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Provided by Bailey County Senior Citizens Center

            Members and Staff of the Bailey County Senior Citizens Center are busy getting ready for their annual 4th of July celebration. With the holiday being on a Sunday this year, all of their activities will be on July 3.

            They are presently selling raffle tickets as a fundraiser. They will be raffling off two Craftsman self-propelled lawn mowers, a Craftsman Cultivator, and a Craftsman gas edger. That gives everyone that buys a ticket four chances to win. Tickets are being sold for $10 each, three for $25, or 12 for $100.

            Markus Stephens, the new Manager at United, has been a great help to us as have the previous United managers. They allow us every year to set up a sales table at their store to promote this annual fundraiser. Because of this, the July 4th Barbeque Brisket Meal is always our largest fundraiser of the year.

            If you haven’t met Markus, come inside United to do so. He is a 27-year-old who is most impressive with his energy, charisma, intelligence, and creativity. He is one of the youngest store directors to ever work at a United Grocery.

            Moving from Florida to Muleshoe was quite a change but Markus says he is enjoying every minute here. Before coming to Muleshoe, he was Assistant Store Director at Littlefield’s United.

            Markus has a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son who live in Lubbock. He has two brothers and one sister. He told me that all of his family was still in Florida with the exception of his two children. He added that he was very close to his family but his older brother, Stanly has influenced his life the most.

            Markus shared that he began his work in the grocery business by starting as a sacker for Winn Dixie when he was a junior in high school. He went on to tell me that it wasn’t until he worked at United that he saw it as a career opportunity.

            He said that he loved the training that United provided and was especially impressed with the store’s leadership program and annual development program. Apparently United was impressed with Markus. They took him out of the Development Program after only two weeks and gave him a director’s job at one of their stores. Since then, he has worked stores in every region of their operation except Amarillo and Albuquerque.   

            There is no doubt that Markus is a competitive director. When asked his main goal for our Muleshoe store, he said, “To draw more sales and take from our competition as much as we can!”

            He also said that he wanted to be a director who gave back to the community. He is already doing that. United provides baked goods to our members on a weekly basis. He allows our board members to come into the store and sell tickets for our fundraiser as I stated earlier. He has also joined our Rotary Club here in Muleshoe.

            When asked what he liked best about Muleshoe, he responded, “The People.” He was impressed that everyone was so friendly and treated him as if he was already a leader in the community.

            Markus explained to me a program he has in the store called U-Crew Hours. This program is for his hourly employees who help with non-profits or community events or needs and are awarded by United. This program is great for our community and it allows United to identify other leaders who might want a leadership role in the business.

            How does Markus spend his past-time? He said he previously enjoyed weightlifting. But since becoming a father—he most enjoys just spending time with his two children.

            I very much enjoyed my visit with Markus. It was obvious he finds true happiness in doing his daily work and shows a zest for living that ignites in others a hope for the future.

            His first day in Muleshoe was May 23, just a little over a month ago. This will be Markus’ first 4th of July to celebrate in Muleshoe. We are hoping it will be one of the best ever. We encourage everyone to come out to all of the activities and events.

            Our center will have lots going on. We will have a float for our Senior Veterans in the parade. Our center location is always a good one to come and watch the parade go by. Chairs will be provided for our Seniors under our awning or you can watch from inside our air-conditioned building.

            On July 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., we will have our 17th Annual BBQ Brisket Meal. The Muleshoe Pickers will be inside entertaining before and during the meal. Come into our cool air-conditioned facility. Enjoy the music, a fabulous meal, and visit with friends and acquaintances.

            We certainly need everyone’s help this year. This is usually our biggest fundraiser. All of the events of the city and chamber were cancelled last year but not before we had already bought everything for our meal. We decided to go ahead with our plans but we had to follow the social distancing rules from COVID. This resulted in us making about half of what we normally raise. We are hoping the numbers will be back to normal this year. The cost for the meal is $12 per plate and everyone of all ages are invited to come.

            After the meal, we will draw for the winners of the raffle tickets. After that, we will have a live auction for baked goods prepared by your seniors. Carlos Contreras and Kem Bales will be the auctioneers. The baked items will be on display inside the center before the meal.

            The Bailey County Senior Center is most important to our community. The staff and Board of Directors have had to step back, take a deep breath, and assess the changes and problems faced the previous year.

            Community non-profits such as ours were among those hurt the most financially. Now is not the time to give up. Please come out and support our fundraising activities this Fourth of July weekend. Your participation and donations will help us recover and move forward to improve the life and prosperity of our aging seniors.  

Carolyn Johnson

Bailey County Senior Citizens Center


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