By Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent
Carl Earl Wilson was an influential example of how one man’s life reached a nation of people through his own passions for literacy and service.
Wilson worked at the Community Service Center volunteering between 54 to 100 hours a week as a tutor depending on how many students he had. He taught ESL (English as a second language), citizenship, worked with the free income tax program and the Roosevelt County Literacy Council among many other areas. Each year he helped with the Oasis Fishing Clinic. He helped in the fire safety campaign. He assisted in the smoke alarm inspection for the elderly and installed as many as 83 smoke detectors in homes on his own time.
Carl Earl Wilson died on July 7, 2005, at the age of 67 due to complications with his health.
According to family and friends, Wilson was a true inspiration that was driven by a compelling nature to help others. He did as much work in his retirement volunteering in the community as he did before retirement, according to Vonnie Banther, former director of Retired Senior Volunteer Program, at the Community Center. She said she greatly enjoyed being and observer of Wilson’s life.
“He inspired me to find opportunities to help others in my free time,” Banther said. “I’ve learned from him that your are never too old and never to tired or too busy to volunteer.”
Carl Earl Wilson was born on April 11, 1938, in Taos to Jess and Elisa Rael Wilson. He was married to Martha Wilson. They had four children together. He worked for the city of Portales as an equipment operator for many years and after retirement in the year 2000, he spent most of his time helping others in various forms. In his spare time he enjoyed working in his yard and planting trees. He was a devoted father that left large shoes behind for all those that were honored by his life and his influence.
“He was a good teacher and a strong father figure in our lives,” said Carla Veo, Carl Wilson’s daughter. “He taught us kids how to be caring people, how to learn from our mistakes, and make better choices.
“He was not judgmental about people but wanted to help others find a solution to their own problems in order to make their life easier.”
Carl Wilson was a man of many talents and due to his own struggles in life, he worked hard to help others have a better chance than he felt he himself had, according to family members.
“He felt that if you lived with regret then you could not change and he did not want people to have regret,” Veo said. “Therefore, every student he tutored, they were special to him.”
Wilson wrote in the Nov. 2004 newsletter for the Roosevelt County Literacy Council, regarding his passion for tutoring, that he had only one regret as a tutor.
“I have really enjoyed tutoring but I regret seeing people come and quit before they give themselves a chance,” he said. “I had some fast learners and slow learners but as long as people are willing to learn, God willing, I will be there to help them.”
According to Sue Alexander, Director of the Roosevelt County Literacy Council, Carl Earl Wilson led many people to freedom because of his ability to teach in multiple areas.
“He was so encouraging when people made gain,” she said. “Knowledge is a treasure and it’s best when we share our treasures which is what Carl Wilson did,” Alexander said.
A tree was planted on July 20th at the Community Center honoring Wilson’s life. A ceremony will be held around the tree at a later date.