Opinion: Big thanks to Cannon volunteers

By Betty Williamson
Local columnist

On this day of giving thanks, I am especially grateful today to some neighbors all of us in eastern New Mexico happen to share: the men and women stationed at Cannon Air Force Base.

I am not exaggerating when I say that the used book sale conducted last week by the Friends of the Portales Public Library could not have happened without our Cannon volunteers.

This is the third year that our small but loyal group of library supporters was supplemented (by which I mean “saved”) by some book-toting men and women rounded up for us by CAFB Librarian Melissa Haraughty.

All told, we had 20 airmen aiding us in this annual effort that involves moving and setting up hundreds of books, as well as hauling dozens of borrowed book trucks back and forth between ENMU and the Portales Public Library.

As missions go, this one ranks pretty low on the danger scale, but I can guarantee they were lifesavers for us, and — on top of that — darned fun to work with.

I’ve noticed something else about our Cannon neighbors in the past couple o months. I happened to narrowly miss being part of a two-car accident on the base highway north of Portales in September. A few weeks later, I came upon another accident on East Third Street in Portales, moments after impact. In both cases, it was less than a minute before some unsummoned responders were on the scene: Young men and women all sporting neat haircuts and many wearing desert fatigues.

While traditional first responders were starting to receive 9-1-1 calls, these Air Force members were already jumping from their cars to render aid in any way they could.

When they raised their hands and swore to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” I doubt if helping at book sales or assisting at a neighborhood car wreck was on their minds. But, goodness, we have inherited some wonderful neighbors because of their choice to serve this country.

When I pull the turkey wishbone later today, I’ll be sending out some good wishes for our book sale rescue crew (thank you again, Russell, Jose, Amanda, Dominique, Jeffrey, both Christophers, Kamilah, Justin, Lauren, Joe, Andrew, Devin, Teri, Bud, Brandon, Fredrick, Chad, Tamia, and Jeff), as well as all of the other airmen, soldiers, sailors, Coast Guardsmen, and Marines (not to mention, their parents, spouses, and children) who make up our United States Armed Forces.

Whether your own thankful list is long or short this year, I hope you’ll find a spot on it for those who serve our nation and, at the same time, our communities. We are lucky to have them.

Betty Williamson plans to be full of both turkey and gratitude by sunset.  You may reach her at: