The U.S. Air Force Academy incorporates stained glass design into the ceiling as well as the more traditional windows. (Ruth Patchett/The Prairie Press)

Providing support reaps rewards

Time goes by so quickly it seems with leaves turning, farmers harvesting and children back in school.

As I was leaving HRC the other day, after working on Dolly Parton Imagination Library registration, I was reminded that HRC is gearing up for the annual online auction. It is something I love to take part in and hope you will as well.

HRC, the Human Resources Center of Edgar and Clark Counties is once again holding a silent auction to help with programs for area residents. It concerns me that an organization such as HRC, which provides such vital mental health programs, has to raise funds to carry on. Maybe you’ve seen auxiliaries have bake sales or fund raisers to enhance the landscape of a facility but, at the HRC auction I almost feel like the money raised is to keep the lights and heat on. This is one of the reasons I like to participate both by giving items for the auction and by bidding on items which are for sale.

Health care is a big topic in the news but much of it focuses on physical and not mental. This always amazes me as there is no disconnect between our physical body and emotions. Insurance companies pay out huge sums when treating people with cancer and heart conditions. Mental illness, unfortunately, is often overlooked. When was the last time you found or sent a get-well card for mental illness?

HRC this past year treated more than 400 people with mental disorders, provided 965 students with prevention services and helped 39 people get back in the work force through the supportive employment program. In addition, HRC helps individuals with drug and alcohol problems and affords people with developmental disabilities an opportunity to work and feel they are contributing members of society.

You never know what you’ll get when you give and hopefully I can inspire you to participate in the HRC auction this year.

Tom, my husband, has arranged many wonderful trips for us to take, and I decided to bid on a trip featured in the HRC auction and give it to him for Christmas. The trip I bid on and acquired was a seven-night stay at a choice of resorts all over the USA. Many of the sights I looked at required an added expense, unless one chose a place that was out of tourist season.

We picked a seven-night stay at the Wyndham Resort in Pagosa Springs, Colo., in late May. It would have cost much more had the ski season still been in effect. The resort is located just a few miles from Wolf Creek Pass, which has massive amounts of snow during the winter and is a favorite place for snowboarders and skiers.

We left Indianapolis on May 18,, and it was a gorgeous sunny day. Not so in Denver. Standing outside at the first metro train stop in Denver, it started to rain and then snow. The metro stop overhangs did nothing to protect us from the very wet, slushy snow and I was frozen. I could have kissed the car rental person who picked us up as he had the heater on full blast.

Our plan was to spend the night in Denver, have breakfast with our son and then drive to Pagosa Springs the next day. We were advised to just head south as a blizzard was predicted and so we did. As we approached Colorado Springs, and after seeing numerous cars in the ditch we decided to spend the night and wait till the next day to go on. Smart move or we would have missed one of the highlights of our trip.

Colorado Springs is where the U.S. Air Force Academy is located and the academy has a beautiful chapel that everyone should see.

Tom was looking at Trip Advisor on what to see in Colorado Springs and discovered the chapel is one of the most popular tourist sites in all of Colorado. I am so glad our plans changed as we learned the chapel will be closed in 2018 for three years worth of repairs. Go now before it closes and you will not regret it.

We went just as it was opening and had our own private tour. It was beautiful outside with 12 inches of fresh snow on the ground and the parking lot was clear with the snow quickly melting. The building has four different areas of worship with the top floor seating about 1,200 where Protestant services are held. The Catholic chapel seats 500 and is directly below, along with a Jewish synagogue seating 100 and a Buddist Temple, which allows for 10. Apparently when the chapel was designed and built this was the makeup of Air Force cadets, and all were required to attend weekly religious services.

The Catholic and Protestant chapels both have beautiful pipe organs. When we asked who had designed them it was especially interesting to us that it was the same man who designed the organ for our home church, Paris Grace Lutheran. Another interesting point made was the 17 spires on the outside, shaped as airplane wings, are described as signifying the 12 apostles and the five branches of service. Our guide said attending worship service is no longer a requirement of cadets and Muslim services are now also held on the campus.

Our son talks about how different Colorado weather can be. We encountered two more mini snowstorms while going through Wolf Creek Pass and then perfect weather in Pagosa Springs. Beautiful snow capped mountain views and blue skies were all we saw for the next seven days except for a small forest fire on a day trip we took to Taos, New Mexico.

Pagosa Springs has the deepest natural hot springs in the world and is a great place to visit and spend some time in. It is located in southwestern Colorado and though I had driven through it a number of times I had never really taken the time to explore it.

You can golf, hike, ski, fish and soak in the wonderful spring pools and shop. I especially liked some of the great little local places to eat as many featured live entertainment. Add in some very friendly people and you know why I say it made for a great vacation.

As I said earlier, you never know what you’ll get back when you give. The HRC, auction this year begins at 8 a.m. Nov. 6 and ends 8 p.m. Nov. 20. Call or stop by HRC and ask for details on how you can give an item or how you can browse and bid on items online.

In the past, I have donated pieces of furniture, vintage glassware and homemade pies for the auction. Some of the auction items I’ve purchased, besides my amazing trip, are jewelry, gift cards, a class for correctly shooting a pistol – never redeemed that one – and other items.

If you have a piece of art work, jewelry or some item that you think has value and want to make a difference consider donating it for the HRC auction. Perhaps you are moving to a smaller home and your children don’t have the same taste as you did when you collected those special treasures. If so, why not call HRC and ask if it would work for their auction? They will even pick it up. It is a win-win situation for all and can really help this very valuable community resource.

The Prairie Press

101 Central Avenue Paris, IL 61944