By Audra Hoback,
Mitchell County Hospital District is pleased to recognize Curtis Siemens as the March Employee of the Month. Siemens has worked for MCHD for one year in the IT Department.
“Curtis has been such a great asset to MCHD over the last year. He always displays a kind, willing to help attitude despite his busy schedule,” said Carla Sauer, MCHD Administrative Assistant.
“I am very honored and grateful to be recognized by my co-workers this way,” said Siemens.
By Audra Hoback,
Colorado City Police Department has welcomed two new officers to the force, Daniel Brown and Gilbert Salazar. Both officers have moved to Colorado City and are now working as part of the CCPD.
Daniel Brown comes to Colorado City by way of Snyder, where he grew up. His dad still lives in Scurry County, and he’s glad to be working close by so he can visit.
Officer Brown started working with the CCPD in December. He said that his special interest in police work would have to be “dope hunting”. Brown said that he’s “fairly good at reading people,” and that helps with being able to tell if someone is lying.
He enjoys fishing, camping, hunting and other outdoor activities in his spare time.
Officer Brown said that he went through a lot of jobs to pay the bills on his way to becoming a police officer. His three years he spent working as a jailer for the Scurry County Jail made him get serious about becoming a police officer.
To prepare for the job, Brown attended the South Plains Police Academy in Levelland. Being from Snyder, he already knew Chief Luis Aguilar and Sgt. James Barrows. He said the job here has been a good fit for him.
“We are all a team and have to work together,” Officer Brown said.
Gilbert Salazar moved to Colorado City from San Benito, just north of the Texas/Mexico border. The police officer said he spent much of his early career in corrections, working in state and federal prison facilities. A prison riot resulted in the shutdown of the federal unit where Salazar worked.
That’s when Salazar decided to change careers. He attended and graduated from a police academy in Harlingen. After his graduation, the officer started looking for jobs and was contacted by Chief Aguilar after making initial contact.
Officer Salazar said that he researched Colorado City before moving here, which may help with the culture shock he’s probably feeling since moving from the metropolitan area. Salazar said he used to do quite a bit of hiking, and he’s looking forward to getting back into it. Also, he enjoys spending time doing things outdoors, like hunting and fishing.
Because his official first day was February 18th, Salazar is shadowing Sgt. Barrows for 12 weeks. He is especially interested in the drug intervention aspect of police work also.
Salazar said that he has noticed that most of the people he’s talked to since moving here have been friendly, and though he will miss some of the fast food that’s not available here, he’s glad to be in Colorado City.
Things are really cooking in February for those that love the outdoors. With Saturday packed with outdoor education and experience, it would be a shame to miss out on these events. Now would be a great time to book a campsite or cabin and enjoy a relaxing and fund weekend at Lake Colorado City State Park on Saturday, February 20th.
On Saturday, February 20th, the Wildlife Track and Sign program will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. This is a great way to learn about identification of wildlife by means of evidence left behind. There will be a short Power Point class teaching some basic signs that can be possibly found in the area.
Then, the class moves outside to the trails and high traffic wildlife areas of the park to see what can be discovered. Anyone wanting to join the class should bring comfortable clothes and footwear as there will be a hike over modest terrain. Also helpful for learning is a camera that can close focus and a small ruler or measuring device to help for scale of the sign.
That same evening, All Around the Campfire will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. The program is a great time for joining friends or making new ones around the campfire. There will be a presentation on campfire safety and the importance of campfire gatherings to human history.
Those attending will learn about different ways to cook on a campfire such as Dutch oven, foil pouches and good old stick cooking. Kent Ivey will teach all attending how to make their own adobe Cowboy Camp Stove. He also teaches some great ways that pioneers used basic things to create easy, portable stoves and ovens with limited supplies.
Everyone is welcome to bring ingredients to make hotdogs or s’mores on the fire during the program. The campfire is lit on a weather permitting basis. If winds are high or it is raining, the program will move indoors.
There is no cost for any of these programs. Just pay the daily park entrance fee of $4 per adult and children 21 and under are free. If you have a valid Texas State Park Pass, there is no charge. Camping rates depend on the type of site. For more information, call the park office at 325-728-3931.
Helen Marshall, a Lion from Sweetwater, visited the weekly meeting of the Colorado City Lions Club on Friday. She told her personal story of overcoming great odds to achieve personal success and get an education.
Marshall said she grew up in Alabama in the 1960s during the Civil Rights movement. She was one of 12 kids, and she had to endure the integration of schools in ’69. When school started that fall, all the black schools were closed and students were bussed to schools that had been attended by all white students.
According to Marshall, all the kids being bussed to school the first day rode in complete silence. She said there was fear and anxiety about the change, because segregation meant that they had no connection with white kids.
As the bus rolled up, Marshall could see the parking lot full of white families watching the first day of integrated schools unfold in Alabama. The principal of the school took all the black kids into the auditorium and set the tone for what would be the rest of her days in that school.
The principal was clearly not happy with having to integrate the school, and he announced right away that the black kids were “gonna’ flunk this year.” Marshall said she and the other black kids were not allowed to interact with the white kids in any way, not even on the playground.
In the classroom, boys and girls went to different classes, and in the girls’ classes, white girls sat on one side and black girls sat on the other with a row of palm plants separating the two races.
From the very first day, school officials let Marshall know where she stood in their minds. The teacher wrote the word “nigger” on the board, instead of negro. The principal said, “You know where you niggers came from? Africa. You no account niggers are not gonna’ amount to nothing.”
And though Marshall heard things like this every day, she showed up and sat on the front row every day.
