Greetings from the high desert. We have had a little rain the past few days, and leaves are turning. Hatch roosted chile is in the air, and the crisp smell of the changing of the season.
This week we had a very exciting day on Tuesday. It was a perfect day to move the 1920s Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Caboose. The Caboose is a little slice of American West folklore and railroad history. There was a private car in the caboose, perhaps the Conductor or Cyrus K. Holiday used this Caboose car during the long travels west and back over the years. AT&SF was established in 1859 and expanded westward to Pueblo Colorado in 1876. Eventually during the 1880s the line branched down south through the New Mexico territory becoming a State in 1912.
The caboose is really a marvel to behold. One is not aware the size and majesty of this railroad legend until you stand next to it. It weighs over 80,000 pounds. It was sitting on parallel tracks running east and west at the far corner of the old railroad yard. So, as you might imagine, moving the great rolling structure was a challenge.
Why were we moving the Caboose? The answer lies in the Gallup Skate Park we have been planning and working on for almost a year now. This was the exciting first step to seeing the great dream of hope for our young people in the whole reservation area. There were many on lookers and the curious Tuesday morning when are team first started jacking up the old track.
It really was quite a scene. We used a large bulldozer to push the Caboose westward onto tracks we built and butted up to the track the Caboose was on. Then after the Caboose was on the forward track we moved the track behind where the caboose had been, and moved it to the front in a "leap frog" manoeuvre. The ancient Egyptians would have been impress. So, now the Caboose has a new home right in front of the Gallup Cultural Center. Whew!
We are catching our breath, but the main point is that we are preparing for the construction of the Skate Park.
We still are about $19,000 short on our needs for material and labour. Any help you can give us would be deeply appreciated.
I have been so proud of our people. They have been getting out, having Navajo taco sales, doing demonstrations, and hustling support in their own small way.
Please consider this much needed and worthwhile project. Our people will be eternally grateful.
May God Bless You abundantly,
Deacon Sherman ManuelitoWords of Encouragement
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