By Kimberly Mares
For the Optic
Two well-known residents led the way during this year’s Mora Fiestas parade last Saturday morning. Matias and Joan Maestas’ work has benefitted the area tremendously.
Matias Maestas, a native of Holman, served as an instructor, counselor and administrator for the Mora Independent Schools district for numerous years. He also served in the U.S. Marines from 1948 to 1952 and for 13 years on the Mora San Miguel Electric Cooperative board. Both Matias and his wife Joan hold education degrees. He also served as Mora County Manager and later was elected to the Mora Board of County Commissioners. During his time as manager, the county was broke and several ranchers from the Wagon Mound area were threatening to secede from the county, until negotiations took place with the state legislature and the state finance department.
Joan Maestas moved to the area when she started a nursing position at the Mora Valley Medical Clinic in Cleveland. She sponsored the first Ski Club and had an active Nurse’s Club.
She also worked as county nurse one year. Joan Maestas was instrumental in the establishment of Helping Hands and the first county solid waste dump in Mora.
The couple, active members of the Mora Valley Baptist Church, also helped establish the Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce. They have also been foster parents and have adopted four children.
Matias and Joan Maestas stay busy with making and marketing homemade chokecherry jelly and jams. The business is known as “Grandma Joan’s Choke Cherry Jelly,” keeping the family tradition alive. Matias Maestas also enjoys telling stories about early life and developments in northern New Mexico.
During Saturday’s fiesta parade they rode in a classic white convertible.
Kimberly Mares is the Optic’s new Mora County correspondent. She may be reached at 575-387-2064 or firstname.lastname@example.org.