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

Local millennials more than stereotype


September 9, 2018

Stephen and Cassie Hardin of Portales are two of those darned millennials.

You know the ones I’m talking about — that generation born from 1981-1996 who are often targeted for criticism.

Let me tell you what this couple has already done, not once but twice, in the year and a half since they bought their first home in Portales: They have gone door to door passing out invitations and invited all their neighbors over to their front yard for cookouts.

Wait a minute. Aren’t millennials supposed to be self-centered, entitled, lazy?

Well, not the ones I know, and certainly not the Hardins.

Stephen Hardin, 32, and Cassie Hardin, 29, both grew up in Portales, not too far from each other. He graduated from Portales High School, and Cassie did her education at Faith Triumphant Christian School.

Even though they can look back and find a number of intersections — for example, Stephen’s grandparents made the wedding cake for Cassie’s parents — they didn’t meet in person until the 2012 Roosevelt County Fair.

They married nine months later and spent the first few years in Albuquerque, returning to Portales in 2017 to be closer to family.

By day, Cassie is a physical therapist assistant. Stephen teaches online classes at three different institutions and has had enough acting roles to qualify for membership in SAG-AFTRA, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

“I have always had a community mindset,” Stephen said. “I didn’t just want to move into a neighborhood and that be all. I wanted to get to know the people around me.”

They threw their first party for their Libra Drive neighbors a year ago.

“We had just moved in and didn’t really know many of our neighbors,” Cassie said. “We wanted an opportunity to meet everyone.”

Stephen, who was born in Calcutta, India, was adopted as an infant by the late Janie Hardin of Portales. He grew up actively involved in Roosevelt County 4-H, a youth organization whose pledge includes promising to use one’s “health for better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.”

“I feel each entity influences or affects one another and a neighborhood could fall into each category,” Stephen said. “Our neighborhood is a small community, but it also makes up part of each of our worlds.”

“Becoming family with a neighborhood is something that people don’t do anymore,” Cassie said. “It’s become scarcer to see people trusting those who live close to you, and it’s mostly because they don’t take the time to get to know each other’s story, who they are, and where they came from.”

These two are determined that they will live in a neighborhood, not just a house, and so far they have not been disappointed.

“I have to say I really love our neighborhood,” Stephen said.

Cassie agrees. “One thing that I have always taken through life is the fact that material things mean absolutely nothing. The only things that you can take with you in this life are the people around you. We just need to love people, plain and simple.”

Betty Williamson thinks neighborhood building is invaluable. Reach her at: [email protected]


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