Volunteering is Fun!

Beth Barreras

This month’s volunteer profile features Beth Barreras.

“I have lived in various places in my life:  Long Island, New York; Seattle, Washington; Kensington, California; Chicago, Illinois; Reno, Nevada; and France — but I consider Santa Fe my ‘real’ home, at least for the last fifty years.

My father was a U.S. History teacher and my mother a hostess on a cruise ship. We traveled every summer, camping in almost every state, including one road trip up the unpaved Alcan Highway to visit the Gold Rush area. My grandfather was originally from Sweden and in 1897, traveled all the way from Boston to the Yukon to make his fortune panning for gold.

What brought me to Santa Fe was my first husband’s desire to go to St. John’s College here. Unfortunately, because of a gap in school attendance, he was drafted in 1968 and did not survive the Vietnam War. I met my second husband through our common jobs in IT management. My husband, Marc, was born in 1927 in San Marcial, New Mexico, two years before the Rio Grande River flooded and wiped out that prosperous Fred Harvey railroad town.

Other than working in IT, I have been volunteering for 25 years as a certified water operator for my small community. It took me a while to discover El Rancho de las Golondrinas. In 1992, a friend and I went down to the Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, and she suggested that we stop at Las Golondrinas on the way back for the Harvest Festival.  I have to admit that I had no idea what she was talking about. To my great surprise, Las Golondrinas and the Harvest Festival were wonderful. She then suggested that we both volunteer. I was all in, but I was the only one of the two of us that ended up volunteering. And so, it has now been over 25 years that I have been at Las Golondrinas!

Before I retired in 2010, I would volunteer on weekends. However, now it is a bit of a challenge for me because my husband is up in years. I have always loved the walk out to the Raton School House, or the Morada or the Sierra Village. Meeting all the people from around the world, the nation and our own state has been such a joy as well as working with all the enthusiastic, knowledgeable volunteers and staff. Some of my favorite memories have been the fun of teaching children Hoops or Graces at the school house; helping children build little adobe brick houses (love their creativeness); cooking calabacitas in the Baca House fireplace on a hot August day (whew!); and learning so much New Mexico history. Wonderful memories!”