Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Approximately 20 people turned out Saturday morning to participate in a project for Community Action Day, sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Organizations at Eastern New Mexico University. Organizers hope their efforts will eventually turn a run-down motel into a place for community outreach.
“It went great,” said Jeff Blake who stepped in as coordinator of the event. “We cleaned all the debris out of the building to get it ready for remodeling.”
The project took place at the old Saga Motel at 16th Street and Avenue D. According to the building’s owner, Suzi Webb, the building will be used in some non-profit endeavor such as a safe haven house or a place for women in crisis pregnancy. The work consisted of stripping the furnishings and debris from the old rooms of the motel.
“The young people that came from Eastern this morning were amazing,” said Webb. “We welcome any help we can get.”
Blake said his office has organized community service events like the one Saturday for about the last three years, doing two or three projects during the school year.
“Every year we try to take on a few projects to give students an opportunity to serve the community,” said Blake.
Blake said there is usually a good cross-section of students from various groups and individuals at each of the events.
The clean-up day at the Saga Motel also drew volunteers from the Dream Center in Portales, which is a ministry set up by Victory Light Church that is utilized by the ministerial alliance in Portales and seeks to benefit the whole community. It provides clothing, food and housing to those in need. Webb is also active with that group and will be tapping them for support in whatever happens at the Saga Motel property.
“My heart’s desire is to have a safe haven house there (at the Saga Motel),” said Webb. “We have a lot of people who come to the Dream Center who have no place to stay.
“We’ve prayed a lot of different directions (on the goal for the motel) and we don’t know which direction it will go yet,” said Webb.
She said whatever happens there she will, in some way, be donating the property to benefit people in need.
Gail Keener, coordinator at the Dream Center and one of the volunteers who participated said the day was productive.
“It went great,” said Keener. “We really appreciated those college kids helping out. We got a lot done.”
Thomas Maguire, a student volunteer said he has participated in Community Action Day since it’s inception and Saturday was a good day.
“It went really well — we had fun,” said Maguire. “We cleaned out these dirty rooms that will be used to help the homeless.”
Asked about what rewards he received from the volunteer experience, Maguire was quick to comment. “Just offering service to others and giving up a little time for those less fortunate.”