Part I: MTC Otero County Facilities Prove to Be Valuable Community Leaders
The Otero County Prison Facility and the Otero County Processing Center recently combined efforts to serve the community. Residents of the prison facility made a ‘Little Free Library’ that was installed at the Dona Ana County Community Center.
Little Free Libraries are popping up around the country as book-sharing boxes where anyone may take or share a book. The Otero County facilities saw to it that Chaparral got one as well.
“It’s a win-win situation that Chaparral, our community, has the opportunity to get books,” explains Former Warden Rick Martinez of the Otero County Prison Facility, “and it’s an opportunity for the residents to give back by building that Little Library.”
“It really is exciting,” says Misty Dawn Benavidez, property manager of Dona Ana County, “because something so small, I know, I can just see the look on people’s eyes, and I can just see the motivation, and the compassion, and the spirit that people are out here to help each other out. And that’s what we need right now.”
Willie Madrid represents Chaparral and the surrounding community on the state legislature. A former teacher, he was excited by the book project.
“There’s no too early,” he states, “and it’s never too late to have impact by books.”
Representative Madrid was also impressed with the collaborative effort that made the Little Free Library possible.
“And I think it takes the work of a community together with the businesses and organizations to find some way to contribute. So, I thank MTC for being that model of example.”
Ricardo Hernandez Lecanda is the Acting Consul General of the Mexican Consulate of El Paso.
“MTC and the Consulate General of Mexico have an old partnership,” he explains, “but this partnership improves because we are now working towards the community. So, MTC, one of their commitments is to serve the community. Consulate General of Mexico, one of the goals is also to serve our community. So, projects like this are very important because we can approach the community that needs help, that needs education, that needs culture.”
Showing support for the community, other organizations came to the Little Free Library ribbon cutting which have been longtime MTC partners, like Rogelio Maldonado who is the State Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“We’ve been very proud to partner up with them, because we all have the same vision. We’re all doing the same thing, but a smaller group. If we come together, it’s in a bigger effect. And today you saw that with different agencies from El Paso, from Juarez. We’re all working together.”
That community spirit is something the Otero County facilities have worked diligently over the years to be an active part of. In Part II of this Otero County community outreach story, we’ll show you another example of both facilities’ collaborative efforts to improve the lives of their neighbors.
“I just want to say ‘thank you’ to everybody, ‘thank you’ to MTC,” expresses Ms. Benavidez of Dona Ana County. “Without you, we wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be engaging in bigger and better things. And I look forward to working with you all.”