Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Laura J.

Laura J. is a woman who sees her challenges as an opportunity to learn something new. They might occasionally slow her down, but nothing stops her for very long.

Born in Texas, Laura, her sister and their parents moved to Grants, NM when she was in second grade. After graduating from Grants High School she went on to earn a Bachelor Degree in Elementary Education and a Masters Degree in School Administration from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM.

Along the way she found time to marry and give birth to her daughter and son. When her children were young she and her husband decided on a divorce and she became a single parent.Although her children's father provided financial support any single mother knows it takes a lot more than money to raise children. She always knew what her children were up to and set firm guidelines for them to follow.

Laura used her degrees wisely, working as an elementary teacher for fifteen years and then as a principal. In addition to a full time job she has always supported and participated in community projects, especially those that involve families.

Shortly after her divorce Laura was the victim of a terrible accident that caused a delay in any plans she had made for her future. While training for the annual Grants Quadrathlon she was riding her bike up Mt.Taylor and was struck from behind by a car. The driver slammed on his brakes trying to avoid her hitting the windshield and it projected her 90 ft.forward before she hit the pavement. Her injuries were severe and resulted in numerous stitches to her head and pins placed in her hip. Laura amazed everyone when she participated in the Quadrathlon a year later.

In 2000 Laura was unanimously chosen to take over as the director of the new Future Foundations Family Center in Grants. It has given her an opportunity to use her administrative degree on a new level, connect with area children and help her community in ways that were not previously possible for her. The center offers after school and summer programs for children, a gymnasium, a computer lab, a fitness room for adults, meeting rooms for various community groups and provides part time jobs for area youth. In my opinion the family center is the best thing that has ever happened to Grants and Laura is the best possible person to hold the job as its director.

In 2005 Laura was on the governor's list of the top 20 Women in New Mexico. She has served on many community boards and in addition to her job has taught an Early Childhood Development class at NMSU, Grants campus. She puts her heart into making Cibola County the best place to raise a family.

After waiting almost 20 years to change her status, Laura surprised her family and friends by making a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada a few years ago. She was not alone. When she returned she and her former high school sweetheart were man and wife. Mike had also married, was divorced and had a son and a daughter. Their combined family now consists of four children and two granddaughters that they both adore.

Laura J. has always been a positive role model for anyone she comes in contact with. Her life experiences teach the teenagers in her community that they can do anything they set their mind to, no matter what challenges they face.

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