Mary Cordle
Local kids were all smiles during the annual Community Cares Day at Caliente Elementary.

On Sept. 24, the Caliente Elementary Cougars hosted the Alamo Panthers, Pioche Tigers, and Panaca Wildcats for Community Cares Day.

Anthony Stewart, Alma Jimenez, and Laura Cuehca, from Payless Shoes in Vegas, measured 425 students’ shoe sizes.

Kindergarten teacher Kathleen Keene explained how the annual event originally began. One year she was worried about her kindergarten class not having Christmas, since Toys for Tots wasn’t sure it would be able to make it out. She mentioned her concern to a few people. Word got back to Bob Ellis of Henderson, who helped Caliente out the first year, then did further research. The next year he did it for all grades, then eventually covered both the middle and high schools, with the upper grades getting shoes while the elementary gets shoes and toys.

The halls and classrooms were filled with some very distinguished guests, along with the well-behaved students who moved from room to room. The Nevada Highway Patrol visited classrooms, explaining the equipment they wear. Officers Lynn and Harris recorded the class with a body camera and then showed students how the recording looks on a cell phone.

Librarian Sharon Faehling told a group about the importance of reading and using the public library; she explained she will order any book that a child wants if it gets them to read. The library has to spend 10 percent of funds on books that meet state standards.

Mark Holt, county assessor, said that the most-asked question he received from kids was whether his office makes license plates.

Lincoln County Power discussed the importance of not getting near power poles and demonstrated the tools they use to repair lines.

The Bureau of Land Management brought a special guest “Digger” with them, a desert tortoise.

Lincoln County bus drivers Mark Glockner, Sue, and Max Austgen did bus safety as the kids sat on the bus, stressing the right way to exit the bus and cross the roads.

Holly Gatzke, of the Extension Office, talked about the farmers market, tourism, the new bike trails, and 4H.

All the while, outside, the smell of hot dogs on the grill filled the air. Lunch was provided by the school district.

Pete Peterson, Doug Peterson, Dominique Slone, Rachel Hosier, Steve Adamson, and students from the Caliente Youth Center prepared a lunch for the students.

The day ended with the students getting back on the buses and heading home. It was a day of caring interaction between the many people who serve the communities in Lincoln County and the students, who listened and learned about what is required to keep the county going.