My turn: Citizens lit up Portales

Light takes on extra importance on these longest, darkest nights of the year. Thanks to some community-minded folks who realized that a couple of decades ago, Portales shines each winter with a warm holiday glow.

Nearly 10 miles of electrical wire and more than 35,000 white bulbs illuminate Portales this month, a fulfilled vision of citizens such as Sid Chapman, Panzy Jordan, Thom Moore and David Stone, who noticed in the late 1980s that our town’s holiday decorations were becoming shabby.

Jordan credits Chapman with the idea of holding Little Miss Merry Christmas contests to fund a fix-up, while Stone put up the first lights on Portales National Bank and select buildings on the square.

But it was Moore who took the project and ran, providing much of the early legwork and inspiration, and rallying the Rotary Club and as many as 200 volunteers to teeter along rooflines unrolling the long spools of bulbs that radiate from the courthouse square to give Portales its holiday luster.

Even though he’s now relegated the high work to others, Moore still appreciates the lights, and says he loves to see them come on.

I do, too, and I am grateful to all who helped make it happen.