February 6, 1998
'Rainbow the Clown' receives hero award
By RICK SMITH
PECOS, February 6, 1998 - Joyce Morton tries to live her
life as a testimony to the love of God. While she seeks no
glory for the good deeds she performs, Joyce is not one to
hide her light under a bushel either.
As "Rainbow the Clown" Joyce brings laughter and fun into
the lives children in both the Pecos area and in Mexico, and
she brings a message.
"I do magic and funny routines for anybody who has children
that want to hear about the Lord," Joyce said about her
"Rainbow the Clown" act. "Every routine tells about the plan
For about 20 years Joyce has been taking her act to Bible
schools and wherever she is invited. But her work as
"Rainbow the Clown" is only one reason Joyce was given the
Hidden Hero Award by the Pecos Chamber of Commerce this year.
"Those who are nominated for the Hidden Hero Award are
people who do a lot for the community and other people
without being recognized," said Linda Gholson who presented
Joyce with the award at the chamber banquet . "They are
people who do things out of the goodness of their heart and
their love for people."
Joyce certainly fulfills those qualifications. She taught
first graders in Pecos for 25 years and continues to be
involved with child education. Joyce is a Sunday school
teacher at one church, leads singing at another church,
teaches painting classes, organizes groups to paint murals
on downtown buildings and provides supplies for the poor,
just to name a few of the things she does with no thought of
praise or reward.
"She takes things to Mexico to help the hurting and the
sad," Gholson said. "She helps others for the sake of
helping people, not for her own glory."
Francis Heath has known Joyce for more years than she can
"I got acquainted with her and her husband years ago when
our children were showing animals in 4-H," Heath said. "When
I started to West Park (Baptist Church) I really got to know
the woman. She has a beautiful personality and is always
"She's my Sunday school teacher at West Park. She leaves
from there and goes to Barstow to lead singing in a church
Heath says Joyce is an organizer. She gathers rice, beans,
tortilla flour and many other supplies to take to missions
on the Rio Grande. Joyce teaches painting classes at the
Pecos Senior Citizens Center and has organized groups of
local artists to paint murals on some of the neglected
buildings in the downtown area.
Joyce and her husband raised two sons of their own and were
foster parents to several other children.
"If you ever have a need and Joyce finds out about it she
will take care of it if she can or find someone else to do
it," Heath said. "And she'll never mention that she did it.
"Joyce is a person that brightens any corner where she is.
I've never seen her mad or heard her say a bad word about
According to another of her many friends, "Joyce is a very
good Christian woman who lives her life that way." So says
"She is always willing to jump in and help other people and
put them first," Greenwood said.
Joyce also is president of The Modern Study Club. She is the
creator of a Pecos Bill puppet that she uses to delight
children at the West of the Pecos Museum. Joyce is a member
of the Pecos Pallet Club.
Joyce and her husband, Don, have lived in Pecos since about
1970 when he came here to work in the oil patch. "You know
what they say, If you wear out a pair of shoes in West
Texas you'll be here forever,'" she said.
Their two sons, Floyd Lee and Allen, both graduated from
Pecos High School. Joyce and her husband, Don, have four
Joyce finds it hard to explain why she stays involved in the
community, but she gave an example of what makes the effort
worth while for her.
"I teach art at the senior center and when one of the ladies
there finishes a work and says, Oh, I like what I've done,'
then I've just got paid. I feel happy at what I've done and
I feel good," she said. "When we make a downtown corner look
better and other people see it I think they might say,
Pecos must be a nice town because they made this corner look
"I think sometimes you can take care of your own problems by
taking care of others. You stop looking at our own problems
by helping others."
Meet the candidates next week
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, February 6, 1998 - Reeves County residents will have
a chance to meet the candidates in the upcoming March 10
Deomocratic Primary Election and discuss pertinent issues
with them at a "Meet the Candidates" program at 7 p.m.,
Tuesday, Feb. 10, at Quality Inn. The program is sponsored
by the Pecos Business and Professional Women's Club.
During the program each candidate will have five minutes to
speak, increased from three minutes in previous years,
according to the women's club president Debbie Thomas.
All local candidates have been invited, but not all have
responded, Thomas said.
"I haven't heard from all of them yet, but I'm hoping
they'll contact me to let me know if they will be
attending," said Thomas.
"We have done this for several years and have always had a
good turnout, and a good response from both the community
and the candidates," said Thomas.
