Ernest Buckham of the Downtown Lions Club asks children from the Developmently Delayed Preschoolers program in Dexter how they liked their hamburgers during the Eastern New Mexico State Fair, Tuesday. (Mark Wilson Photo)
Debbie Gonzales, Joan Hall and the rest of the Roswell Lions Club want to make sure that everyone has a good time at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair. In keeping with that desire, the club sponsored its 48th consecutive Special Needs Day, Tuesday, allowing those with disabilities to enjoy the festivities.
Small groups of youngsters ages 3-6 visited various attractions at the fair including the mobile dairy classroom and Ken Karter and his funny dummies.
Gonzales, vice president of the club, says it’s important for disabled to have a chance at a normal childhood and the day gives them an opportunity to have that.
This year the Lions wanted to branch out and include the elderly, but Hall said miscommunication and possible confusion as to what the event was may have prevented that from happening. She said the goal is to be better prepared next year and help all special needs individuals in the community, regardless of age.
As the kids from the Developmentally Delayed Preschoolers program in Dexter left the lunch area, they sang a song thanking the Lions Club for its efforts on the day. Gonzales couldn’t help but tear up as the boys and girls sang in both English and Spanish before waiving goodbye.
“Their little faces and the way they hug you,” she said fighting to hold back the tears. “This is why we do it. That’s our future generation, they’re going to run the world and if we give them a little boost, a little help … they can get ahead.”