Lagrimas: Morenci Fire’s acts bring tears of caring, gratitude

Walt Mares Photo/Gila Herald: Clifton resident Susan Breen clasps her hands in prayer and gratitude to God and the Morenci Fire Department volunteers who delivered a box full of groceries and household items to her home in South Clifton. The volunteers are delivering such packages throughout Greenlee County. “God bless them, God bless them,” said the teary-eyed senior citizen of the volunteers. “One more reason I am so grateful to live in Greenlee.”

Firefighters carry candle to light days of doubt, darkness

Column By Walt Mares

CLIFTON – Lagrimas. That is the Spanish word for tears. It is not often that my eyes become wet. Very rarely are my eyes filled with lagrimas. That did not happen even when the Chicago Bears did not make it to the 2020 Super Bowl.

But it did happen this week on a Tuesday morning, April 7. The lagrimas resulted from an act of caring and kindness. The Morenci Fire Department is responsible for that. Three volunteers from Morenci Fire brought a box filled with various kinds of food and bags with bathroom tissue and paper towels to our home in South Clifton. 

It came as much of a shock as it did a surprise. It was mid-morning. My wife, Susan, and I were sitting in our backyard under the shade of an apricot tree, drinking coffee and enjoying some light conversation. Actually, some that was not so light. We were discussing what is happening to our society because of the fear caused by the coronavirus global pandemic and how it has turned the world upside down. 

Susan was commenting on how fortunate we are to live in very rural Greenlee County, far away from the hustle and bustle of city living: heavy traffic, crowds of people and how we feel safe living where we do. We are surrounded by wide-open spaces, hills, mountains, and deserts. A beautiful river flows through our town. The San Francisco is one of only four rivers in Arizona that flows year-round,

Susan commented, as she has before, “I’m so grateful to live in Greenlee.”

Our home is located on a hillside. One has to climb 20 very steep steps to reach our porch. Rarely do we have visitors. We have a tall gate at the bottom of the stairs. There is the sound of a soft metallic clang when someone opens and then closes it. We heard that sound, looked at each other and wondered who could possibly be coming up the stairs.

We heard someone knocking on our front door and said, “We’re here in our backyard.”

Whoa! Three masked people appeared. What the heck?

Walt Mares Photo/Gila Herald: Volunteers from the Morenci Fire Dept. deliver a box of food, paper towels and bathroom tissue to a home on Turner Avenue in South Clifton on April 7. It is another act of kindness by the volunteers in Greenlee County during the current coronavirus pandemic that is resulting in shortages at grocery stores and supermarkets of many foods and basic household items. The Morenci Fire Dept. is distributing essentials to many senior citizens and households in Greenlee who are in need or who find it difficult to travel to a store. Many are staying home to hopefully avoid contact with others to reduce the possibility of becoming contaminated with the potentially deadly virus.

Each of the masked folks was carrying something. I was not sure what to think. One man was carrying a box. A young lady was carrying something in plastic bags. Another man was carrying a flat, rectangular object filled with eggs. They were white and glistened in the ever so brightly morning sun.

Susan and I looked at each other and quickly recovered from the surprise. Neither of us could believe what was happening. We had no idea who these people were, where they came from and why they were at our home. 

They were Jason McEuen, Rebecca Turner and Duane Turner. Initially, it was a bit difficult to understand them as they spoke through their masks. Duane Turner said Morenci firefighters are trying to help anyone they can in Greenlee County. For now, that includes the communities of Loma Linda and Verde Lee, each located a few miles from Clifton. Morenci Fire’s focus is on helping senior citizens. To think that although I am 66 years old and Susan is fast approaching that, we rarely think of ourselves as being seniors. Hey, but we are and have been slowing down a bit each year. So this was a good reality check. 

 I said, “Wow! That is something. That’s great. God bless you for doing this.”  They each nodded their heads in response. Of course, neither  Susan or I offered to shake hands with them. They were wearing protective plastic gloves as well as their face masks. People, in general, are encouraged not to make contact with others to avoid the possibility of spreading germs and the novel coronavirus in particular. 

Soon after they left my eyes started becoming wet. There was not anything flowing down my cheeks but the feelings in my mind and heart were being expressed through those lagrimas I did have.

Lagrimas also filled Susan’s eyes. She bowed her head, folded her hands in front of her and very softly thanked God and the volunteers of the Morenci Fire Department for their kindness and caring. Once again she expressed her gratitude fo living in Greenlee.

We acknowledged to each other what a beautiful, beautiful thing had just occurred, especially in the midst of the fear and anxiety that is all around us.

We both commented on how the act by the Morenci Fire folks was every bit like the proverbial candle in the darkness. It sheds light on the beauty that humanity remains capable of. It is especially meaningful as the holy day of Easter, a day of hope for the future, will come in just a few days. May we all make time to focus on love and kindness and appreciate what we do have. Foremost is the gift of life.

Although there are no church services being held this Easter Sunday, at least none that we know of, the does remain the opportunity to worship. We may do so with our families in a quiet outdoor setting away from groups or crowds. More importantly, there is the option of worshiping at home, especially when there is love at home. Love at home says it all.

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