Letters to the editor (09/19/13)

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Boundaries column has merit but hugs are great too

Editor:
Dear Laura London,
Thank you for your column titled “Personal boundaries should be honored” (Aug. 1). No one can argue the merit to that supposition; and no one who reads El Defensor Chieftain can claim not to know how you stand. I have found your opinion pieces to be well written and thoughtful. And, recently I used the article in a class about boundaries that I facilitated.
Your comments reminded me of when I was a cub reporter and roaming the county courthouse halls to cover news stories. At the time, there was a judge who was well known for copping feels and raising the ire of  women. Once upon an encounter, I suddenly found my hand rushing toward his jaw and I thought, “Gwen, it’s not a good idea to strike a judge.” So I stopped my hand and looked him in the eye and said, “I don’t like that. Don’t ever do that again.” And he apologized to me and never did test those boundaries again.
Now, I know that experience was back in the dark ages when women’s lib was still a naughty word in most communities. But my point is that sometimes it’s simpler to be very direct and honest, preferably in a nice way and particularly if one’s boundaries are different than the norm. (Or if they are boorish people who won’t take the hint.)
But mostly I want to say: Gees, Laura, I’m sorry you don’t like hugs! They are a wonderful comfort and, contrary to your supposition, have nothing to do with sexual energy or repressed sexuality (as in sexual abuse). Sure, there are some people to whom I give a one-armed hug. And many times, it’s rather perfunctory. But to me even these show a willingness to share. Similar to the Hawaiian “sharing breath,” a hug acknowledges our shared existence in this community.
And then, there are the ones like my friend Stephen Welch. As was abundantly clear at his memorial celebration on Saturday, Steve was well liked by all he met. Whereever, whenever I saw Steve, I knew I could go up and get and give a great big hug. And no matter how short or long a time we spent together, I would walk away feeling enormously better.
That’s why I’m sorry, Laura: You just cannot get that feeling from a hand shake.

Gwen Roath
Socorro

Catron County resident thanks emergency service providers

Editor:
With the recent storms and flooding in Catron County, I am reminded once again and very appreciative of the EMS and fire services that serve our county. Catron County, similar to other rural counties, is at somewhat of a disadvantage in that all fire and EMS are all-volunteer services. Funding for the basic necessities — such as vehicles, equipment and supplies — is always at risk of being cut. The volunteers put aside their best interest and put the community first; they are always there to help when catastrophic events happen. They make things happen on very limited budgets, often chipping in their own resources. Stories of Catron County volunteers working endlessly to get much-needed supplies to the residents of Mogollon are circulating now.
To the unpaid, often unappreciated EMS and Fire in Catron County — thank you! Thank you for your efforts, your time and your compassion, for without volunteers the story would be much worse.

Anita A. Hand
Datil

APAS did run animal shelter

Editor:
I would like to make one small correction to Ruth White’s letter dated Aug. 29. In the last paragraph she stated that APAS never ran the shelter.
In fact, APAS had an independent services contract with the city dated Sept. 29, 2003. The contract was specific about our hours and what we were permitted to do. We handled every aspect of shelter operation until the city hired Mrs. Karin Kirkland, an APAS volunteer, on a part -time basis.
Karin handled office procedures and APAS continued in other areas of shelter operation. Other than Karin the only paid city employee was Frank Marquez, animal control officer.
Let’s hear it for volunteers.

Dorothy Brook
Socorro