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Two local communities benefited from gift tree programs sponsored by The First National Bank in Trinidad and the Huerfano County Branch in Walsenburg this Christmas.

The Huerfano County Branch, in cooperation with the Huerfano County Social Services, was able to supply 78 children in Huerfano County with a gift from Santa this year.

In Trinidad, The First National Bank in Trinidad was able to deliver 231 gifts to Las Animas County senior citizens with the help of South Central Council of Governments, Corazon Square, Trinidad Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center, Las Animas County Department of Human Services, The Legacy at Trinidad and many generous people within the community.

“We mailed out over 430 letters to children and senior citizens asking them to write a letter to Santa with a gift request. A total of 309 requests were hung on gift trees in bank branch locations in Walsenburg and Trinidad for ‘givers’ to pick from. Within three weeks all of the gifts were returned, wrapped and ready for delivery,” said Chris Egland, First National Bank project coordinator.

“We received big support in the final stretch from generous sponsors who picked up letters from our main bank, Wal-Mart branch and motor bank in Trinidad!” said Samantha Provine with the Huerfano County Branch.  Also assisting with the gift tree program in Trinidad were First National Bank employees, Corey Gonzales and Christa Smith-Prieto.

Many letters to Santa expressed appreciation for being remembered by both children and senior citizens. For shut-ins, or seniors with little or no family nearby, the holidays can be an especially lonely time of year. The letters received made it clear just how much this program means to seniors, especially. Requests included asking for help with a utility bill, food, clothing, or other personal items.

In Trinidad, a special thank you was extended by the First National Bank in Trinidad on behalf of the 231 seniors who received gifts, to the many individuals and businesses who gave so generously, including: San Isabel Electric Association, Basin Electric Cooperative, Daughters of the American Revolution - Santa Fe Trail Chapter, Zion’s Lutheran Church, Selina Vallejos, Barbara Diller, Confederacion Mutualista Mexicana e Hispano-Americana (LaCasa) and employees of the following businesses: The First National Bank in Trinidad, Century Savings & Loan, Mt. San Rafael Hospital, Las Animas County District Court, Las Animas County District Attorney’s Office, Phil Long Toyota and the City of Trinidad. With their help, and help from many others, we were able to give our seniors the assistance they need and a special holiday memory to treasure. Thank you also to Tiffany Montoya and her daughter Kylie, Ryan and Laura Newport and their children Joella and Cayden, and Santa and Mrs. Claus who assisted with deliveries.

In Walsenburg, The Huerfano County Branch of The First National Bank in Trinidad would like to thank the many anonymous donors on behalf of 78 children who received gifts in Huerfano County.

Thank you, everyone, for making these gift tree programs an overwhelming success!

Photos courtesy The First National Bank in Trinidad


Huerfano County Branch Bank employee and event organizer, Samantha Provine, sits perched on a bike that was ready for delivery to one of 78 children whose wishes were fulfilled.

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Santa greeted residents of The Legacy at Trinidad while delivering gifts.


Las Animas County Department of Human Services staff accepted gifts on behalf of senior clients. Right to left are Denise Smith, Rhonda Gonzales, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and Shawna Grosso.

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Trinidad volunteers delivered 231 gifts to Las Animas County senior citizens on December 20th - left to right are event organizers Christa Smith-Prieto and Chris Egland, Laura, Cayden, Ryan and Joella Newport, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Tiffany Montoya, event organizer Corey Gonzales, and Kylie Montoya.