The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Read a book and remember

We'll get through this together.


August 26, 2018

Our small town will forever be haunted by the tragic events that occurred at the Clovis-Carver Public Library on Aug. 28, 2017.

But last year was not the first time our community pulled together to heal in the face of tragedy.

Upon hearing the initial reports of the library shooting, my mind instantly flashed back to my friend Matthew Roberts.

He disappeared from his home in Clovis in 1990 and I remember watching the adults spending countless hours searching for him and organizing fundraisers and candlelight vigils, in a situation that ultimately had a tragic ending.

The national TV program "48 Hours" spent two days in Clovis and captured beautiful images as the community came together to search for our lost child. One of the most striking scenes was of a man tying yellow ribbons on his truck antenna. He's asked why everyone's coming together and his simple response was: "He's a Clovis kid."

That's the feeling I got again as we all gathered for the candlelight memorial after the tragic shooting at the Clovis library last year. Whether your lives had personally been touched by Krissie Carter and Wanda Walters — the librarians who lost their lives — or not, they were part of our Clovis family, as were those who were wounded in the incident.

I was fortunate enough to know both women from the library and my now-teenagers grew up in Krissie's reading programs, like thousands of other Clovis kids.

When Matthew Roberts disappeared, I was in fourth grade and he was in first grade and he had been my Reading Buddy at Highland Elementary School. We shared a love for Dr. Seuss.

I practiced reading the books at home, so I could breeze through them with appropriate voices for the characters during Reading Buddy time. I read my favorite book, "Fox in Socks" to him numerous times.

Do you know who else loved Dr. Seuss? My friend Krissie Carter did and she celebrated his birthday with a party at the library every year. Her Dr. Seuss character voices were the best.

Ironically, last year's Summer Reading Program theme was "Build a Better World." And the mentality of the entire town was that we had to do exactly that. I knew I had to be a part of the healing.

I contributed with the only activity I knew that could build a better world and the Civic Center took over the Toddler Time and Preschool Hour programs for the month following the shooting. Community volunteers came in and read books to our Clovis Kids. Over 200 people attended the first event.

In today's crazy world, we must move forward with Krissie's valor and Wanda's kindness and live as a reflection of their radiant presences. It humbles me, and makes me happy, to be a contributing member of a community that truly cares about Clovis' kids.

Tonight, please read to your kids to honor our friends — gone too soon.

Misty Bertrand grew up in Clovis. She counted Krissie Carter, Wanda Walters and Matthew Roberts among her friends. Contact her at: [email protected]


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