100 Clayton Rd, Raton, NM United States (575) 445-3689 RatonChamber@RatonNM.US

Letter to the Chamber Board

September 9, 2019

Dear Raton Chamber Board,

Over the past three years we have accomplished a great deal together. We have taken an organization that was on life support with barely 30 members to a stable organization of over 100 members. We have also maintained operations for a 7 day per week Tourist Information Center for three years. We have not only kept it open but have created an extremely well-run facility with the help of our fabulous volunteers, resulting in a substantial positive economic impact on Raton and Colfax County. We have also created, designed and published one of the best visitor guides Raton has ever experienced. These successes are due to our wonderful board members, volunteers and member businesses who have supported the organization over the last three years.

This last year has been extremely difficult for all of us. We have had to make some hard decisions as a board, but it looks like those are working in our favor. We have also had to each make some tough personal decisions. It is for that reason I am writing this letter.

As several of you know, my siblings and I had a sit down with our parents on Labor Day to discuss their mobility and possible changes that need to be made in their living situation. They have deteriorated faster than we expected and while they are still mostly independent, the next few months will be critical in their future and ours. After that discussion, and this week in further discussions with my siblings, we have all agreed to assume certain roles and responsibilities regarding my parents. This has forced me to make some necessary personal choices.

I have decided to leave my position as Raton Chamber Board President (and the board) effective immediately. I did not come to this decision lightly. In the end, it was a combination of the following three factors:

  1. My parents – I need the mental and emotional bandwidth to deal with their needs and be available on a moment’s notice to stay with them when needed. I have already committed to my siblings to be with my parents in Espanola at least twice a month for a couple of days each time. I do not plan to move from Raton but I may have frequent extended absences if it becomes necessary.

  2. My business – I have not taken, or have put off, numerous business projects these last two years because my time was so wrapped up with the Chamber and the VIC. I estimate the financial opportunity cost to be approaching $70k at this point. Yes, that was my choice and I’d probably make it again. However, I can’t continue that as a practical matter. I do need to make a living and I need to have more cash available should one of my parents be placed in a facility sooner rather than later.

  1. I’m tired – I know we all are. However, I have truly lost the will to care anymore. No organization should be forced to fight their own city leaders to accomplish things that are so obviously in the best interest of the business community and the future of Raton, but that is how it is and its unlikely to change. I have absolutely no fight left and to me, that is a danger sign. I have no more to give.

I am confident you all can handle absolutely anything and will do a much better job at it than I could right now. I was planning to stay on the board another year, but the situation with my parents is much more urgent and I don’t want to have any regrets should something happen to one of them.

I will complete the production of the Ramblin Round Raton guide over the next few weeks as we have committed to them to get it done. I will also be willing to do the production on the 2020 Raton Visitor Guide under the same type of agreement as 2019 if the board chooses. If not, that’s fine too. All files from the 2019 issue are on the external drive with the laptop so if you want someone else to do it, all the files are there.

There are receipts for items I’ve purchased for the chamber on the desk by the north computer. I would appreciate a check for that as soon as possible. The laptop is locked in the bottom file drawer and my keys are in the top drawer. I have returned all chamber paperwork, files or anything else I could find to the office.

I have enjoyed working with each of you and wish you well.


Dee Burks