account Executive at the Santa Fe Reporter in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The job was a great start and the General Manager really offered the job to me as a favor to the Journalism Department Head at New Mexico State University. Two profound truths had come into sharp focus on that hot summer day at the end of my senior year. 

First, I had not done a summer internship as a journalism student, which was unheard of at the time. This meant that my prospects of getting hired by anybody were slim. I had worked full time since I graduated high school, taken a semester off due to “burn-out” and found some time to get married along the way. I was definitely busy and overworked as a student but, as the first in my immediate family to attend college, I didn’t think I had a choice.

Live from Silver City

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