It was a somber moment at the start of the Moriarty City Council meeting last week, when Mayor Ted Hart proclaimed September “Substance Abuse Recovery” month in Moriarty. The council meeting was held at the Memorial of Perpetual Tears, a site dedicated to the dead victims of drunk drivers.

Sonja Britton, founder of the memorial, discussed her efforts to get funding for the site. “I worked tirelessly,” she said. “I looked for state and city funds as well as private donors.”

She thanked the Anaya family for donating the land and the Gonzales family for helping fund the memorial wall.

Magistrate Judge Mateo Page oversees the court-ordered DWI recovery program for Moriarty and Torrance County.

“Since 2007 we’ve had 22 people graduate in this program and we’ve had zero recidivism,” he said.

The program consists of offenders attending 52 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, 40 therapy sessions with a licensed New Mexico substance abuse therapist, and 275 hours of community service as well as group therapy sessions. Graduates are honored in a ceremony at the Memorial of Perpetual Tears.

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The state of New Mexico funds this program and no funds come from the city or county, he noted.

Gail Falconer is a member of the Partnership for a Healthy Torrance County who describes herself as a recovering alcoholic, and said she has been sober for 40 years. “Sobriety has put me in control of my life again,” she said.

The Partnership for a Healthy Torrance County is a group that works to improve health outcomes by working with city, county and state agencies, along with schools. The Partnership leases office space at the Memorial of Perpetual Tears; the Memorial leases the property from the city.

The Memorial’s lease renewal was tabled until Sept. 28 by unanimous vote of the council. The Memorial of Perpetual tears received $100,000 in grant money from the state with which to operate. “We will take fiscal responsibility working with other agencies and oversee funding allotments for various programs,” she said.

In other business, another memorial, this one for veterans, was next on the agenda. The monument will be located at City Park in Moriarty and will honor area veterans, both living and dead, Steve Anaya said.

Mike Anaya, head of the fundraising committee, said the committee’s goal is to raise $60,000 from business and private donors. So far the group has raised $27,000 to defray the costs of memorial plaques.

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In addition to a donation from the city of Moriarty for $12,000, EMW Gas gave $5,000 and Central New Mexico [Electric Co-op] a thousand,” Anaya said.

A fundraising spaghetti dinner will be held Oct. 8 at the Moriarty Civic Center from 6 to 9 p.m. At the dinner, a silent auction will include a big screen television from King’s Butane and a barbecue grill from Schwebach Farms.

Steve Anaya made a motion to award the bid to Blue Mountain Construction, the lowest bidder at $234,000; the motion passed unanimously. “We hope to have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 11, which is Veteran’s Day,” he said.

The next Moriarty City Council will be held at the Moriarty Civic Center on September 28.