Joined by his wife Jennifer, incoming County Commissioner Craig Secatero takes the oath of office from Magistrate Judge Felix W. Saavedra.
Gwen Roath

Newly elected county commissioner Craig Secatero knows what the virus is like: He contracted the disease in September. Now, nearly three months later, he still feels fatigued. He returned to work as a kindergarten teacher at Alamo earlier in December.

“I get stronger day by day,” he said. “When I started out last Monday, I was so exhausted at the end of the day.”

Secatero spent time in the hospital and said one of the first things he did upon returning home was to make a video explaining in Navajo how to navigate the system. Some elders, especially, still experience a language barrier which makes medical care even more confusing and frightening, he said.

Campaigning also was challenging, he said.

“This year was really different. We had to think outside the box.”

But Secatero, who was sworn into office last Friday, emphasized the commonality of the pandemic.

“This is hard not only on Alamo but everyone,” he said between Zoom meetings.

Alamo has worked with local, county and state entities on emergency plans but, “this was really new. It was hard to wrap our heads around. But when we started to lose lives, it sunk in quickly.”

Like their contemporaries, Alamo students are learning from home. The Alamo School Board purchased computers for all their students back in the spring with CARES money, according to Frank Curley. Those who have access to the internet, work online. Those who do not have internet, Curley said, are given thumb drives with their assignments.

Secatero said many local organizations have helped Alamo as well as the state and Navajo Nation.

“Positive Outcomes was the first to really step up to the plate with food and water,” he said. The organization also helped negotiate a five-year contract for Roadrunner Food Bank services.

Gwen Roath | Guest Writer