Above: Doyle Frasier runs Ministry of Hope, which offers a food pantry and distributes donated clothing and other goods. Photograph by Gabriella Marks.
DOYLE FRASIER COULD HAVE RETIRED years ago. Instead, the 87-year-old president of Ministry of Hope, in Tucumcari, works harder than ever—overseeing a cadre of volunteers and a steady flow of donations to help residents and others who are down on their luck.
For the past 14 years, Ministry of Hope has provided a food pantry and other relief efforts. Up to 20 daily volunteers distribute 4,000 pounds of food a month as well as donated clothing, bedding, kitchenware, toys, and other items. “The good Lord wants me to do it, and that’s what I’m doing,” he says. “It makes me feel good to help others.”
Frasier knows what it’s like to be in need. “I grew up in a very poor family,” he says. “So I always had a heart to help someone.” When Frasier was 14, his father, a cotton farmer, loaded the family of nine into their one car, packed their meager possessions into a trailer, and headed across Texas in search of a better life.
When the car broke down in Adrian, Texas, Frasier and his dad walked to the nearest business, a grocery store. “We had no money,” Frasier says. The shop owner gave them enough to get the car fixed, but Frasier stayed behind to work off the debt. “I spent a year there, living upstairs,” he recalls. “That was hard, but that was life.”
Frasier eventually reunited with his family and then built his own. He paved a successful career in highway construction all across New Mexico and settled in Tucumcari in 1961 with his wife, Bonita, where they raised three kids. Frasier had planned to retire at age 50 but changed his mind when Dickinson Implement Co. went bankrupt. He bought it and spent more than two decades running the hardware, feed, and supply store before eventually selling it and establishing Ministry of Hope in 2007. “That gave me time to put all of my energies into helping people,” he says.
Driven by donations from churches, businesses, and Tucumcari residents, Ministry of Hope turns no one away. Each year, the organization spends about $2,000 on school supplies and gives away about 350 boxes of food for Thanksgiving. Ministry of Hope also provides food to Quay County residents via federal and state programs. “If anybody is really in need in Tucumcari, they can come to the ministry and get all the food they need,” Frasier says.
With Route 66 carrying motorists through town, Frasier has never forgotten about those on their own journey—however bumpy that road may be. “He helps people who are traveling through and need gas, or whose vehicle breaks down and they need to stay in a motel,” says Theresa Ramirez, a Ministry of Hope volunteer. “I have seen him open his wallet to help someone in need.”
Often the people who seek assistance become volunteers themselves. Still, Frasier’s outsize personality reigns large at Ministry of Hope. “He’s a wonderful man who is so giving,” says Ramirez. “I hope he never retires.”