In the spirit of individuality, how do we demonstrate generosity to those in need?
Unquestionably, routinely, the people of this region open their hearts and their wallets and checkbooks.
Nowhere outside of church collection baskets is this generosity more evident than the annual United Way of Eastern New Mexico fundraising campaign. Serving people needing help throughout Curry and Roosevelt counties, 15 selected agencies — many serving clients in both counties feed, clothe, counsel and otherwise aid thousands of our neighbors, friends and families.
To pay for that aid, this year's campaign drive generated cash and pledges worth $575,411. It is the second highest total ever collected — and just $5,113 behind the record set in 2008 — in more than a half-century of organized secular giving.
What a tribute to the spirit of self-reliance the drive says about us, especially in the face of the current tough economic climes facing eastern New Mexico.
Thank you to every person, business, government entity or non-profit institution that stepped up once again.
Overall, UWENM leaders report, these campaigns have raised more than $11 million to help people over the last six decades.
Leading the way in the 2011 campaign for Curry County were the folks at Plains Regional Medical Center who contributed a stunning $98,286, double last year's gift. Next were the women and men of Clovis Municipal Schools with $60,318.
In Roosevelt County, the top givers were Eastern New Mexico University at $18,857 and Portales Municipal Schools at $14,280.
Of course, there are many other generous companies, their employees and other individuals — from Lonnie and Barbara Allsup to Don and Gustenia Bonner to the many unknown donors who chipped in a dollar here or there at a company's in-house fundraiser.
Every one of those dollars was so welcome, and so generous.
The region we live in exemplifies the best qualities of America and its people. And the United Way results remind all of us of our good side.
• To learn more about the contributors, the purpose of the campaign and how the monies were spread among the applicants, visit the UWENM web page and review the Annual Report at the following link: http://www.unitedwayenm.org/media/Annual_Report_2011.pdf