Throughout history, there have been a few people whose happiness comes from serving others. They have a bearing about them that is kind and gentle. The angriest people can’t stay mad at them. Everyone is on their best behavior with these people. Not because they fear the consequences of bad behavior, but because something about the person makes them forget that they could act badly. Roswell has a person like that. Her name is Theresa Cruz.
“I want to make people happy,” Cruz said. “It’s like planting a seed and watching the flower grow and bloom. That bloom makes me happy. My birthday is very close to Christmas, so on my birthday I’ve always taken my Christmas presents to work, for my friends to give them out.”
She started one of her hobbies as a way of reaching out to lonely kids.
“I like to paint rocks,” Cruz said. “When I worked at NMMI (New Mexico Military Institute) kids come from 30-plus countries and practically every state in the United States. They’d get to know me. Their parents would drop them off and they’re alone. I figured if I could bring them a little happiness in their day, if they could walk in the class and see a rock painted with a happy face, sunshine or rainbow that would put a smile on their face. So that’s where I started. I left quite a few rocks around the campus. It kind of rolled over to friends and I started getting requests. I … find a design that I like and freehand it.”
Cruz and her husband moved to Roswell 10 years ago.
“My younger son was going to college to be a helicopter/airplane mechanic,” she said. “His professor told him to further his degree by coming out to Eastern. Six months before he graduated we came out here, found a house and made all the arrangements. When he graduated he gave me his diploma as a thank-you present. About a week before school started he said ‘See ya! I’m going to the Navy.’ I tell him that he’s probably the only person who’s ever made his parents move to a new state and then moved. He got out after a few years, he’s married. They gave us a granddaughter, and they live here in Roswell.”
Cruz loves being a mom.
“We have two sons,” she said. “The older one is in California. We tried to get him to move here. He came and checked it out. He loved it here but he loves California too. He won’t leave.”
She and her husband married in 1995. She said they knew it was right from the very beginning.
“You could say it was love at first sight,” Cruz said. “The first time my husband and I went out, it was for a lunch date. He asked me where I wanted to go. I picked my favorite Mexican place. My favorite dish was this humongous burrito. They brought it to me and I thought ‘well I could do this one of two ways, I could do the girly thing and take a couple of bites and push it away. Or I could eat the whole thing like I normally do, so he knows what he’s getting into.’ I ate the whole thing.”
When they first moved to Roswell, they took advantage of their love of travel and explored the region.
“When we first got to Roswell,” she said, “every few weekends we would say ‘OK what direction do we want to go?’ We’d pick a direction, drive, and look around to see what was happening. We’d even do that in town. You can’t get lost here.”
Her love of animals helped her meet one of her first friends in Roswell.
“When we first moved here,” Cruz said, “we had a ranch. We had chickens, goats and cows. One of my first jobs in Roswell was working as a receptionist for Smith animal clinic. The number one technician there, Cindy, is a good friend. If I needed her she’d be there. I’d do the same for her.”
Her natural curiosity led her to change how she used her spare time.
“Knowledge is important,” she said. “I had spare time, I was reading novels, and I thought instead of reading novels I should be reading schoolbooks. Why not go back to school, refresh what I know? The office environment is always updating and I should learn new technologies. Since then I’ve dedicated my free time to online classes.”
Cruz’ kindness and curiosity are complemented with a resilience she would like to find in everybody.
“Always stay positive,” she said. “The trials and tests that you are given, you’re meant to go through them. You’re going to benefit in some way later. You won’t see it in that moment but down the road you’ll say, ‘Hey! That’s why I had that experience.’ Life is learning lessons. Whether it be, ‘I’m not dating that man anymore,’ or, ‘That showed me the strength that I had, and that I can overcome things in the future.”
Judging by the person she’s made of herself, there’s good reason to consider her formula for a good life.