The Dumas Noon Lions Club donated a $1000 Friday to help Dumas Police Department Officer Iram Avila with medical bills and other expenses as he battles cancer. The Lions join Avila's fellow officers, City of Dumas employees, and others who have come together to help the young officer confront this health challenge.
Avila, who has been with the DPD for a year, is now working light duty at the DPD while, at the same time, undergoing cancer treatment in Amarillo. It has not been easy, according to DPD Chief Ray Resendez. "An infection knocked him down last week. The treatment has weakened his immune system. He is better this week. We are hopeful."
Despite everything, Avila, who has two children, continues to work as much as possible. "He does the best he can do. That says a lot about him," said Resendez. "He is trying to get back and do his part. We really appreciate that and are trying to work with him."
About two weeks ago, Resendez was having breakfast with Milton Pax's adult Sunday school class from the Calvary Baptist Church at a local restaurant. According to Pax, the class gets together on the first Friday of every month for fellowship and breakfast, and they usually invite other members of the community. This time, they invited Resendez, who is relatively new to Dumas, having taken over as chief last October after serving many years with the Canyon Police Department. While talking about some of the challenges he faced in recruiting officers, Resendez mentioned that he had an officer who was battling cancer, and he asked the class to remember him in their prayers. Later, Pax called Resendez and asked what the church could do to help. Resendez replied that the department had established a bank account at Happy State Bank and that fellow officers and city employees were contributing money. After that, the Sunday school class gave some money; the church gave some money; the church deacons gave some money. Word spread around, and other churches, businesses, and individuals started chipping in. Last Thursday, Pax was attending a meeting of the Dumas Noon Lions Club Board of Directors, and he mentioned Avila's challenge and suggested the club make a contribution -- maybe $200. Another person asked, "Why not $1000?" No one had a reason why not. They presented Avila with a check for the photo, and the money was then deposited in the Happy State Bank account.
Pax said that Resendez had told him that it was important for an officer in Avila's situation to have community support. "He is part of our community," said Pax of Avila. "We care about him, and he is not fighting this battle on his own. As Christians I think that is what we need to be doing, help one another in times of crisis … we are fortunate to live in a community like this."
Anyone wishing to contribute to the fund for Officer Iram Avila should contact Happy State Bank.