Awards Banquet themed "Red or Green?"

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This year's Community Awards Banquet will be on Saturday, March 9, with a social hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. Join the Socorro community at the Garcia Opera House for a night of fun, delicious food, and good company, as we celebrate those who contribute to making Socorro such a great place to live.

A dinner of mouthwatering chicken and beef fajitas will be provided by Chartwells and the bar will be operated by Bodega Burger Co. and Lounge. Margaritas, anyone? There will be a Salsa dance competition as well as a contest for those with the best "Fiesta!" themed costume. Attendees are welcome to come in costume or casual dress.

Seating is limited, so please call the Chamber office soon at 575-835-0424 to purchase your tickets or simply stop by the Chamber office at 101 Plaza St.

This year's honorees have been chosen by the Chamber membership, except for the Ann Hale, Eaton, Director's and Lifetime Achievement Awards, which are chosen by the Chamber's Board of Directors. Hearty congratulations to the following!

Man of the Year: Fred Hollis—San Antonio resident Fred Hollis has lived in Socorro County since 1977. He's a retired Facility Manager with 35 years at White Sands Missile Range, has been a volunteer firefighter since 1969, and currently serves as Chief of the San Antonio Fire Department and Emergency Services Coordinator of Socorro County, among many other volunteer activities.

Woman of the Year: Cindy Rivera—A Socorro citizen for over 35 years, Cindy began the summer recreation program for the City's youth in the old Finley Gym that has now grown to include an after-school program at the County Youth Center. For the past 3 years she's coordinated the use of Finley Gym and the Youth Center to provide emergency shelter and hot meals for those stranded in Socorro during snowstorms and road closures.

Volunteer of the Year: Nyleen Troxel Stowe—A Save Our Bosque Task Force volunteer since 1998, Nyleen currently serves as secretary/treasurer. She's volunteered for Amigos de la Sevilleta since 2005, where she used to serve as President. Nyleen volunteers as a board member for NM Vegetation Management Association, where she has served two terms as President. She also volunteers for the Animal Protective Association of Socorro and acts as current President of the Socorro Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.

Organization of the Year: Fraternal Order of the Eagles #4017—The Eagles are a service fraternity that supports local police and firefighters, funds medical research in such areas as spinal cord injuries, kidney disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer's, has donated (in 2012) $40,000 to Socorro residents for funerals, medical bills, youth events, sports programs, educational expenses, Girl Scouts, Socorro and Magdalena schools, dance groups, and to help the needy and under privileged. The Fraternal Order of the Eagles #4017 has 104 Aerie members and 106 auxiliary members in Socorro.

Business of the Year: Bodega Burger Company and Lounge—Bodega is a family owned business that has been operating since November 1, 2011. Brian Dean is the expertise behind the menu and recipes, but everyone in the Dean family pitches in from Helen, Joel, and Deborah to Jaime and Jianna. Employing a staff of 30, Bodega provides one of the largest banquet facilities with onsite catering in Socorro. Their restaurant, lounge, and banquet facilities feature games, DJ dances, karaoke, and local music as entertainment for Tech students, First Responders, and the whole Socorro community. They also provide a venue for community fairs and fundraisers and have recently added a wine shop.

Large Business of the Year: Blue Collar Construction—Owned by New Mexico natives Tracy Turner and Kim Massey-Dimsha, Blue Collar Construction is a family-owned business that began in 2008 and moved to Socorro in 2009. Located near Grefco in the Socorro Industrial Park, they work primarily in asphalt road repair, building, and chipseal. Blue Collar gives back to the community through in-kind and monetary donations to area nonprofits.

Ann Hale Award: Gerry Klinglesmith— This award is given each year in honor of Ann Hale, a community leader known for assisting and advocating for our city's youth. This year's recipient is Gerry Klinglesmith, who has worked devotedly with the Girl Scouts of our area for many years.

Eaton Award: Andrea Blodgett—This award was named after W.N. Eaton, who in his lifetime offered significant amounts of time and service to the Chamber. This year's recipient is Andrea Blodgett, who has been an invaluable resource to the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce, coming in every month to help collate, fold, and label the newsletter.

Director's Award: Cheryl and William Macey—This award is given each year to a person, business, or group who has significantly benefitted our community. This year's recipients, Cheryl and William Macey, donated funds to build Macey Center, Jean Macey Annex, to improve the NMT Golf Course, and most recently to construct the new child care facility on campus. All of these venues benefit NMT, as well as our whole community, providing resources for education, the NMT Performing Arts Series, conventions, and more.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Rowena and Adolph Baca—The Bacas are long-time owners of The Owl Bar, Café, and Steakhouse, iconic San Antonio, NM establishment and birthplace of the award-winning Green Chile OwlBurger. Descendent of the original owners, Rowena, along with husband Adolph, have provided a comfortable and beloved hang-out for locals over the years and have provided excellent and friendly service as well as delicious food to thousands of visitors and tourists, as well.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Lawrence and Mary Torres—Hard work, a strong business ethic, and the gift of vision are the touchstones of success for Lawrence and Mary Torres, who have left their mark on the Socorro Community and on California Street, home to three Torres businesses—Econo Lodge, Ace Hardware, and the Bubble Machine complex—all owned and managed by the family. Theirs is a history rich in service and infinitely rewarding, a legacy the couple has passed on to yet another family generation.