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Montezuma Hearing Clinic hosts gathering for veterans and customers

High school choir sings, Donny Johnson plays while attendees enjoy home cooking
Scott Story serves food to veterans and their families at the Montezuma Hearing Clinic at a previous gathering. (Courtesy photo)

Every year, Montezuma Hearing Clinic, owned by Dr. Lucia Arriola-Story and Scott Story, hosts a gathering that honors veterans and thanks their customers. This year, the gathering brought together about 100 people to celebrate with food, music and company.

The clinic has hosted gatherings like this since 2014, missing the COVID-19 year of 2020. The business initially held two gatherings each summer, one to thank customers and one to honor local veterans. Now, they combine the two gatherings to make it even more special, Story said in an interview.

“We wanted to make it a little more grand … for not only just recognizing the veterans, but having other people there to recognize them as well,” Story said.

The hearing clinic is contracted through the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as part of the Community Care Network, to provide local health services to veterans so they don’t have to travel to Albuquerque.

Arriola-Story was born in the U.S. commonwealth of Saipan, the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands. Several of her family members served in the military, and this is a cause “dear to her heart,” Story said.

Story takes the day before the gathering off to prepare the food, like potato salad, coleslaw, and smoked brisket and ribs. Setup also includes setting up pop-up tents, chairs and decorating the office.

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of being able to then provide both to our patients and our veterans as giving back to them, because they've done nice things for us,” Story said.

Arriola-Story could be seen Friday engaging in friendly banter with attendees, laughing and smiling with many of them. Her appreciation for the community, and especially veterans, was clear.

“We built this office to do this,” Arriola-Story said. Her goal was to host the family-like gatherings while serving the community.

The clinic hosts a number of other gatherings for their patients throughout the year, including an ice cream social in August and a wine and hors d'oeuvres gathering between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Montezuma-Cortez High School choir students pose for a picture after performing Friday at Montezuma Hearing Clinic. (Marla Sitton/Courtesy photo)

Choir students from Montezuma-Cortez performed the national anthem, a Tribute to the Armed Services, and “You’re a Grand Ole Flag” for the occasion, under the direction of Marla Sitton. Donny Johnson also played guitar and sang songs, such as “Home Grown Tomatoes” by John Denver.