Article - LRC

The Laguna Rainbow Corporation (LRC) and K’awaika Senior Center (KSC) would like to remember one of our own. Both programs recently lost a good friend, coworker and LRC / KSC family member. Our dear brother Robert Leon sadly passed on Friday, August 14, 2020. Robert was a devout family man. He is survived by his son, his mother, three sisters, one brother, and his stepfather. Mr. Leon was a member of both the Pueblo of Acoma and Laguna. Robert graduated from Grants High School in New Mexico and did attend Southwestern Indian Polytechnical Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, NM. Robert is remembered by many as someone who was quiet and kept to himself but also could be grumpy at times. But what he is mostly remembered for is his wonderful sense of humor and the ability to make those around him laugh. His co-workers remember him for his kind gestures toward the elderly population which he served. He never refused anyone; he would volunteer to do the early morning transports, work in the kitchen, and assist with inventory because his coworkers relied on his strength. “He was a strong guy.” His work ethic will genuinely be missed. His demure was priceless and his laugh unique. Robert was a very caring individual with a very huge heart. There were times when an elder could not afford groceries, sundries or even their medication. Robert was the type of person who went out of his way to ensure that their needs were met. He would purchase those items with his own money. The elders loved and respected Robert, as did his coworkers. Robert was an extraordinary individual. He would volunteer to help others because he was decent, but more importantly, because it was the right thing to do. Much of Robert’s respectable manners came from his upbringing. Robert’s family saw him as kind, generous, thoughtful, and a dependable man. Both Robert and his mom held a special bond, which was gardening. He would constantly invite his mom to come visit his garden. They would share ideas with regards to cultivation. He was extremely passionate about what he was growing. This affectionate bond will always remain a constant in her life. He was also very artistic. His mom indicated that he loved to pencil sketch. His brother stated that he made a lot of friends because of his sense of humor. His sisters’ remarks were similar. He was witty and always had funny comments. He would listen until he found the right moment to interject his humor. Robert would volunteer for his community as well. He would assist with what needed to be done to ensure the community he and his family lived in remained protected and comfortable. It is easy to become close to the people you see on a day to day basis. That is what occurred with the individuals who Robert worked with at KSC. He became close with his coworkers and shared many private moments with regards to the life he lived. He was also considered a confidential source to those closest to him. He did have two families who loved him very much and saw the true honest potential he possessed. Robert like many of us run into obstacles in our lifetime, he was able to find humor in the seriousness of those challenges. He did have a positive impact on everyone he met. Both his families knew who his favorite football team was, the 49ers, that his favorite meals were pork chops, meatloaf and chile stew. He was bound to the outdoors; he was an avid deer hunter, enjoyed hauling-wood, gardening, but what really drove his existence was the undying love he had for his 7-year-old son. Both Robert’s families knew that his boy was the center of his world. He took him gardening, hunting, woodhauling and even to work at times. His boy was his boy! He is also remembered for the ties with his late grandfather. Robert and his grandfather would sell snow cones on the feast days. They were the only stand that still sold them for .50 cents. They did not sell for profit, but only to make sure that those who bought were truly treated with something that was completely satisfying…and with a smile and a joke. His co-workers commented “Working with Robert were some of the best memories we had. He was a pleasure to work with. We learned a lot from him. He was a good teacher.” A song by the band Cheap Trick, “I Want You to Want Me,” is also a reminder of Robert. He a was also referred to as “My Love” by the kitchen staff. To our co-worker, friend, and family member Robert, you left us beautiful memories. Your love will be a constant light in our lives and your commitment to people a gentle lesson of how we should display respect to both those we love and serve. Robert will never be replaced. He was truly a unique individual with a passion for putting others before himself. He was man who understood the responsibilities and the sacred role of a dad. It is never good-bye Robert, but I will see you later. Thank you for the lasting impressions. You will be truly missed, and never forgotten. Both LRC and KSC have scheduled a last feeding for Mr. Robert Leon on Friday, August 28, 2020 at 1:30 at the K’awaika Senior Center. We ask that you please keep his family and friends in your prayers. On behalf of both LRC and KSC we would like to express our deepest sympathy to his family and our prayers are continued for your healing. God Bless.



As the month of July 2020 continues the residents of Laguna Rainbow Corporation got to see some of the results of their labor. The LRC garden has come to life. All but a very few of the vegetables and fruits planted have taken bloom and produced. Everyone is anxiously awaiting the rest. Residents and staff are very excited for the final product. There are talks regarding a much larger garden next year, possibly even a flower garden, and planting of both fruit and shade trees.


