Helping Hands – Volunteering in Today’s World

Over the years I’ve been involved in a number of not-for-profit organizations.  Rotary, Lions Club, Job’s Daughters, Scouting, musical organizations, political organizations, and a rock club (I’m sure there are more but they don’t currently come to mind).  Over time, they all come down to some type of political/power struggle.  I volunteer to do something, and later on wonder what was I thinking?

I was thinking I want to help.  I want to assist their progress in some way.  I want to see them succeed. How can I help?  With my take-charge personality I end up the chairman, the president, the leader.  I find myself pulling away from those decisions more and more.  Would I be Secretary of the Rock Club. No thanks.  How about the Membership Coordinator? Grant Writer? Publicity Chairperson?  NO, NO and NO.   I’ll help where I can, but I don’t want the board meetings, the distraction to creating, the politics.

So how can I help?

I’ve been knitting for years.  As my little sign says, “knitting keeps me from unraveling”.  I can create something useful and keep hands busy.  I’m a much nicer passenger when I knit and don’t watch Tracy drive.  I’ve gifted hundreds of blankets over the years both knit and crochet.  I’ve taught both my youngest daughter and grand-daughter how to knit and they also have “busy hands”.  So what do we do with all that stuff?

When we had our art/gift gallery we sold well over 100 scarves to travelers looking for something useful to offer that would remind them of their trip.  Grandmothers love the scarves as gifts for grandkids.  And some locals bought them on a regular basis as gifts and for their own families. But now that the store is closed what happens to them?

One day on Facebook an ad showed up for an organization called “Operation Gratitude”. They provide “Care Boxes” for our active military, veterans, first responders, and wounded warriors.  They take only scarves made of acrylic fibers – check;  4-6” wide – check; in masculine colors – check.  If you go to their website you can download their donation form to see all the other ways you can help.  They recently had a “service day” at their base of operation in California and created 3,000 “care boxes” for the first responders in Dallas.  This is an organization I want to give to.

I’ve put together a box of scarves with the labels as requested and will send them off this next week.  They also ask for letters to the care box recipients.  It took me a couple of weeks to figure out what to say, and how I might help take their mind off where they are.  I wrote a letter using pictures from our previous time in the heart of the Grand Staircare Escalante National Monument.  I hope it will give them something else to think about.

It also reminded me to add their service as volunteers to my gratitude journal.  I’m grateful they believe our freedoms are worth fighting for. My grandmother, mother, father, and 1st husband all volunteered for the Marine Corps.  They each had their own reason for that service, and each contributed in a unique way.  They wanted to help in some way.  I guess it’s in my blood.

Until next time – – –

 

I love a ribbon cutting

One of my favorite things to do is help people with their projects.
Whether it’s a Fire Station, Health Clinic, or Historic District, ribbon
cutting is the most satisfying outcome I can imagine. While I’ve lived in
Escalante I’ve gotten grant monies for the Fire House, the original
clinic, the airport runway, and the Escalante Show house. All except the
show house were public projects. The show house is privately owned and
operated.

When the Steed’s purchased the abandoned show house in 2013 they
envisioned they would have it open “some day” but not July, 2015. The 1938
facility had been vacated and partly torn up inside as it sat with dirt
floors for almost ten years. Tracy and I had been providing them print
services since 2010 and gotten to be good friends. When Jenifer asked me
to help her with a Grant Proposal for Rural Economic Funds, there was no
way I could say no.

With $50,000 grant award in hand, their own personal funds and a
line-of-credit they went to work to get it open by July 4th, 2015.
Husband Shannon didn’t believe it could or would happen. Jenifer and I
pressed forward . They already have several special events booked for the
venue and will continue to develop their plan of work as they get into the
winter months.

Between their Wild West Retreat, operating the Cowboy Blues Restaurant in
Escalante, serving triple the amount of bus tours and special events at
their outdoor facility, Wild West Retreat and Cowboy Cookouts will
continue to be a success. They have a plan and continue to work it. It’s
been an honor and privilege to work with them over the years. I’m looking
forward to that ribbon cutting.

Escalante Show House Close to Being Revnovated

Escalante Show House Close to Being Revnovated

Escalante Show House Before Renovation

Escalante Show House Before Renovation

T-Mobile – Please Port My Phone

After many calls, emails, and letters, I think I understand why T-Mobile won’t agree to port my phone number, even though Congress says it shall and the small phone company who has the number can’t refuse and doesn’t have an exemption.