The group will be sponsoring another meeting next month for
the city, school and hospital district candidates. Election
for those offices will be held in May.
"We want to invite all candidates, their families and the
community," said Thomas.
Refreshments will be served.
Reserve sheriff's deputy injured
PECOS, February 6, 1998 - A reserve sheriff's deputy from
Monahans, Vori Balderas, was injured last night during an
altercation with a man wanted for a parole violation out of
According to the Reeves County Sheriff's Department,
Balderas was assisting Department of Public Safety troopers
in apprehending Michael Allen Cunnington, 33, of San Diego,
Calif. The officers stopped Cunnington at mile marker 37 on
Interstate 20 and, during the scuffle that followed,
Balderas either tripped or was pushed and her elbow was
broken, according to Reeves County Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez.
Cunnington has been charged with evading arrest, driving
while intoxicated, resisting arrest and assault on a peace
officer. He is currently being held in the Reeves County
According to Gomez, Balderas' elbow was too swollen for
medical personnel to help her last night, and she was given
an appointment to see a doctor in Odessa this morning. Gomez
said that she was "in a lot of pain."
Hospital staff says goodbye to interim CEO
By GREG HARMAN
PECOS, February 6, 1998 - The lobby of Reeves County
Hospital was full yesterday afternoon with the friends and
staff of Interim Administrator Terry Andris, hoping to relay
best wishes in his change of careers.
Andris turned in his resignation on Jan. 6, stating he had
accepted a position in regulatory services with The Seton
Network. The job will base him in Burnett, Tx.
Compounding Andris' decision to leave the hospital, he said,
was his wife's decision to resign from her job at Sweet
Success in Dallas to be with him there.
His last day at the hospital will be Monday, Feb. 9.
"There's never been a reception like this for any
administrator before," said Jeannette Alligood, president of
the hospital board of directors. "He was very well-liked and
Opening the ceremony, Alligood addressed Andris before the
room, "This has been a very good two years. You have allowed
us all to grow to potentials we didn't know we had."
Andris returned the sentiment by stating that his assignment
to Reeves County Hospital was the best assignment of his
life and the fastest two years he had seen.
"You've got such a terrific hospital. You are such terrific
people. This transition will be very difficult because I
fell very close to you all," said Andris.
Dr. James Cam, chief of medical staff, professed to the
gathering that before Andris joined the hospital they had
worries there every day. "You have revitalized and revived
everyone. We owe you big time!"
Willie Hamilton also publicly thanked Andris, saying, "You
have always included us and came to our meetings."
Andris was presented with a plaque from the RCHD Board of
Directors in appreciation for his services, and Nancy
Ontiveros, hospital public relations coordinator, presented
him with a gift on behalf of the hospital employees.
The new interim administrator will be Charles Butts. Andris
said that Butts, who was born and raised near Sweetwater,
Tx., had 25 years of experience with hospital administration
and "knows the hospital system."
She talks with her hands to help student
BY PEGGY McCRACKEN
Guadalupe Villela studied sign language 17 years ago, and
used it occasionally to communicate with learning disabled
students in her special education classes.
Now Villela talks with her hands all day long at school,
then goes home and cracks the books again to improve her
It is not the simple hand signals of American sign language
that Villela uses with her first-grade hearing impaired
student, but exact English. That requires learning the
various word endings, such as "ed" and "ing" that enable the
student to recognize those same words on paper.
"I just happened to be in the right place at the right
time," Villela said of her move into the classroom of
Lanette Portillo. When the position came open to interpret
for Stephanie Laurence, personnel director Crissy Urias
remembered Villela's skill.
"We had taken some more classes in sign language and Crissy
knew about it," she said. "I'm sure the boss upstairs had a
plan for us."
Stephanie is learning to read and write and is up with her
age group in math, Villela said.
"The hardest part is reading because it is hard to teach her
plurals," she said. "Just the other day we were doing a
story about five dogs. She put down dog,' and I kept
saying, You need an s' because it is more than one dog.'
"It is very hard for her to see the differences after she
has learned a word one way. We are working very hard on her
speech. She says her words the way she hears it."
Working with a special student is no different than working
with your own, Villela said, in that you learn their body
language to help understand what they say.
It is also necessary for the student to understand her
"I wish there were more people I could sign with, because
you get use to that one person," Villela said.
