Another freeze, another year of helping out those in need

BY CARLOS URIAS

I was reading The Van Horn Advocate over the weekend, and on the front page there was an article accompanied by a picture regarding the sale of the El Capitan building.

Above the article, there was a story about a freeze that had just occurred in Van Horn. The date of that freeze was Jan. 4, 1973, 42 years ago.

It was estimated that Van Horn helped out 200 people by opening their homes. It was also mentioned that the Baptist and Methodist congregations opened  their churches to all who needed a warm place to stay.

This past Thursday and Friday Van Horn was hit with a hard freeze with temperatures in the low 20s and wind chills in the single digits. After all the more than 500 rooms hotel and motel rooms were rented, the decision was made  to open the Convention Center . 

When the Convention Center filled up, CCAISD opened the high school gym and the Baptist and Methodist churches also opened did the same to help  stranded families and their pets stay warm, dry and fed.

In the four years that I have served as county judge, Van Horn has had to open its facilities three out of the four years.

The resounding point that I’m trying to convey is that Van Horn and all the  residents of Culberson County have always been very giving of themselves during times of weather-related declared emergencies as was evident in 1973 and now in 2015. It is estimated that our town more than doubled in size during the freeze and about 700 people were given a warm place to stay and provided food.

The people who were housed in our local facilities were also provided breakfast later that morning before they embarked on their journey.

I would like to thank the Town of Van Horn: Fran Malafronte, Dion Corralez,; EMS and staff, Angie Wyatt, CCAISD;Debbie Engle, Marcial Gonzalez and staff, Baptist Church, Methodist Church, Van Horn Christian Shelter, Van Horn Volunteer Fire Department, Sheriff Oscar Carrillo and staff, Texas DPS, U.S. Border Patrol, Dollar General, EMC Efrain Hinojos, County employees Ruben Mendez, Fernie Calderon and the many families that opened their homes to stranded motorist or that donated goods and blankets.

It is because of those individuals who are in the trenches that we as a community, are so successful in dealing with these emergencies year in and year out.  Thanks to all our first responders for putting themselves in harm’s way every time they get called.

Last, but not least, thanks  to Ruben Florez and his staff  at TxDOT for working around the clock keeping traffic on I-10 and  I-20 flowing. It is a dangerous job during times like these, but your staff  always works hard and makes us proud. 

I would also like to thank Mayor Glenn Humphries for keeping the lines of communication open with my office. In August 2013, Culberson County along with other government offices and entities, received an award from Texas Mountain Trail for the service we provided to stranded motorist and local residents during the hard freeze of that year.