By Helena Rodriguez, PNT Staff Writer
The first anniversary of the March 23, 2007, tornado that ripped through the Clovis area, is a little over a week away. However, the storm was fresh on people’s minds at the United Way banquet Thursday night.
During its annual banquet at the Eastern New Mexico University Ballroom in Portales Thursday, the United Way of Eastern New Mexico celebrated renewal and tornado recovery efforts, recognized individuals who helped with the tornado recovery effort and also recognized donors to its 2007 campaign and volunteers. United Way announced last week that it has collected $580,000 for Curry and Roosevelt counties during its 2007-2008 campaign. The money will be used to fund 16 non-profit groups in Curry County and nine in Roosevelt County.
The banquet began by first recognizing the Eastern New Mexico Disaster Recovery Council which was formed to help fill the needs of tornado victims which were not filled through limited government aid when the area was declared a disaster. Through the council, Ken De Los Santos, the Curry County/Clovis Emergency Management Director said, “We were able to assist with 200 cases of unmet needs from the disaster.”
The tornado left a trail of destruction, damaging more than 500 homes and buildings in the area and was blamed for two deaths.
In recognizing the agencies that played a central part in the recovery effort, United Way Executive Director Erinn Burch, said, “Everyone in the community has played a part.”
During the banquet, United Way also celebrated serving, giving and leading. In celebrating giving, Jamie Ingle, who was honored with the President’s Award, said, “Tonight we pay tribute to the corporations, workplaces and individuals who invest tremendous resources to make real and lasting change possible for the people of Curry and Roosevelt counties.”
Todd Morris, allocation chairman, said, “We started off with about 60 volunteers in Clovis and Portales to decipher how to spend the $200,000 more in funds that we raised over the last year.”
United Way of Eastern New Mexico funded 47 different agencies this year with Roosevelt and Curry counties both exceeding their goals. Roosevelt County raised more than $90,000 which was a 30 percent increase over last year.
In the process, the county added several new campaigns and Corporate Cornerstone donors. As for Curry County, the county met and exceeded its 2007-2008 goal, even with the tornado recovery and the base population at its lowest level, according to a United Way news release.
At the end of the night, when funds were distributed, funds ranging from $837 to $43,000 were allocated to crisis intervention, self-sufficiency, work and youth and family programs.
Next year’s goal is $627,000, according to campaign chair Kevin Bond.
Roosevelt County Top Five Pacesetters
1. Eastern New Mexico University
2. Portales Municipal Schools
3. Southwest Canners
4. Sunland Peanuts
5. Roosevelt County Electric Cooperative
Curry County Top 10 Pacesetters
1. Clovis Municipal Schools
2. Plains Regional Medical Center
3. Allsup’s Convenience Stores
4. LCI 2
5. City of Clovis
6. Cummins Natural Gas Engines
8. Cargill Meat Solutions
9. Xcel Energy
10. Citizens Banks of Clovis
Alexis de Toqueville Society (contributes over $10,000 annually) — Orde de Liberte — $25,000 to $49,999, Lonnie and Barbara Allsup
Membres de la Societe (contribute $10,000 to $24,999) — Mike and Joyce Landgraf
Longtime service on the Board
Diana Thompson, six years
Lance Adkins nine years
Gene Hendrick, accumulative 24 years or more
Volunteer of the Year
2008 Campaign Chairman