BORON, Calif — For many, a pool is just a pool. But for Boron, California it's more than that. It is the center of their community.
“The first thing people think of when they hear Boron is what and where? It’s one of those communities where people are heading to Vegas and you drive through and you wonder who lives there. If you only knew who lived here. You probably would stop and buy a house to be honest,” Kevin Cordes, Superintendent for the Muroc Joint Unified School District, said.
And it is those who live in that small town that are trying to make a big difference for their community by restoring their local pool.
“There is not a lot to do out here in the desert. So you either ride motorcycles, or you swim,” Thomas Marshall, President for the ILWU Local 30, said.
For many in Boron, this pool is where they learned how to swim, where their kids play, and where countless memories are made. But, it isn’t only just a place for residents to enjoy, but also a way to keep their kids on the right path.
“There were a lot of kids that I knew that didn’t have anything to do here in the community and were getting themselves in trouble.
I still think we need something like this for them,” Mitch Nakahiki, Boron community member said.
The pool was built back in 1972. U.S Borax partnered with the school district to build a pool at the local high school for everyone in the community to enjoy. The school district maintained the pool for nearly 50 years, but with wear and tear from high winds and desert debris, the pool is in need of repairs.
“Everything reaches it’s end of life use and unfortunately we are at that point right now. Unfortunately, the school district doesn’t have the funding to be able to fully replace it,” Cordes said.
And that’s where members from the Boron community stepped in. Together, they are working towards raising $65,000 to replace the pool through fundraisers as well as community organizations that are helping to support.
“Every single community has their “pool” so to say. Something that has been neglected and just needs a refresh," Mary Beth Garrison, communities manager for Rio Tinto, said. "Our intent is to match every single dollar that they raise.”
Many throughout Boron have stepped up to donate. Even the children in the community are donating what they have, like one young girl who had just celebrated her 13th birthday.
“Some of the money she got for her birthday, she gave me $10 for the pool," Boron resident, Jerry Gallegos said. "This means the kids want it.”
And for those who want to help out too, you can donate by going to boronalive.com. And while the town is small, together they are working towards creating a strong community.
“Let’s get this done," Gallegos said. "Not for us, but for all of the kids here in our town.”