The principal of the school took a particular disliking to Marshall and accused her of cheating from her seat in the front row with a student two rows back. Though she had not cheated, she was kicked out of school.
Marshall couldn’t walk home, because she lived more than 30 miles from the school, but she knew her mom would be driving by on her way to work. When she saw her mom drive by, she chased the car and ended up going to work with her mom until midnight when they returned home.
Even though it was the late 60s and early 70s and miniskirts were all the rage, the black girls had to wear long skirts in school. In one of the many principal’s tirades, he made Marshall write, “I will not wear short skirts to school” 1000 times by the end of that school day. When she completed the task, he looked at the papers and threw them away.
Marshall said she was constantly berated, and she came to believe some of the awful things the principal would say about her because he was a source of authority.
Once when he had assigned an extra five-page theme on how to get along with others, Marshall wrote, “We could all get along if we just love Jesus.” The principal said, “I guess you’re not such a bad nigger.”
The black kids would spend summers working in the fields, but the principal said she might be able to pass if she attended summer school. Though the campus was over 60 miles away, Marshall’s sister drove her to the bus stop and she attended summer school.
Out of a class of 15 black girls, only five passed. Marshall was one of them.
“That school produced a whole generation of broken people,” Marshall told Lions.
The black teens were only allowed to attend trade schools, because college was not an option for them. Classes available to black girls taught them how to cook, clean, babysit, etc. Marshall was not impressed.
“As one of 12 children, I already knew how to babysit,” she said.
After meeting and marrying a man in her youth, he and Marshall came to Texas. She said she didn’t want to leave Alabama. “I bawled for three months straight,” she said.
As relationships sometimes break, Marshall ended up divorced with three kids. She was attending a church, and the pastor advised her to go back to school. Though she still suffered greatly with an inferiority complex, God directed her steps and sent her over to Abilene Christian University.
Marshall had been out of high school for 17 years when she went to the college. She said she was poking around an office and nobody was there. She was using every excuse as to why she wasn’t fit for college.
An official at the university poked his head out and came out to talk with Marshall. He went on to fill out an application for her and submit it to the right department.
When Marshall began taking classes, she was the oldest person in her class. She said she looked for every excuse to quit, but God gave her courage and every time she was about to quit, one of the teachers would commend her performance.
“God used the white people at ACU to get rid of my doubts,” Marshall said.
Her daughter was diagnosed with kidney disease at the age of 17. Her kidneys failed when she was 22 and attending college at Hardin-Simmons University. Marshall was still attending classes at ACU at that time.
Marshall was told that she would need a master’s degree in sociology to get a job doing social work. Abilene universities didn’t offer graduate degrees at that time. Marshall drove from Abilene to Arlington and back again every day to get that degree. She left at 4 a.m. and returned home at 1 a.m. every day.
“I was able to do more than I could have ever asked God,” Marshall said.
Her daughter died in 2006, but Marshall said she knows now that not one thing happens for no reason.
She said she knows that her story is about drawing men to God. “Things get rough, but Jesus still speaks to the storms,” she said. “We can either choose to love Him more or not. Everyone is worth something.”
Friday, February 6th, was Go Red for Women Day and Jennifer Hale spoke to members of the Colorado City Lions Club about cardiac education, especially for women. Hale is a registered nurse and head of the Cardiac Rehab Department at Mitchell County Hospital.
Hale told Lions that, statistically, one in every three deaths in women is caused by either heart attack or stroke, and 80% of those deaths are preventable. She went on to tell club members how to prevent such episodes.
When talking about heart disease, Hale likened it to an enemy and the body to a battlefield. She said that everyone needs to learn about the enemy and get some “special forces training.”
The first thing Hale advised was for everyone to become familiar with their numbers. Lab tests set certain values for some very important things, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, weight, etc. The first step in preventing heart attack and stroke is going to the doctor and having lab tests done to determine the numbers for each of those things.
In defining cholesterol, Hale said it is the waxy build-up that sticks to the walls of arteries, builds up and narrows the vessels which causes the heart to work harder. She said that a blood pressure reading of 110 over 70 is considered normal.
Hale advised Lions to maintain a healthy weight and to reduce their salt intake to keep the body functioning well. Other things like regular exercise and stress management are also important when trying to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
The nurse had good news for those trying to lose weight. She said that losing just 5% of your total body weight would reduce the risk of a cardiac event by a lot.
Doctors recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, and Hale told Lions that it’s important to choose some type of activity that you enjoy. Exercise improves cholesterol readings, helps with weight loss, decreases stress and lowers blood pressure.
“If it’s fun, you’re more likely to continue exercising,” she said.
Reading food labels is also important. Hale urged Lions to educate themselves about how to read the labels. She said that things to avoid include high amounts of saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.
Hale urged club members to eat a diet high in fiber and fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables.
There are two other very important factors in preventing heart attacks and strokes: quit smoking and take prescribed medicines.
Hale said that each year, 635,000 people have a heart attack for the first time, and every 34 seconds someone dies from a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when the blood flow is blocked. The cardiac rehab nurse said it’s important to listen to your body.
Mitchell County Hospital offers cardiac rehab and helps patients come up with a plan of action after they have experienced a heart attack or stroke.
Lion Glenna Siemens said that cardiac rehab was a great help to her husband. There are many success stories, and no one has died from participating in the rehabilitation program.
Since there are no cardiac rehab departments in Snyder or Big Spring, Mitchell County Hospital also sees a number of patients coming in from out of town to take advantage of this resource.