Good Samaritans to the rescue

To the editor,

I had an awfully frightening rollover that took about a nanosecond Wed., Nov. 11, when I hit a patch of ice. Some wonderful people stopped immediately to help. I could not have gotten out, as I was lying on the driver’s side door and was quite disoriented. They were able to open the door and coached me on how to climb out. They called 911 and also alerted the person I was heading to interview at Purg. Some fine fellas in a green CRV let me sit and warm up while the rescue vehicles were en route. Of course, I never got these good folks’ names, but I would like to thank them passionately for their selflessness in my time of need!

– Virginia A. (Ginny) Jones, Aztec

Thanks for successful Stand Down

To the editor,

The Disabled American Veterans, Silver San Juan Chapter, would like to say “thank you” to the many individuals, businesses and civic organizations that helped make the second annual Four Corners Veterans Stand Down a success. This year we were able to assist over 100 veterans with information provided by over 55 agencies.  Our veterans spent the day receiving support and gratitude from everyone involved in the Stand Down. We were able to provide haircuts, hot meals, clothing, and information on benefits, jobs, housing, education, spiritual guidance, banking, resumes, medical and emotional support, pet care and much more to the veterans who attended.

The support from the community was overwhelming this year and so greatly appreciated by the veterans who attended as well as the DAV and VA. This event would not have been possible without all of the donations of food, clothing, volunteers and providers. A very special thanks to the Durango, Denver, Albuquerque and Farmington VA representatives for all their hard work pulling this together; and to everyone who came that day to volunteer their time. We thank you for your support of our veterans and hope to see you next year!

– Janna Schaefer, Stand Down Coordinator; Charlie Parnell, treasurer, DAV Chapter 48; and Richard Schleeter, La Plata CVSO

Making a difference in the struggle

On the edge–


Kids need shoes.

Kids need coats.

Tears of frustration.

Lord what do I do?

No, just one piece of chicken,

No, tonight it is just Ramen.

Add water to that milk.

Tears of frustration,

Damn tears of frustration.

Not enough time to work.

Not enough time for my children.

Damn the car breaks down again.

Rent is increasing.

Tears of frustration.

Where do you go, what do you do?

At least we have a roof over our heads right now.

We have beds to sleep in.

We may not have the best of things,

I buy my children Christmas at the thrift store.

My son gives me his money from yard work; my daughter works after school.

Still yet a struggle but we will make it, if no one gets sick and we are careful with our budget, so damn those tears of frustration…

Living in such a beautiful place, you can sometimes overlook what is so obvious – the struggle. I am not saying that struggle is bad, it gives you character and you learn appreciation and gratefulness for all that you have. My children and I lived paycheck to paycheck, sometimes day to day. I have missed one day of work in my lifetime. You cannot really afford to miss any. There is a struggle within this society – prices just seem to be going up, especially food.

How do you feed a family? How do you house a family? It is not the panhandlers at Walmart and downtown type of struggle that is so evident, but those who are just trying to make ends meet. They go to work every day, life throws them a wrench: the car breaks down; a child gets sick; there’s not enough for the utility bill; a home needs repair. They have nowhere to turn; a person with dignity, wanting a regular life.

It is not just the families. There are many spectrums of “on-the-edge situations:” elderly, young adult, single, etc. The rising cost of housing, lack of jobs that pay sufficiently, rising cost of food, lack of education and skills.

Most people want to make it on their own. Sometimes there are instances when people need assistance. We have many organizations that offer guidance, counseling, and help with food and housing here in Durango.

n Housing Solutions is a nonprofit organization that is a one-stop shop for housing services in Southwest Colorado, helping more than 5,000 families a year. It is the only agency offering comprehensive housing services in conjunction with case management. Services provided by Housing Solutions include emergency assistance, rental and utility assistance, transitional housing, housing rehabilitation, emergency heating repair, counseling for housing and reverse mortgage, and affordable housing. Developments include a 61-unit project of single-family homes, a five-unit transitional apartment building and a 19-unit senior living facility. Housing Solutions councils each person to explore long-term, sustainable answers to his or her challenges. Housing Solutions’ staff believe the key to self-sufficiency begins with stable housing, which helps at-risk families become assets in our community. The number is 970-259-1086

n The Durango Food Bank offers food to residents of La Plata County –  contact the Department of Social Services for criteria: 970-382-6150. The Durango Food bank has helped feed about 823 people this year. It also facilitates the distribution of commodities and senior food boxes.

n Habitat for Humanity is a worldwide organization offering a hand up, not a handout, in building homes. It has an extreme impact on its homeowners. There is dedication in the families that commit to this venture. It not only creates a home but character, integrity and a change in self-awareness and love of community. Habitat for Humanity of La Plata County has helped families build 41 homes this year. Its number is 970-382-9931.

These are just a few of the nonprofit agencies here in Durango trying to make a difference in the everyday lives of the people you work with; your neighbors, friends and co-workers.

– Yvonne Cochrane, Housing Solutions Board of Directors

Skip the turkey on Thanksgiving

To the editor,

While  President Obama is pardoning two turkeys for Thanksgiving, every one of us can exercise that same presidential power by choosing a nonviolent Thanksgiving that spares a turkey’s life.

And here are some good reasons:

- You can brag about pardoning a turkey – like Obama.

- You truly are what you eat. Who wants to be a “butterball?”

- Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.

- You won’t sweat the environment and food resources devastation guilt trip.

- You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

- Your body will appreciate a holiday from saturated fat, cholesterol and hormones.

- You won’t have to call Poultry Hotline to keep your family out of the emergency room.

Seriously, this Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health and happiness with a life-affirming, cruelty-free feast of vegetables, fruits and grains.

Our own dinner will feature a soy or wheat-based roast, mashed potatoes, stuffed squash, candied yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. An internet search on “vegetarian Thanksgiving” is getting us more recipes and other useful information than we could possibly use.

– Diego Horvath, Durango