Friday, November 13, 2009

Doug Rains' Legacy continues

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
LAS CRUCES — For more than two decades, Doug Rains made it his mission to help needy kids get brand new winter wardrobes. The holiday Dress-the-Child shopping sprees represented a chance for kids — for many, the first opportunity in their young lifetimes — to have brand new garments and shoes that really fit.
Doug used to refer to anyone who offered the slightest bit of help as one of his “angels.”
Doug died Sept. 24, but his program lives on through angels who want Doug’s legacy to be another 500 kids with new clothes before Christmas.
“Actually, we might be able to make it 510 this year,” thanks to an outpouring of support in reaction to Rains’ passing, said Doug Boberg, who is “carrying the torch” as the new Dress-the-Child chairman.
Now, Boberg’s looking for angels to help kids shop for their new winter wardrobes at sessions that start today. The kids have been prescreened and qualified by the Salvation Army here.
The “dressing” events will be at 6:30 p.m. today at Sears in the Mesilla Valley Mall, 9 a.m. Nov. 22 at JC Penney in the Mesilla Valley Mall, 7 a.m. Dec. 5 at Wal-Mart at 571 Walton Blvd., and 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Kohl’s, 2500 S. Triviz Drive.
Volunteers may show up at the events with a hand-held calculator. If you’d like more information, contact Boberg at (575) 644-9469 or e-mail
And it’s not too early to think about becoming one of Doug Rains’ 2010 angels. If you’d like to help, checks should be made payable to "Dress-the-Child” and sent to First New Mexico Bank, Att: Julie Koenig, 3000 E. Lohman Ave., Las Cruces, NM 88011, or Doug Boberg, Dress-the-Child Chairman, 141 Mimosa Lane, Las Cruces, NM 88001.
Rains, who died “peacefully in his sleep” just a few weeks before what would have been his 84th birthday, was thoughtful and organized to the end, managing to “turn over his practice” to Boberg and arranging to make the Rio Grande Rotarians the fiscal agents for the program.
“It was full circle. The program started in 1986 with the Rotarians. About three years ago, Doug asked if I could take it over and this year, he asked me to shadow him. As I was following him, I found that he was very organized. He worked hard and recruited good people and thought everything through. He probably wouldn’t have left if he hadn’t had all his ducks in a row,” Boberg believes.
He recalled some of Rains’ inspirational anecdotes about the joys of helping kids.
“It’s a tremendous program and I’m honored to be a part of it. Doug told me about one little boy who was just so happy to get a new pair of jeans. It was all he wanted and more than he could ever hope for when he got another pair of jeans, socks and other clothes. And we talked about not just what it does for the child, but the relief on their parents’ faces, what a huge help it was for both the children and their parents,” Boberg said.
Doug was the ultimate “dad” and, I learned over the years, had a lot in common with my own father: both were Army Air Corps veterans (Doug served on a B-17 crew flying missions over France and Germany during World War II), both were Masons, both married educators. Barbara Simmons Rains, a professor at Texas Tech University when they married, and later a dean of NMSU’s College of Education, died just seven weeks before Doug left us.
His career in radio, TV, public relations and advertising included gigs as an on-air sports director in Texas and later as KRWG-TV’s development director. He retired from NMSU in 1994, about the time I met him, and then “unretired” to become vice president of business development for Community First National Bank, retiring again in 2000. The retirement again failed to take and he worked in public relations for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture until his death. And, of course, for a multitude of community causes that included the Salvation Army, Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, Doña Ana Work Action Council, the Whole Enchilada Festival, Masonic Lodge, Las Cruces Rotary and the boards of Keep New Mexico Beautiful and the Community of Hope. His honors included Conquistador of the Year and Las Cruces Citizen of the Year, and he was named Distinguished Citizen of the Year by the state of New Mexico.
He was the father of three, grandfather of five and great-grandfather of one.
He was an angel to thousands of children, who might not have known the name behind the gently smiling face, but who will remember for a lifetime the gifts of brand new wardrobes and holidays filled with hope.
Every year, when I interviewed Doug, working full-tilt during his busiest fundraising efforts, he’d talk about how those shopping sprees got him into the holiday spirit.
If you’d like to share some of that spirit, volunteer to be a shopping escort. This year, I’m willing to bet you’ll have an angel as your co-pilot.
It’s likely he’ll be there in spirit, but don’t expect to hear a lot of bells.
I’m pretty sure angel Doug already has his wings.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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