Drive replaces hat collection

Courtesy photo by Nick Mondragon Weldon Carmichael looks over hundreds of caps donated by individuals and businesses after a fire destroyed his home on April 9, 2009 in Roosevelt County. The cap drive was started by the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

By Argen Duncan: Freedom New Mexico

Although a fire took almost everything a Roosevelt County man owned last week, this week, area businesses replaced his baseball cap collection overnight.

Weldon Carmichael’s house burned to the ground in the grassfire southwest of Causey on April 9. Among the lost possessions was a collection of more than 200 caps.

Thursday, the Clovis Chamber of Commerce surprised Carmichael with the almost 150 hats they had collected.

“I really do appreciate them very much,” Carmichael said. “There are the nicest people in the world here.”

Carmichael’s daughter, Vicki Price, works at the Chamber and mentioned his situation to Chamber executive director Ernie Kos.

Kos said she wanted to support Price and Carmichael, so at the end of the day Tuesday, she sent an e-mail to 40 to 45 members asking them to donate caps to replace Carmichael’s collection. By the Chamber board meeting at 11:30 a.m. the next morning, the drive had taken in almost 150 hats.

Thursday afternoon, Kos said caps were still coming in. The donations sported a variety of names and logos, from the Beijing Olympics and country music star George Strait to local businesses.

There is no specific end date for the drive, but Kos said the Chamber would probably collect until the end of next week.

“Right now, we’re just getting into the spirit of seeing how many we can get and continuing to make his day,” she said.

Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce manager Mandi Park said that Chamber would accept donations of caps as well.

Price said she thought the cap drive was an excellent idea. Carmichael had remarked to her that he’d like a place to hang his hat, but he didn’t have a hat.

Carmichael said he has been doing “fine” since the fire.

Price said Carmichael is living with her brother, Hershel, while he decides what to do.

“He has a fantastic attitude,” Price said.

Carmichael is optimistic and has a good sense of humor, she said.