1st Year Fellow Series: Mercedes' Thoughts on Acting Together to Stay Together
By Mercedes McCue
Cattle markets are down, there is no precipitation in the forecast, the fields are dusty, the cost of living is increasing, there is a high amount of uncertainty in the future, our local small businesses are struggling and the list goes on.
It is too easy to focus on the challenges we face every single day, but, thankfully, we are not alone in our battle. The issues faced by other Colorado community members may look eerily similar or incredibly different than mine and my family’s, but what remains the same is our passion: to support our family and our community. At my core, I yearn for the opportunity to support rural development and lift up the youth in this state.
My least favorite summer activity of my childhood was chopping Canadian Thistle in the fields. It was always hot, sweaty and dusty work, and in Eastern Colorado, the shade offered by Cottonwoods was few and far between. We usually took the task up after a day’s worth of fixing fence, moving cattle, struggling with irrigation pipe and working on various projects, so by the time we decided as a family that it was time to go down the fields, I was not super impressed. Why couldn’t I go swim in the river instead? As if on cue (and as if my dad had been reading my thoughts), he would say, “Mercedes, a family who chops thistle together, stays together.” I would always retort, “Dad, you say that about everything. Why can’t we be a family who stays together on the couch in the air conditioning?”
I share this childhood experience (which, much to my chagrin, still happens during my weekends) to highlight the concept my dad was getting at; those who act together, stay together. I am connected to Colorado through my roots: sagebrush, firm handshakes, empowerment of my fellow neighbor and prayers for rain. As a fourth generation rancher who was raised with deep rural values and the work ethic to match it, I have a sincere desire to give back in any way possible, and I see El Pomar Foundation as an avenue to act together and stay together, all for the benefit of Colorado and its people, despite our daily challenges. Let us support our communities, together.