Chamber announces community award winners


The Socorro County Chamber of Commerce announced winners of its annual community awards, which will be presented at a banquet next month.

The Chamber invited its membership to nominate candidates for the various awards, and sent out a ballot to pick the winners last month.

The theme of this year’s banquet is “Hollywood.” The banquet will be held at the Bodega Burger Co. & Lounge on Saturday, Feb. 18. A no-host social begins at 5:30 p.m. and the awards dinner will be held at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are $35 apiece and can be ordered through the Chamber office, 575-835-0424.

Following is a list of the award winners.

Woman of the Year

Theresa Rosales is the director of the Socorro County Misdemeanor Compliance/DWI Office. Theresa and her staff of six employees partner with schools and youth programs to educate and encourage youths to pursue positive activities and goals. However, when a youth is found to be engaging in illegal activities, the courts assign them to Theresa’s office for supervision, treatment and education, to help them engage in a healthier way with society.

Theresa writes both state and federal grants to ensure that funds are available to both pay her employees and provide supplies for the youths. Her office collects food for Toby Jaramillo’s Holiday Food Drive, collects toys and gifts for “Toys for Tots” and when needed, Theresa uses her own funds to buy additional blankets and items for the homeless or needy youths of our community.

Man of the Year

Dennis Walsh is an extremely active volunteer for the community youth. Some of the projects, issues and positions for which he volunteers include: Cottonwood Valley Charter School governing council president, AYSO U10 soccer coach and tournament coach, AYSO referee coordinator, assistant coach for the Socorro High School boys golf team, organizer and coach of the Cottonwood Valley Charter School golf team, referee for NMT soccer games, San Miguel Church Confirmation Catechist, and member of the new Socorro Juvenile Justice Board.

Dennis has been a Socorro resident for almost 20 years. He arrived as a freshman at New Mexico Tech in 1992, and has been hooked on green chile cheese fries and golf since that distant time.

Dennis met his wife, Delilah, while attending Tech and is blessed with three very rambunctious children who pay him back in full for everything he ever did as a child. He has been an employee of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory for 10 years and truly appreciates working for an organization that encourages community involvement and volunteer activity from its employees.

Volunteer of the Year

Jill and David Urban raised their family in Socorro, and Jill graduated from NMT.

The Urbans have been very active in the community for years, especially assisting youth programs. Jill served on the AYSO Board for four years, and coached a U14 boy’s soccer team for two years, both AYSO and a travelling team.

David was an assistant soccer coach for RYSA for a year, and was an assistant to the assistant Socorro High School boys JV and varsity soccer team for a year.

Jill was an assistant Cub Scout leader for two years and the PTA president for a year. For multiple summers, Jill has located sponsors for a small group of children who need swimming lessons — these sponsors drive them to their lessons for the two week session.

Jill volunteered at the Arts Party and PAS for three years. She is well known for her advocacy work for animals and is currently on the Socorro Animal Advisory Board.

Organization of the Year

The Save our Bosque Task Force (SOBTF) started in 1994 to conserve and protect our community’s beautiful open space, especially the Rio Grande Corridor. The group was and still is comprised of concerned residents that had a vision to provide education, programs and projects to enhance, preserve and protect our riparian corridor.

The group has organized at least two clean ups annually, created over 20 parks along the river, with picnic areas, removed or treated invasive salt cedar, and encouraged and re-established native plant species, such as cottonwood trees. They also provide law enforcement to discourage fires and curb illegal activities.

Small Business of the Year

RAKS Building Supplies: RAKS started in New Mexico in 1986 and became Socorro’s lumber and hardware store a few years later.

Manager Keith Stowe transferred from the Los Lunas store to start the Socorro location and quickly became an integral part of the community. Keith is very knowledgeable and is always willing to help his customers decide on the correct materials, calculate the amount of supplies needed, and give suggestions to improve their projects.

Large Business of the Year

Alamo Navajo School Board, Inc. is much more than a school. The organization is a business, which has five divisions and employs up to 280 with an annual salary budget of $12 million.

The board has acted as the fiscal and/or management agent for many projects, such as the Alamo Water and Waste Water System, which has been acknowledged as one of the best in the Navajo Nation. They have recently secured $1.1 million to design an improved waste water system. It operates the Road Department and emergency radio/broadcast system and also has a fire crew that sells small diameter wood products.

The Alamo Navajo School Board provides a full medical clinic, as well as emergency medical stabilization issues. The board has donated and given to the Senior Citizen Center, 4-H, youth programs, and even provided for burial service for community members.

Most importantly, the school is one of the best in the state, which provides 54 programs and distant learning opportunities for students. As the second largest employer in the county, it provides vital services to the local community and is one of the major economic forces for our area.

Eaton Award

Gambles True Value Hardware Store and owners Paul and David Torres were awarded the Eaton Award for their assistance to the community and outstanding support for the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce.

Director’s Award

New Mexico Tech Office of Research and Economic Development, headed by Dr. Van Romero, was awarded the Director’s Award. This award is given to Dr. Romero in recognition of the vital impact his department has had on the tourism, economic health, and development of our community.

Ann Hale Award

This is a new award named after Ann Hale, known for her advocacy for our community’s youth and for her dedication to improving their lives.

NMT Performing Arts Series, Ronna Kalish, was awarded the Ann Hale Award in recognition of her excellent leadership in assisting in and promoting youth activities and for her service to our community.

Lifetime Achievement

These are new awards chosen by the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to recognize key individuals and/or families for the life time accomplishments in our community.

  • Jeanette Salome Atencio was selected in recognition of her entrepreneurship and excellent service at Jessie’s Fine Clothing.
  • Charlotte and Chuck Monette were selected in recognition of their keystone business, Monette Ford, for their civic activities, and for their generous contributions to our community.
  • Canda and Pablo Aguilar were selected in recognition of their hard work and excellent service in their business, A-1 Quality Redi-Mix, and for their many contributions to our community.


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