Problem: I live in a remote section of southern Utah where cell service is all roaming and T-Mobile does not have a porting agreement with the local carrier. Why? Because we are not in their service area. Okay, but you provide me and others in town with cell service. In fact, it’s the most reliable of all the carriers.

Solution: I need T-Mobile to initiate a porting agreement with South Central Communications in Escalante, Utah.

Background: South Central Communications used to provide cell service but shut down their system and sold their tower in 2012. This co-op based company is “locally owned and operated” but forgot what local meant when they shut off the tower.

When they quit providing cell service they told us they “sold that portion of the company to Verizon”, then it was they recommended you transfer your cell service to Verizon. However, Verizon could not provide the same level of service because they wouldn’t buy the tower and couldn’t provide the service. After they got us roped into expensive agreements you could not rely on having phone service, including our Ambulance/EMT providers.

I filed an FCC complaint requesting Verizon let us out of our contracts without buyouts and we’d find another way to solve our phone needs. They argued with us until I finally asked the man from corporate to log on to their own website and click on the page that allows potential customers to get service and put in our zip code of 84726. What did it tell you? Sorry, we don’t provide service in your area. No duh, nor does anyone else, because of the tower issue, we’re all on roaming. We understand that, so a large number of us went back to landlines.

We’ve closed our brick and mortar retail operation and gone mobile but I can’t take my phone with me. T-Mobile will not port my business phone from South Central because there is no agreement. The suggested resolution from South Central Staff – get a number with Verizon and port it there and then port it to T-Mobile. Sorry, that still won’t solve the problem.

South Central Dir of Sales and Service told me it is not in their best interest to port numbers and won’t without an agreement but it’s T-Mobile’s responsibility to initiate an agreement. The staff in the Number Transfer Center at T-Mobile slipped and told me I’m not in their service area so they don’t have an agreement, but South Central must release the line.

Hole-In-The-Rock Foundation Trekking Permit

Public Comment is being accepted by the Monticello BLM office on the request by the HITR Foundation to allow trekking along the road and trails within the GSENM.  These are non-invasive, controlled adventures that should be allowed.  I submitted my comments (below) and hope all goes well.

“I am writing in support of the Hole-In-The-Rock Foundation Trekking Special Use Permit.

The activities planned are consistent with the historical usage of these trails and promote proper use of lands due to the sponsor training/guidance requirements.

The historic nature of the entire length of the Hole-In-The-Rock Road and trails is of significance to the thousands of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints. Their continued access and use of these lands should be maintained in perpetuity. Not only is it a cultural/heritage consideration, it is a financial benefit consideration for the many small towns near the trail/road and the many small businesses that depend on these activities.

With the limit on the number of users within the time period, the limit on number of users per group, and the types of activities, I see no justification for denying these groups use for one year with evaluation for four additional years.”

If you are interested in commenting sarch for Monticello BLM and scroll down the page to the press release section for the permit.  Your support would be most welcome.

Change

We are now only 13 days from closing our retail gift shop and it’s a little hard to comprehend what that will be like.  We’ve lived our lives around the store here in Escalante, Ut for the past 8 years and we’ve not had free time to stay up late, travel, write, read much or so many other things.

Now that’s it here, we’re both clinging to a dream yet not knowing what that will mean.  C.A. Brooks said it well in her post this past week – “Once again we are reminded to take a breath and honor the pause as a change in direction reveals itself. Vehicles do not instantly change from forward to reverse and neither do we.”

In the meantime time I’m doing a few price changes to make some items more ideal for travelers to take home and feature items that need to find a new home before we close.  I’m in the process of moving my jewelry studio home and I’ll spend the rest of the weekend doing just that.  That will pretty much empty four of eight rooms of “stuff”.  If you think you accumulate “stuff” at home over the years, retail operations are worse.  I’ve rooted out enough pencils, pens, and sticky notes to last the rest of our lifetime and then some.

It’s Friday – peace and joy to all for a pleasant fall weekend.  The Aspen have turned and the cottonwood are following along.  A beautiful weekend for a Sunday drive.

Until next time – – –