Do you know that person in the community or your family who always has a smile, a joke or a laugh to share? I know her as Monica Vigil who is Nambe (Nam-Bay) Pueblo. A few miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Monica has been serving her Nambe Pueblo community as a CHR for 10 years. In April 2009, I met Monica when we sat by each other at the Physical Activity Kit (PAK) Training in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Like most CHRs, Monica speaks of the love she has for her people, community and job. “I know I'm providing a service to my community to help make it a safer healthier place for everyone to live. I try to make sure that I help everyone so I have a clear conscience and a good heart knowing I did my best for that individual. I like helping people especially the ones that like to help themselves.” said Monica.
Over lunch one day, Monica and I talked about her CHR program. Her commitment was evident immediately; you could hear the excitement in her voice. But as I listened to the exhaustive list of activities and services she provides, quickly the Johnny Cash song “I’ve been everywhere man” leaped to my mind; as she continued I couldn’t help but think the lyrics should be “I do everything man”.
Monica is involved in many aspects of the community she lives and works, like most of her peers across the nation. When I asked Monica about some of the services she provides, she told me she:
One thing I have learned in the past 17 years of working with CHRs is that they love what they do and they love people.
Monica first learned about the PAK at the national CHR conference in Las Vegas, NV in 2008. Instead of waiting for the PAK materials to be printed and available, she went back to her community and downloaded them off the IHS website. She immediately began to implement the Elder PAK in the Tribe’s Elder Program as well as during home visits with homebound elders. She said she could hardly wait for the training to get her hands on the entire packet.
On a personal note, Monica and her husband, Joe Vigil, have been together for 16 years. They have two children: - Deionna, their 13-year-old daughter; and Anthony, their 11- year-old son. Besides spending time with her family and friends, Monica loves to read, with the Twilight Series her favorite. She enjoys watching movies, especially love stories, such as Pride & Prejudice, Gone with the Wind, or West Side Story (she always cries). She labeled herself an organization freak admitting she likes it when everything has a place and is in it and labeled. When Monica’s kids graduate high school, her goal is to go back to school and become a nurse. She takes classes every other semester to “keep in the loop of school” but doesn’t want to miss out too much on her children’s childhood.
Our best wishes to Monica and to all our CHRs who work daily to bring a healthier life to their community members. Somehow we know with Monica’s energy and enthusiasm she’ll be successful in all her endeavors.