She attends workshops periodically to sharpen her skills.
While at one such workshop, she met a 15-year-old girl who
had been completely deaf since birth, yet had learned to
speak in a normal voice.
"She had made a video with her teaching others to sign," she
The girl responded to background music in the classroom,
dancing to its rhythm, she said.
"They can feel the vibrations of the music, or hear it.
Stephanie can hear music before I do," Villela said.
Villela has had the support of her husband, Alfonso, as her
teaching career in special education took a new turn.
"If it hadn't been for him, I wouldn't be as far along as I
am now," she said. "He's not happy unless he sees me
Working from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Austin Elementary, Villela
is physically and mentally tired from the constant hand
movements that keep Stephanie involved in classroom
discussions and physical education.
But the work is so rewarding, Villela feels she will stay
with sign interpretation the rest of her career.
She has even taught classes in signing.
The easiest way to learn is to learn families of words,
adding signed letters for specifics, she said. An example is
the sign for "sick." With an "F" added, it becomes "flu." A
"A" turns "sick" into "ailing," and a "D" makes it "death."
"Words that have no sign, you have to finger spell the word
as it is written," she said. "She's not familiar with a lot
of long words, so I plan ahead my lessons and tell her what
the sign will be for a certain word."
Villela encourages people to talk directly to Stephanie
instead of to her. "She will pick up most of it, and if she
doesn't, she will ask me herself," she said.
"Speak directly to the person, no matter what their
disability," said the teacher who has worked with special
needs children of all ages for the past 16 years.
With her three children grown, married and moved away, Lupe
and Alfonso often spend time at their retreat on Lake
Brownwood, where she paints the beautiful sunsets, takes
photographs, sketches, embroiders and works with clay.
"I like to cook, but I don't like to clean up after myself,"
Commissioners meet Monday
PECOS, February 6, 1998 - Reeves County Detention Center
expansion project items will be discussed at the regular
meeting of the Reeves County Commissioners, set for 9:45
a.m. Monday, Feb. 9. Financing, application and
certification of payment for Banes General Contractor and a
proposal for construction materials testing and observation
for the project will also be a topic at the meeting.
Commissioners will discuss awarding bid proposals for column
showers for the RCDC and approve early voting workers for
the Democratic primary election.
Other items on the agenda include right-of-way easement for
Madera Valley Water Supply; a contract for the detention of
juvenile offenders between Crane and Reeves counties and
awarding of a proposal for licensed Texas Real Estate
Inspector for Home Contract.
The group will also discuss/take action on:
* A bid award for TCDP Contract.
* Reports from various departments.
* Budget amendments and line-item transfers.
* Personnel and salary changes at the juvenile detention
center, RCDC and the Reeves County Sheriff's Office.
* Minutes from previous meeting.
* Payment of semi-monthly bills.
* Spread on the minutes, continuing education certificate
for commissioner precinct 2 W.J. Bang.
Concepcion "Concha" Lerma, 64, of Monahans, died Thursday,
Feb. 5, 1998, at Medical Center Hospital in Odessa.
Services will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at
Martinez Funeral Home Chapel.
Lerma was born Dec. 17, 1933, in Van Horn and was a
Survivors include: her husband, Luciano Lerma, Sr. of
Monahans; six sons, Rolando Lerma of Pecos, Charles Ray,
Luciano and Rosendo Lerma of Odessa and Manuel Rivera and
Antonio Garcia of Odessa; five daughters, Mary Rodriguez of
Pecos, Anita Lerma, Delila Lerma of Monahans and Dilia
Saldana and Yolanda Melendez of Odessa; one brother,
Margarito Benevidez of Hemet, Calif.; three sisters, Cecilia
Moreno of Hemet, Calif., Pabla Garcia of Pecos and Frances
Bustamantes of Odessa; 14 grandchildren; and seven
Martinez Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, February 6, 1998 - High Thursday, 60, low this
morning, 39. Clearing skies will bring warmer temperatures
across Texas on Saturday. But temperatures will be cold
tonight across the entire state with readings to be near the
freezing mark as far south as the Hill Country. It will be
clear to partly cloudy tonight across West Texas with fog
expected during the early morning hours in the areas east of
the mountains. It will be mostly sunny on Saturday. Lows
tonight will be in the 20s and 30s, highs Saturday will be
in the 50s in the Panhandle and in the 60s and 70s across
the rest of the area.
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