New banner at VFW post

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By Ruth Fort

The Mora Valley Chamber of Commerce, at the suggestion of Bertha Cassidy, coordinator, has donated a beautiful banner to the VFW Post 1131.

As people drive into Mora on N.M. Highway 518, they will be faced with a welcome and the statement that we honor our veterans and troops. The banner says, “Mora remembers the veterans and supports the troops.”

At an unveiling ceremony on Nov. 12, the banner came into full view of an admiring audience of town people and veterans.

Merill Witt, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, with the help of the commander of the VFW, Sam Muniz, did the honors.

 After the unveiling the group moved into the VFW Hall to have a program honoring the veterans and the present-day troops. They gave special speeches to honor those of the VFW who had passed away this year. Those being Zeke Medina, Adelido(Gabby) Vigil, Joe Gandert, Rudy Valdez and George Garcia.

Different people spoke and read lovely poems and remembrances of the loved ones who are gone.

  After the program, there was a delicious dinner and raffle to benefit the addition to their building.

Grief and loss
workshop held

A bilingual workshop on grief and loss for substance abuse counselors, social workers and other professional mental health workers was held at the Cleveland Community Center last Thursday.

It was sponsored by the Rio Grande Alcoholism Treatment Program, whose executive director is Lawrence Medina. There were 20 participants from Taos, Peñasco, Mora and Las Vegas.

The purpose of the course was to train the participants how to perform grief intervention with individuals and families who have suffered multiple types of loss such as death, disaster, divorce, health and career. Emphasis was on working with grieving people of different cultures, ages and gender.

The workshop was lead by Ed Cardenas, a licensed independent social worker from the University of New Mexico-Taos. He has a master’s degree from the University of Denver.

He has conducted training seminars at the local, state, national and international levels.

He is an author of books in substance abuse, culture and parental school involvement. He has a clinical experience in working with individuals and families in grief and with PTSD and substance abuse.
 He said that most cultures in the world believe in the after life.           

He compared our life and death to the transformation of a butterfly from a caterpillar to a beautiful butterfly and showed a lovely film showing the transformation. This is a comfort to those who are grieving a loss of a loved one or friend. He stated that love is a key to helping people cope with a loss. If counselors have love in their heart, it is the greatest changing agency.

After a lunch, Ed Cardenas continued to present the importance of counselors understanding the needs of cross cultural grieving and especially of the clients in substance abuse. He emphasized the need for the participants to read books about grief and loss that he has written and recommends other books on the subject.

Toys for Tots drive in Mora
Saturday afternoon Mora was far from quiet and sleepy as vintage cars and motorcycles roared through town on their way from Holman School to the La Cueva Church, their destination, to turn around and come back to Mora, after a blessing from Father James Sanchez. The parade then came to Mora and stopped in front of St. Gertrude’s Church where, after they parked their bikes, they took the toys that had been on the ride with them and deposited them on the pile that had already been growing.

Toys had already been donated by some community people and businesses. The pile of toys was overflowing as the participants of the parade gave generously.

This was a dream and plan of the members of the Mora Bikers Club, the Paisanos.As they planned about what would be a good project to help others, someone came up with the plan to have a toy drive for the children of Mora. That is when the ideas blossomed and the Toys for Tots drive and celebration on Saturday was the result.

It was estimated that there were 100 participants and more than 200 toys collected. It was truly a community effort. In these difficult times the holiday season is going to be tough economically on many families. The people who organized it are more than happy to do it and hope to make it a yearly tradition for the community of Mora.

Special thanks to all who made this affair a great success.

Ruth Fort is a Mora County correspondent. She may  be reached at (575) 387-6523 or ruthfortchacon@yahoo.com.