LRC did receive radio airtime on KUNM 89.9, the Signing Wire. The message reflected “Assurance”; our facility wanted to remind everyone that all our grandparents will continue to be of the highest priority while living in a protected environment. Staff members will continue to practice safe effective protocols implemented by the New Mexico Department of Health while maintaining cultural sensitivity. Our population is at highest risk for COVID-19 complications, but the policies and procedures implemented to address this virus have been extremely effective to date.
On June 26, 2020 LRC was notified by the New Mexico Foundation that our grant application pertaining to Native American Relief Fund (NARF) had been awarded in the amount of $17,681.00. LRC applied for this small grant to start up one of its many projects aimed at addressing both depression, social isolation and other detrimental effects that have become more evident in nursing home facilities throughout the nation. These results are directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The award will be utilized to purchase equipment from Its “Never too Late” or In2L which produces engagement technology to assist elders. This system is designed to build / or reconnect residents through shared interests, activities, while creating social interaction. The complete package will provide a full experience to real life outdoor activities in the privacy of our facility. The purchase will include a 70” and 23” monitor along with a bike simulator, flight simulator, and drive simulator. This equipment will be applied extensively with our Restorative Program and our Activities Department.
LRC staff couldn’t be more excited about how this interactive system will improve communication between residents and their caregivers. On a more important note, this will assist with therapeutic activity, and therapy management of behaviors such as calming and relaxation. This process will promote a sense of control and dignity, while improving quality of life.
As health care workers, we can no longer perform day to day operations as before. We can either watch and let this pandemic run our lives or we can see the positive opportunities and become proactive. So, as we continue to move forward LRC, has other positive projects planned that are specific to our grandparents needs.
For now, we will continue working on planning, and implementation of our new project titled “Looking at the World Through My Eyes”. We will keep you, the readers, updated on all other upcoming projects.
On July 15, 2020 both residents and staff celebrated the LRC Mini Feast. The event started with a morning Prayer. All residents and staff went outside to make their offerings. Soon after, a follow the leader dance was organized and conducted in which our own staff members participated. Followed was good food. There were plenty of donations, as well as a meal, provided by our gracious dietary staff. The day ended with plenty of smiles and prayers as well as a traditional throw. The residents where very surprised and happy with this event. Although the feast wasn’t comparable to others in the past, it was the thoughts and prayers which made it so much larger than others.
At the end of the day, rain clouds gathered and provided much shade as well as a cool down for Our Mother Earth. This was followed by a slow but steady rainfall which lasted for much of the afternoon. This was truly an answer to our prayers. Most staff members went outside to feel the moisture on their faces. This was truly a remarkable Mini Feast.
Another great moment took place for the month of July. We obtained a new Human Resources Manager. LRC, welcomes Mrs. Naomi Concho. Naomi brings close to 15 years of experience in the business field. She has six years of experience as Executive Assistant for the Pueblo of Laguna Community Health and Wellness Department. She was also Executive Assistant with the Laguna Department of Education for over 7 years. Mrs. Concho brings an enormous amount of experience with her. Mrs. Concho obtained her bachelor’s degree in business administration from New Mexico State University. She states that her greatest accomplishment in her life is her family.
With that, the LRC Administration family is built. We are looking forward to doing great things for our grandparents. Our goals are set, and we are extremely optimistic about all future endeavors. We will continue to be a leader in elder care while observing cultural sensitivity. We will do this by enriching their lives with honor, respect, and dignity while providing quality care and exceptional customer service.
We would like to thank the Pueblo of Acoma Governor Brian Vallo and the POA Department of Health & Human Services, for their support. The donation Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and gifts for the elders is deeply appreciated. May Our Creator continue to bless you and keep you safe during these trying times.
Also, thank you to Governor Wilfred Herrera Jr. and his staff for their continued support. Along with the POL Emergency Office Committee, your expertise is greatly valued. We can’t begin to thank you enough for your support since this pandemic started. Your commitment to our community and our entities goes without saying. May Our Creator continue to bless you and your families and keep you safe with all your thoughtful endeavors.
Please also thank our K’awaika Senior staff for their efforts in keeping the elder population fed during this time. Their commitment to customer service is greatly appreciated. They do this not because it’s a job, but because they love the community and the seniors they serve. We are so very fortunate to have this program continue with their services during this time.
Also, much thanks to our Laguna Rainbow Corporation Board members for their continued guidance and support of program efforts. Your leadership reflects our attitudes and the commitment we have to our grandparents.
Lastly, effective June 24, 2020 the POL Executive Order was lifted which allowed the LRC Nursing Home to accept new patients in accordance with its standard admission policies. Although LRC’s policy regarding no visitation remains in effect, we ask for your continued support regarding this procedure as we remain committed to protecting our grandparents. If you have any questions regarding this matter please don’t hesitate to contact a staff member at 505-552-6034.


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