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From the Editor
For the past several years, Borderlands has faced numerous challenges, especially with its tiny part- time staff of two or three, one or two students and an English professor, with another faculty member providing journalistic advice on a volunteer basis. This year, the student editor found other adventures, and other good candidates already had plans for the summer or disappeared into thin air after school ended.
I first called a previous editor, Isabel Hernandez, who has returned to college this fall as a part-time student, and she enthusiastically agreed to edit, while working full-time at a familiar El Paso financial institution. I forgot she was going to Poland in July for World Youth Day, having also attended the celebration in Brazil three years ago. Somehow, that did not register until I received a text written in the wee hours of the morning that she was getting ready to leave for the airport and would not have a cell phone with her while in Europe. Gulp! We were a long way from being ready to go to print.
Rachel Murphree to the rescue! A part-time librarian who works with my English 1302 students who produce the research for Borderlands, she was working on an article on Rabbi Floyd Fierman. This evolved into a history of the rabbis at Temple Mount Sinai in El Paso. She dived into further research and fi the article and then helped us locate photos for other stories. Thank you, Rachel!
So we offer you stories of inspiration — not only of Fierman and the other rabbis who have served their congregation and given to the entire El Paso community, but of others who have put El Paso on the map, inspiring those just starting in their career. Luis A. Jiménez Jr. may be better known in other cities than he is in El Paso, even today after his Los Lagartos sculpture has been refurbished and reinstalled in the downtown Plaza. He is a giant in modern art and even gave his life for his art.
Image caption: Ruth E. Vise, Faculty Advisor & Editor
Richard “Tuff” Hedeman suffered severe injury and personal loss in putting El Paso on the map for a rodeo event that grew to be a stand-alone sport and a multi-million dollar enterprise. Ruben Salazar has inspired scores of journalists to dig deeper and stand their ground, he, too, giving his life for his career. Blake Barrows, lawyer and CEO, runs the El Paso Rescue Mission instead of making a six-figure salary here or elsewhere. All of these current or former El Pasoans stand as inspirations for the rest of us never to give up.
The biggest challenge of this summer was losing Joe Old, our faculty editor who checked our Associated Press (AP) form and facts of local history. I visited him the day before he passed and was able to tell him once again how much I appreciated his work on 22 issues of Borderlands. As I write this, I am thinking about how talented he was and how much he loved teaching. I had just attended his retirement party in May, but I knew he was not in good health then. Joe was well informed about local history and delighted in editing our articles for no other reason than he “always learned so much from them.” Well, we always learned so much from him, not only about history but about writing and giving to others. He truly reflected our theme of inspiration. He was a gentle, kind, generous soul whom I will miss terribly. This one’s for you, Joe!
Ruth Vise, Faculty Advisor & Editor
From the Student Editor
My first time helping with Borderlands was as a student at the Northwest campus of El Paso Community College during 2011- 2012, but every time I am asked, I am ready to be that detective Ms. Vise taught me to be in her English class. It has been challenging this year due to my full-time job; however, when I was asked to participate in this year’s issue, I had to say yes! I had made the decision at the beginning of the year to enroll in school to continue my education but also to do something different this summer besides work.
Image Caption, Isabel Hernandez, Student Editor
I currently work at a financial institution and I love it: I love the people I meet every day. Although the financial institution and Borderlands are two different paths, I have used all my skills and the values I hold for both jobs interchangeably. At my full-time employment, there is a consistent need for customer service, requiring a lot of patience but also humility. Many of these people are not only individuals I help, they become my family. At Borderlands, I have applied my same ideals. I am not only honored to be a part of the issue, I am very happy to have learned about these inspirational individuals that contributed to El Paso history.
Towards the end of July 2016, I traveled to Poland with a youth group for World Youth Day to see Pope Francis. Upon visiting several churches and also the Auschwitz concentration camp, I discovered how people in Europe prospered even after so much pain. In Poland, many individuals had been motivated by the Church to reach out to their community. One of the churches I visited had a hall honoring women that helped the country.
Hedwig of Silesia, Duchess of Silesia, canonized in 1267, was known for her humility. Having suffered the loss of her siblings as well as her husband and children, Hedwig founded churches and hospitals and cared for those in need. She fasted often and donated food and money to the poor. Her story taught me that despite one’s personal problems and pain, there is always someone out there who has it worse and needs help. That leads me to the theme for this year’s issue: Inspiration.
All of the individuals you are about to meet in the following pages have inspired others and continue to do so. Whether it was Ruben Salazar uncovering buried facts and inspiring the community through his words or the Rescue Mission of El Paso being the friend to those in need, both lit the hearts of the community and the world. Every day is a chance to do something different or to do something for someone else. I never put much thought into this, but you never know when you will be the person inspiring others or the person being inspired. Time is gold, so be that treasure someone else needs, for we never know if we will live another day.
Isabel Hernandez, Student Editor
Special thanks to:
Dr. William Serrata, President, El Paso Community College
Steven E. Smith, Vice President of Instruction and Workforce Education
Dr. Lydia Tena, Campus Dean & Dean of Instructional Programs, Northwest Campus
Monica Wong, Head Librarian, Northwest Campus
Rachel Murphree, Librarian & Faculty Editor, Northwest Campus
Helen Bell, Librarian, Northwest Campus
Staff, Northwest Library
Elvia Guzman-Jarnagin and Staff, Dean’s Office, Northwest Campus
Frank Samaniego and Staff, Northwest Campus ACS
Laura Gaither, Nancy Coe, Marye Booth and Emma Uresti, Northwest Campus ISC
Delilah Montoya, Professor of Art, University of Houston Claudia Rivers, Head of Special Collections, UTEP Library
Abbie Weiser, Assistant Head of Special Collections, UTEP Library
Border Heritage Center, El Paso Public Library, Main Branch
Patricia Dalbin, Public Art Program Manager, City of El Paso,
Texas Kerry Doyle, Director, Rubin Center, University of Texas at El Paso
April Vise, UTEP
Rabbi Ben Zeidman, Temple Mount Sinai
Sally Parke, Temple Administrator, Temple Mount Sinai
Trish Long, News Librarian, El Paso Times
Skye Schultz, Volunteer Coordinator, Rescue Mission of El Paso
All the students who researched local history and submitted illustrations in Ms. Vise’s English 1302 classes.
Margaret and George Lang, Debbie Luna, Conchita Alvarez and Lorraine Alvarez Portilla
Cover: San Jacinto Plaza and signage design by SWA, Landscape Architects.
Cover photo by April L. Vise.
Borderlands is published annually by El Paso Community College, P. O. Box 20500, El Paso, TX 79998. It is written by students and staff of the college. All rights reserved.
Printing is by PDX Printing, 100 Porfirio Diaz, El Paso TX 79902, a private firm in no way connected with the El Paso Community College. Funds for the publication of this supplement are provided by El Paso Community College District; however, the views and opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the El Paso Community College staff, faculty, administration and board. Submissions become property of El Paso Community College. Furthermore, El Paso Community College does not accept responsibility for possible errors in the accuracy of student research that is represented in these articles, although every effort has been made to ensure accuracy.