QUAY COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – A small New Mexico community is showing just how much heart they have. They came together in a very big way to help a teen who was badly hurt in a horse-riding accident.
The county fair is all about kids showing off the animals they’ve worked all year to raise, and auctioning them off for the highest price possible. But this weekend, it was about helping one of their own.
“I was ready to take those sacrifices and chance it for her,” Morgan Becerra said, talking about her friend, Gracie Jean Whitson.
The 18-year-old is recovering after an accident on her family ranch three weeks ago. “Her horse just stepped in a hole and fell with her, and it’s caused her severe brain trauma,” Jaree Elliot, a family friend, said.
Elliot says Whitson was deeply committed to FFA throughout high school. “She’s always been someone who connects with animals, wild animals or domestic animals, we jokingly and lovingly call her the animal whisperer,” Elliot said.
Elliot started the Team Gracie Jean Facebook page, and she says the community is going above and beyond to support the Whitsons, including some of its youngest members.
“Our whole community often comes together when someone in our community needs support,” Elliot said.
“She’s been there for me through thick and thin, and I just really wanted her to know I was here for her,” Becerra said.
Becerra wasn’t the only one to step up. Another family donated their lamb to be auctioned off, and brought in some big bucks.
The community says it’s not done helping Gracie, and have no doubt she’ll be back in the saddle again soon.
“She’s just a tough, outdoorsy cowgirl and she’s just tough physically and mentally,” Elliot said.
The community raised $15,000 for Gracie this weekend. Next month, the San Jon FFA is hosting a benefit roping and silent and live auction at the Quay County Fair Grounds Arena.