The Border Patrol gift card project for Retama Village and Bentsen Palm officially came to a close on Saturday afternoon, February 16th.
I had been holding the last $800 in HEB gift cards in case there was a second government shutdown. I have been told by the Border Patrol that President Trump signed the border wall agreement on Friday, which ends the threat of another shutdown.
When Border Patrol agents were paid at the end of the first shutdown, the demand for the gift cards we were handing out stopped. At that point, we had 16 gift cards ($800) that we had not given out.
The Border Patrol has a Border Patrol Officer Association in each area. Locally, we have 4 Border Patrol Officer Associations: Weslaco, McAllen, Edinburg, and Rio Grande City. These Associations host group meals to improve officer moral. They benefit families of officers hurt on duty. They give small gifts to retiring officers. They send flowers to funerals.
The money donated by Retama and Bentsen Palm residents was given to help and benefit Border Patrol officers. We have decided that giving the remaining gift cards to the Border Patrol Officer Association closely conforms to our original purpose.
Late this Saturday afternoon, Border Patrol Liaison Officer Joseph Quartarone stopped at my RV and accepted our final donation of $800. He will divide the cards between the four groups. He said they would use the cards to help host group meals for BP agents. He thanked both our parks for our generosity.
Officer Quartarone said that other RV parks had donated groceries to the various BP offices.
Our project is now closed. You donated $16,612.
$16,600 was given to individual Border Patrol officers and their association. $12 was spent on postage to mail out gift cards. Zero dollars remain.
We hear thank you every time we talk to Border Patrol agents. The goodwill you have generated is priceless. Stop for a minute and think, why are Retama and Bentsen Palm Village people with name badges the ONLY people allowed on the levee? The goodwill is priceless.