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Gift Tree Success

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.

In cooperation with Huerfano County Social Services and Spanish Peaks Veterans Community Living Center the Huerfano County Branch was able to supply 78 veterans, 38 children and 17 adults in Huerfano County with a gift from Santa this year.

In Trinidad, The First National Bank in Trinidad was able to deliver 239 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, Sayre Senior Center and many generous people within the community.

“We mailed out over 335 letters to children and senior citizens asking them to write a letter to Santa with a gift request. A total of 239 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 Christa Smith-Prieto and Corey Gonzales, First National Bank gift tree project coordinators.

“We received big support in the final stretch from generous sponsors who picked up letters from our main bank and Wal-Mart branch 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, Christa Smith-Prieto and Susan Gutierrez.

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 groceries, clothing and other personal items.

In Trinidad, a special thank you was extended by the First National Bank in Trinidad on behalf of the 239 seniors who received gifts, to the many individuals and businesses who gave so generously, including: San Isabel Electric Association, Basin Electric Cooperative, Innova Emergency Medical Assoc., Century Savings & Loan, Daughters of the American Revolution - Santa Fe Trail Chapter, Zion’s Lutheran Church, George and Elizabeth Torres, Grace Slanovich, Barbara Diller, La Confederacion Mutualista Mexicana e Hispano-Americana (LaCasa) and employees of the following businesses: The First National Bank in Trinidad, InBank, Mt. San Rafael Hospital, 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, Christa Smith-Prieto, Chris Egland, Tera Clasby 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 San Isabel Electric Association, Basin Electric Cooperative, and the many anonymous donors on behalf of the 38 children, 55 veterans and 17 adults who received gifts in Huerfano County.

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

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Huerfano County Branch Bank employee Matthew Burch holds one of many gifts ready for delivery to 78 veterans, 38 children and 17 adults in Huerfano County.

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Santa and Mrs. Claus pose for a photo with resident, Florine Moon, while delivering gifts to The Legacy at Trinidad.


Santa greeted every resident at Trinidad Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center as the group of volunteers delivered gifts and sang Christmas carols.


Santa’s helpers delivered 239 gifts to Las Animas County senior citizens on December 19th - left to right are First National Bank event organizer Christa Smith-Prieto, with volunteers Joella Newport, Tiffany Montoya, Cayden, Laura and Ryan Newport, Kylie Montoya, Santa Claus, Tera Clasby and Mrs. Claus.