Our time—our home

field-notes
HEMPHILL COUNTY VOTERS have that rare chance this Saturday to simply do the right thing: to support a proposed bond issue that will provide a safe and welcoming place here at home where our senior citizens can age in place and keep our community whole.
In our hearts, we all know that building a new and better nursing home, to replace the one that has served this area’s aging for over five decades, is the right thing to do. In our hearts, we all know that it was also the right thing to do in the 1960s, when money was far less plentiful and this county’s future far less certain.
The tough decision this community’s residents made then is a perfect model for the decision we must make today.
When Edward Abraham died suddenly, in 1961, at the age of 44, Nahim Abraham and his other sons established an endowment fund to build a nursing home in Canadian and to name it in Edward’s honor. Their challenge to this community to match that gift was met with kindness and generosity by many of this area’s residents. As a result, the Edward Abraham Memorial Home has served the aging citizens of this county and our neighboring communities for over half a century.
Today, we are challenged again to replenish the pantry and to prepare a place for our elders. It is a challenge we cannot and should not refuse.
The nursing home that our parents and grandparents built is aging and in poor condition. Its foundation is failing, has been for years, and can no longer adequately support its original mission to offer safe refuge to our senior citizens. It is neither feasible nor affordable to repair, nor will doing so make it possible for this home to meet the needs and demands of future residents.
To be blunt: The Abraham Home’s condition is terminal, and it must be replaced.
The cost of doing so is neither insignificant nor insurmountable. The owner of a home valued at $100,000 will pay about $70 more in taxes in a year. Many of us pay more than that for our satellite television or cellphone service in a month, and think nothing of it. Those investments in worldly things pale in comparison to the treasures of age, experience and memory our senior citizens represent, and to the debt we each owe them.
We are also challenged to share some vision of our future, to decide what matters today and what will matter tomorrow, to reach some common understanding of who we want to be as a community. We must ask ourselves not only what we value about our home today, and how that can be sustained, but also what we can do to make our home better, to ensure that our community continues to grow and thrive.
As we look forward, we must not neglect or forget our common past. The biggest mistake we could make today, in planning for our future, would be to turn our backs on one of our greatest treasures: those citizens who—with selflessness, sacrifice, generosity and vision—made this the home it is to us today.
We urge you to vote yes to the Hemphill County Hospital District’s proposed bond issue, so that we all may look back in pride at the responsibility we took, the compassion we showed, and the wise decision we made in 2017.

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