Even in a time of great social, economic and political strife a small community once again found a way to come together and unconditionally support one of its own.
And this time Socorro did so in support of a young lady whose feet still dangle a bit when she sits on a folding chair.
Just weeks ago Jenna Rose, daughter of Brian and Eslinda Olney wound up in the hospital with a specific strain of E. coli that produced a toxin called Shiga. That toxin can enter the bloodstream and cause damage to blood vessels, which leads to a rare condition known as Hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS which can cause damage and inflammation to the kidneys.
That’s exactly what happened to Jenna Rose, and thus she was forced to go through five rounds of dialysis.
Understanding what the emotional and financial toll could take on the family, Socorro and more specifically Eddie Garcia took charge and formulated a plan to have a fundraiser even though he had never met Jenna Rose.
“Why not? She’s a young kid. Just by looking at her I wanted to take the initiative, take the first step and do something,” said Garcia, the Administrator at the Socorro County Detention Center. “She’s too young to be going through something like that, especially during a time like this. So again I just wanted to take the initiative.”
Along with the support of his own staff, Que Suave Café, 3G’s Q and many others, Garcia arranged a raffle fundraiser that would funnel all proceeds to the Olney family to defray medical expenses for Jenna Rose. The raffle prize included three pounds of brisket, two slabs of pork ribs, eight sausage links, bread, and barbecue sauce at the cost of $25 per raffle ticket.
Garcia said the effort was worth it.
“It took a little bit of time, but time that we had. If we had to do it again we’d do it again,” he said. “It took three weeks of preparation and we sold tickets for about three weeks.”
The team of fundraisers shot for a goal of $2,000. Socorro pulled through with more than $7,500, and Garcia said support was instant from the onset.
“It’s Socorro. We go from business to business and ask if they can just post signs at their business and people see signs and if anybody wants to buy (a ticket) they do, and we just kind of went from there,” Garcia said. “It was a team effort. You just ask and they say yes.
“I remember putting up a post on social media and people were like ‘Who do I have to go to to get tickets? Where do I go to?’ It was just instant and people just wanted to help.”
Brian Olney said the raffle went beyond his expectations.
“Especially not knowing Eddie, I had just heard the name so that was above and beyond what he did,” Olney said. “That was amazing.”
He and wife Eslinda said support for Jenna Rose has been amazing.
“That’s a small community for you. It was crazy and awesome,” Brian said. “We were up in Albuquerque. We kind of heard what was going on and when we got back were like holy moly.”
Again Garcia agreed that the fundraiser was probably even more special that the support was so strong during COVID, as many people still aren’t able to work.
“Our goal was if we can make $2,000 we’ll be happy. And even during a tough time they still found a way to support and help, and contribute to this great fundraiser for Jenna,” he said. “I love my city. I love my little town. I know we have our rough drafts and our hard times but at the end of the day when someone needs help, we all come together.”
The effort that Garcia and his team put out it also served as somewhat of an education for some in Socorro County who may not understand or appreciate what local corrections officers do no a day-to-day basis.
“Me being the detention center administrator we don’t really get a lot of recognition on what we do outside closed doors. I wanted to let them know we have a job to do, but at the same time we have a heart,” Garcia said. “When it comes down to it, it takes a certain amount of people to do what we did and it showed right there. We strived today to help a little girl that needed help.”
As of last week Jenna Rose said she was feeling good and about to enjoy her first cupcake in a long time. Brain said there’s still a series of visits to the doctor upcoming, but that his daughter has been a trooper.
“She’s dealt with it pretty amazing,” he said. “That’s the only way to describe it. A lot us if we get a cold we feel like we’re going to fall over.”