Our stories. . . .
From the time he was a child, Matt deKay has been guided by a life of service. His father’s mealtime prayer always closed with the words, “Let us not forget those less fortunate than ourselves.” The resounding words of a father’s earnest prayer shaped his son’s perspective on the importance of helping others. Matt’s life and chosen career in medicine continue to inspire a new generation called to help others and to create solutions to the social problems our community faces.
Through his volunteer efforts at Catholic Charities, Matt and his wife Jeanette became acutely aware of the problem of homelessness in the Four Corners, the deKay’s knew something more had to be done and believed they were called to help.
The timing of the Four Corners Foundation is, as Matt fervently believes is not a coincidence. As the deKay’s began sharing their vision with friends and colleagues, the Four Corners Foundation was established. Every member of the board came forward of their own accord willing to offer their professional experience, time, and heart to the humanitarian work.
The Four Corners Foundation has from its beginning been an organization seeking to combine its efforts and resources with other successful, responsible not-for-profit programs and services already established in the area. This unique approach of local collaboration maximizes the impact made within the local community.
Doing good in the world in the present generates more good in the future. When we take action and work together to create solutions to social problems, the effort comes back to the community tenfold. We do well to remember those less fortunate because by helping the least of these, we are fulfilling a higher purpose and creating a better community and world.
Guillermo’s story offers hope to all those who hear it. Born in El Salvador, Guillermo and his mother came to the United States looking for a better life, but what they found was the poverty and crime-infested neighborhoods of southern California’s barrios. Inevitably as a young teen, Guillermo was recruited into the gangs who controlled his neighborhood and became immersed in the subculture of gang life. Characterized by violence and illegal activities,
Guillermo’s only goal at that low point in his life was to be a successful drug and arms dealer.
Guillermo knew he needed to change his life not only for his mother, but also for himself. At the age of 20, Guillermo accepted Christ and entered Victory Outreach’s recovery ministry for young men. When asked to relocate to the Farmington chapter, and Guillermo saw the chance to escape his dangerous neighborhood and decided to take it.
However after his arrival, things did not go quite as planned. After living in a series of unstable domestic situations and eventually losing his job, Guillermo found himself at PATH’s (People Assisting the Homeless) doorstep. At first, he admits that PATH’s stringent rules and guidelines were hard to accept but he knew it would be necessary in order to change his life. As he looked back and reflected on his time spent at PATH, Guillermo feels nothing but gratitude for a safe place where shelter, food, and the provision of basic human necessities put him on a course to change his life.
Today Guillermo has completed classes and received his high school diploman, returned to California to be reunited with his daughter and has a full time job - a far cry from his one-time goal of being a drug dealer. Guillermo now wishes to become a translator for the court system and live a life characterized by giving back and helping others.
Rebecca Gomez, 86 years young, and her family wanted to do something for the residents coming into the new emergency shelter. While the new shelter was being built, Rebecca and her family were busy “building” a new handmade quilts. As construction continued, the number of quilts increase until there were over 100 handmade quilts – one for every bed at the new shelter. The Gomez family’s gift was truly a family affair inspired by their mother and grandmother, Rebecca. She wanted residents to know the comfort and security of a quilt made especially for them.
The Briones family is creating a lasting legacy in the Four Corners. For three generations, this family has impacted the local community through their generosity. Believing that service and giving are essential family values, the Briones family is investing in a brighter future for all generations in the Four Corners.
Felix and Vi Briones have resided in the Farmington area since 1959 and have been very generous in their community and church service. Following in his parents’ footsteps, son Paul and his wife Terry, are continuing the legacy of giving instilling the same values in their own five children. “It is important to teach our kids the responsibility to take care of those in need,” Paul says. Paul continues to be inspired by his parents’ ongoing charity to the local community. “They only continue working in order to continue giving,” he added.
The second generation of the Briones family saw a perfect opportunity to teach their children the value of helping others. They challenged the children to explore ways that they could give to the Four Corners Foundation. A few years ago, the kids unanimously voted to give up cable television in order to make a donation toward the emergency housing project.
The second and third generation of the Briones family believes in the value of giving. Paul runs a successful busy law practice, he is devoted to the pro bono legal work needed by the Foundation. Despite the personal sacrifices, Paul and his wife haven’t waivered in their commitments toward helping others in the community.
The generational example of service and giving exemplified by the Briones family is an inspiration to us all. Like a ripple effect, the good we do in our lifetimes continues to create positive impact well beyond the present into the future.