April 23 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Thank you to the donors who so generously opened their hearts to the Marfa Steps Up: Service Worker Relief Fund. Your contributions helped us raise $47,207.62, after nominal GoFundMe fees. This was distributed to 175 service workers in need during this crisis. In addition to your generous donations, Porter’s and The Get Go rounded up the cards — this contribution took the cards from $269 to a full $300 for each eligible service employee. We are so grateful to our local grocery stores, and all of our donors –– those in Marfa, and also so many people from beyond who love Marfa, who so kindly supported this effort.

The success of the fund was dependent on our donors and so many who worked tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make it all come together.

Fellow organizers — Susan Kirr, Rainer Judd, Ian Lewis and Carolyn Pfeiffer — thank you for being amazing partners in this effort. You’ve been there for constant conversations, difficult decisions, logistical challenges and countless late nights helping to raise funds.

A stunning group of volunteers stepped up, including Ashlie Adams, Sabine Blaese, Sara Button, Kate Calder, Neil Chavigny, Karen Crenshaw, Laura Doll, Nicki Ittner, Caroline Kanner, Faith Melgaard, Tori Raba and Molly Shea. You brought ideas to the table with an enormous amount of creativity. You helped us get the word out by leveraging your contacts, posting flyers, creating paper forms for those service workers who did not have digital access, registering people and so much more.

We owe a special shoutout to Emily Williams, who pointed us in the direction of grocery store gift cards, which helped put food on the table while funneling all the money from this fundraiser right back into our local businesses.

We could not have done this without Jacqueline Del Olmo, Miriam Halpern, Tim Johnson, Jasmin Pineda, Lupita Rivera and David Walstrom, who all helped by providing translation. Your efforts made the fund fully accessible to our bilingual community. Also to Abbie Perrault, who gently nudged us to provide paper forms, so those without digital access could apply.

We are so thankful for our local employers who went above and beyond to get their service staff registered — Joanne Crenshaw at the Paisano, Donna Poenisch at the Hotel Saint George, Abby Boyd at Chinati, Alex Gates at Cochineal, Monika Bernstein at El Cosmico — y’all rocked this.

Marfa is lucky to have some of the best public employees we could hope for. Mandy Roane, John Washburn, Oscar Aguero and Julio Medina — all of you helped to get us connected to so many in our community, and we are so grateful for that.

The Big Bend Sentinel, Marfa Public Radio and Sarah Vasquez writing for Texas Highways Magazine — thank you all for giving us so much print space and air time.

Our grocery store partners at Porter’s — Trae Dutchover, Rigo Cruz, Rosa Pereira — and at The Get Go — Maiya Keck and Chrissie Saenz. Thank you for taking us up on this journey and going the extra mile to round up the cards. And many thanks to the staff at both stores, who are working so hard to keep everyone supplied with food and essentials.

Rainer, thank you for dreaming big and pushing us to make Marfa Steps Up something that lasts a long time. Carolyn Macartney, thank you for creating the perfect graphic identity, which will help to take this group into more initiatives in the future.

Throughout this crisis we are seeing people all over town step up for each other. Marfans are helping to get Nutrition Center meals to seniors, volunteering at the Marfa Food Pantry, fixing playgrounds, checking in on neighbors, making masks, distributing bandanas, donating and building hand sanitizer stations, running errands for those who need to stay home, working at our grocery stores and more.

So many in this town are doing so much to make a difference. We are happy the fund could be one small part of this larger community effort.

Thank you all for stepping up!

Shelley Bernstein

Marfa Steps Up



Dear Editor,

Silver Lining

According to Wikipedia, the optimism of “every cloud has a silver lining” tells us that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspects.

This pandemic has truly made these silver linings SHINE!

During this difficult time, we have been able to witness what our tri-county community is really made of! While people are doing their part and staying home, they think of others working in harm’s way. There has been an outpouring of our creative community members who have reached out to see what need there is to keep our frontline employees safe: everything from sewn masks to ear savers to protect our clinical personnel. Big Bend Regional Medical Center is truly appreciative, grateful, and oh so fortunate to serve such a caring and involved community!

People have donated N-95 masks from their own businesses, while others have donated their time and supplies to sew masks for our community, and still others have made Facebook groups to help organize information and supplies. The latest group is those with 3-D printers who are printing ear savers and other helpful items.

In closing, please remember that for every hard situation there is a silver lining, a blessing to be counted, and a positive lesson to be learned. God bless our tri-county community!

Ruth C Hucke

Big Bend Regional Medical Center


Dear Editor,

Where’s Dorothy?

Dr. Oz opined: “Opening of schools may only cost us 2 to 3% in terms of total mortality … a tradeoff some folks would consider.” Who? Negligent parents already in Family Court?

Dr. Phil, ignoring COVID-19’s involuntary, indiscriminate contagion pattern, falsely compared deaths to voluntarily driving or smoking.

Lt. Gov. Patrick opined seniors would willingly throw themselves on their swords for the economy! Are “friendly-fire” deaths the price of reopening?

Have states overreacted? Hardly! Avoidance and social distancing arise from a conscientious concern for others’ well-being.

However, gun-toting MAGA-caps protesting stay-at-home orders demanded a return to economic activities. Small business employers are suffering. Millions unemployed cannot meet basic expenses. They blame proactive Democratic officials well-aware that COVID-19 is undeterred by Trump’s lies and inaction.

Some GOP governors ignore legitimate concerns about a virus we know little of but its ruthlessness. Abbott acts irresponsibly, reopening Texas with new cases being reported.

Question: “Whom or what is responsible for these economic hardships and federal paralysis?”

Answer: “40+ years of conservatism’s deregulation mantra, a privatized healthcare system tied to employment and small government ideology exacerbated by an incompetent, mentally-ill president’s failure to pursue a coordinated national strategy!”

Reopen! Don’t isolate? The ownership, corporate, upper 1% is already self-isolated, measured by the distance between themselves and most Americans, a paycheck removed from disaster.

An Oz, Phil, Patrick and Trumpian mindset equates people to disposable widgets. The Queen of Heartless is very efficient at harvesting bodies. Meanwhile, where’s Dorothy in their wonderland of cruel realities?

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah