Symantha Hawk was born and raised in Clayton, New Mexico – and is still proud to call it home. She works in Accounting at the Farmers & Stockmens Bank in town. And even though she describes herself as an outgoing person she’s not one to want to be in the spotlight. But she agreed to be featured for this article because there’s one other trait that defines her: she loves to help people. And let’s face it, a lot of people could use some help right now.

Outside of her banking job, she and her husband Clifford run CDL Tire & Auto Repair Service in Clayton. Not surprisingly, their business came to a screeching halt along with so many others affected by the coronavirus. They worried about their two employees, one of whom has three kids (with two under the age of two). They worried about how they would keep the business going and keep putting their daughter through college.

“We also didn’t want the community to lose a good service garage,” said Symantha. Because Clayton is a tight-knit small town where people look out for each other. In 2014, when Clifford was battling a rare type of cancer, many neighbors organized an auction at the VFW to raise money for the business and the mounting medical bills. Thankfully, he’s staying healthy now but that isn’t the case for the garage.

So Symantha and Clifford decided to apply for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan at Farmers & Stockmens to help save their business and their employees. “The whole process was not nearly as scary as we thought it was going to be,” Symantha said. “The bankers are remarkable at explaining it all and making sure you have all the information that you need. They made it seamless and effortless, which was a calming factor.”

The Hawks were able to handle the entire PPP application process over the phone and online and quickly get approved. “Our bank is a family,” said Symantha. “When I had to miss work to be with Clifford when he was sick, employees from several F&S branches donated their vacation time to help us out. The people at the bank care about individuals. They’re not all about the bottom line. So I’m excited that F&S is spreading the word so more people can get help.”

While current PPP funds have been exhausted, we encourage any business that’s struggling through these times to connect with our bankers so we can explore other available programs that can help.