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On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Pat Gill’s friends and fellow storytellers got together on Zoom to give her an award for 60 years as a dedicated member of Storytellers of Las Cruces (STLC) and to let her know how much those 60 years of service through storytelling had meant to them and to the community.
Gill was invited to join the group by a fellow Sunday school teacher back in 1960. She was mentored by the group’s founder and lifelong leader, Jennie George Curry.
“She was the most accepting and encouraging person,” Gill said.
Gill has stories everywhere – parks, classrooms, churches, libraries, festivals, service club meetings, bookstores and anywhere else that generations of story lovers might gather to hear her. She even told tales underneath the university’s Story Tree.
Gill not only told stories, but she mentored other storytellers and advanced the art of storytelling in general. During those six decades, she served innumerable terms as an officer of STLC and of the national storytelling organization. She helped host multiple national storytelling conferences in Las Cruces.
Gill said she learned to appreciate the power and purpose of stories, saying she firmly believes “stories open up a new world about people from other times and from other countries.”
Gill said stories are an indispensable part of human development.
“I like the stories where a problem is solved, and people learn to get along,” she said.
Her Zoom audience let her know that those feelings were reciprocated.
“Pat has always been a wise mentor, encouraging nascent storytellers by giving positive feedback and reflecting joy and appreciation for the unique style of each presenter,” said Gloria Hacker. “I have always felt supported by her open, nonjudgmental presence.”
“Pat Gill has been our rock and foundation,” said Jean Gilbert. “STLC is grateful beyond measure for her commitment and dedication over 60 years. Gill has shown us by example the meaningful connections we can make through the power of stories.”
“Pat and I first crossed paths as storytellers at a performance at Branigan Cultural Center in 1985,” said Sharlene Wittern. “She invited me to join the group, and we’ve been close friends now for 35 years.”
Gill let her Zoom audience know that she considered them her family, and that because of them and people like them she had enjoyed every second of those 60 years.
Douglas Jackson is a long-time member of Storytellers of Las Cruces. He was in kindergarten when PatGill started telling stories. Contact Jackson at firstname.lastname@example.org.