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COMMUNITY CHALLENGE ACCEPTED: GO BENGALS! STUDENTS RAISE MONEY TO FIGHT CANCER

By Melinda Sanchez Sun Correspondent

Ledres is the recipient of a Presidential Scholarship from UNM and K ing is a Gates Millennium Scholarship finalist. The seniors have recruited underclassmen to carry on the Team Bengal tradition.

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man told me, “You won’t be able to get high school students to do anything,” said Team Bengals sponsor Pam Yardley. That was the challenge that created the drive in the volunteer group. Team Bengals is a Relay For Life team that is comprised of more than 20 students from Gallup High School. Last year, Team Bengals was the number two money maker for the cancer-fundraising events network. That was the most rewarding part of the year for team member Loisse Ledres, when she realized her team was able to raise over $4,000 for the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event, she said. Last year’s benefit events included a staff versus youth volleyball game and a talent show that featured students from all area schools. They also

Members of Team Bengals, Loisse Ledres (left) and Karolyn King (right), were friends before they joined SADD and Team Bengals. But now they use their friendship to make volunteering fun!  Photo Credit: Melinda Sanchez partnered with Denny’s on Hwy. 491. Denny’s allows the youth group to help serve meals and donate the tips they collect to the global fundraiser. The restaurant also donates a portion of each meal sold to the event. Team

Bengals will be serving meals at Denny’s on April 11-12, from 3 pm to 6 pm each day. Relay For Life is not the only event at which the students participate. They also cook and serve meals at Care 66. The Care 66 partnership is the one student

and Bengals teammate Karolyn King finds most rewarding. The students sell root beer floats and have bake sales to pay for the groceries used for the Care 66 project. King said everything is made from scratch and Yardley makes sure of that. It takes the group from two to three hours to complete the work, from meal prep to clean up, King said. The residents are very appreciative. Most of the students on Team Bengals are members of the high school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club. Their chapter has made movie trailers about alcohol abuse and prescription drug

abuse, among warnings against other harmful substances. The trailers have been shown at Allen Theatres in Gallup. Many of the students are also involved with MESA (Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement), and drama, sports and art. Team Bengal member Loisse Ledres said she would describe the group as “a bunch of random kids.” Ledres and King are both seniors this year and have become close friends. Ledres is the recipient of a Presidential Scholarship from UNM and King is a Gates Millennium Scholarship finalist. The seniors have recruited underclassmen to carry on the Team Bengal tradition. “We are a close knit community, almost a family,” Ledres said. Loisse said she wants to call out other youth to serve the community as well because she has found volunteering to be very rewarding and hopes others can be inspired by seeing what this group has accomplished.

VETERANS BEAT

HOMETOWN HEROES BELOVED PROGRAM HONORS VETERANS

By Melinda Sanchez Sun Correspondent

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he Gallup community has a long-standing reputation for supporting and remembering their veterans and the American Legion Post #8 is no exception to this tradition. The Hometown Heroes banner program was introduced in 2011 by Reverend Dennis Gardner who was inspired by a similar display of respect he witnessed when visiting his hometown in Pennsylvania. Along with other members of Post #8, Gardner petitioned the city council to allow the display. “It has been received real well and is growing,” he said. This program functions as a way to recognize and celebrate the soldiers

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from McKinley County who have served or currently serving in the military. Mary Ann Livingston, lifelong Gallup resident, said, “I love the banner program. It means so much to me and my family.” The Hometown Hero program has allowed her family to honor her seven brothers who served in the army and air force at the same time during World War II. All seven brothers are featured on one banner, she said. The Kezele and Mesich brothers are the only family with seven sons in the service at the same time, according to Livingston. Livingston also honors her late husband, Doc Livingston, with a banner at the county courthouse. The banners are printed on both sides with information including a picture of the soldier, branch of service, and hometown in McKinley County. More than 45 banners will be hung in the McKinley

Friday April 10, 2015 • Gallup Sun

County Courthouse Square from May 2 through June 13 and again from Oct. 31 through Nov. 28 this year. Applications for Memorial Day 2015 banners are due by April 17. Donations are welcome and tax deductible. If you would like to participate with the Hometown Heroes program please call Reverend Dennis Gardner at (505)8792193, Commander Roman Herrera (505) 870-9619, or Bill Martinez (505) 863-3886. The American Legion meets every first Wednesday of the month in the basement of the old McKinley County Courthouse. This institution has been active in the United States since 1921. Post #8 of McKinley County is active with Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day parades and offers an educational presentation to elementary schools regarding the history and meaning of the flag.

A Hometown Heroes banner created to honor Sgt. Thomas Adelaido Ortiz who served during the Korean War and was tragically killed in action in Nov., 1951. Photo Credit: Melinda Sanchez COMMUNITY

Gallup Sun • April 10, 2015  
Gallup Sun • April 10, 2015  
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