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Davis, East join Commission on Aging

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Two Roswell residents have joined the city’s Commission on Aging in recent months.

Jesse Davis and Sandra East are the newest members of the commission, which advises the Roswell City Council about local issues such as housing, transportation, medical and health insurance, and legal topics that affect older residents.

Chair Helen Wakefield, who works with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department and also was appointed in 2020, has been interviewed previously.

The seven-member group typically meets every other month on the third Thursday.

Recreation Director Marcus Gallegos serves as the city staff liaison, while City Councilor Judy Stubbs is considered the City Council’s member to the commission.

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Davis was approved for the Position 1 seat by the Roswell City Council during its May 14 meeting. His term is for four years.

Davis is the director for the emergency medical services and paramedic program at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. He also works part time as a paramedic with a local ambulance service.

“As a field provider and paramedic all over southeastern New Mexico, I know that one of the biggest problems we have is the care that a lot of the geriatrics receive in our community,” Davis said. “The aging population does not necessarily have a voice that will speak up for them, so I thought that would be one of the ways I could contribute, to try to make sure that they have what they need.”

He said he would like to see some new programs to help older residents be assured of adequate food and health care. He also wants to make sure they know the commission exists as a resource to help.

East’s nomination received City Council approval on Nov. 12. According to City Council minutes, she serves as the Position 6 representative for an unexpired term ending March 31, 2022.

She said she moved to Roswell about five years ago from the Alamogordo area to be closer to family. She had worked for more than 15 years as a civilian employee for a contracting squadron at Holloman Air Force Base.

East said her awareness of issues affecting older people increased after she was a caretaker for a sister who now lives in a care facility and from her participation in the local Silver Chords choir group, which used to perform at local care centers before COVID-19 closed facilities to the public. She said visiting nursing homes and facilities made her aware that many older residents do not have family members nearby.

“I just really feel this could be an avenue where I could help other senior citizens that may be here without families,” East said. “I am brand new, so I am not exactly sure what path I can go on or what I can do, but I will help with whatever I can in their mission.”

The group’s next meeting is scheduled for March 18. The agenda with time and information on participating will be posted at least a few days before the meeting to the city’s website, www.roswell-nm.gov.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.