The 2016 Spirit of New Mexico Awards
Eight years ago, the Chamber, with the Albuquerque Journal, held the first Spirit Awards as a way to recognize people in the community who, through their selfless actions, affect the community in an extraordinary way without expecting anything in return. Please join us as we offer them our thanks, for they embody the Spirit of New Mexico.
Keynote Address by:
Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles W. Daniels
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Crowne Plaza Albuquerque
1901 University Blvd. NE
Schmooze Networking: 11:00 am—12:00 pm
Luncheon: 12:00 pm—1:30 pm
Members: $45 each
or table of 10 for $450
Non-Members: $55 each
or table of 10 for $550
Spirit of New Mexico award recipients include...
RUDOLFO ANAYA--is best known for his "Bless Me, Ultima" novel -- required reading in many schools. Through the decades, he has continued to bring Chicano life and New Mexico culture to the world through his writing. He is now turning his novel, “Bless Me, Ultima,” into an opera. Recently, he received the National Humanities Medal from President Obama. And he still writes -- poetry, novels, stories -- continuing to spread his gift.
"University of New Mexico honoring Rudolfo Anaya with lecture"
ED GOODMAN--a disability lawyer, started and runs Tootsie's Vision, a nonprofit that helps find homes for sightless dogs, raises funds for their medical care and increases awareness for what great pets they make. The project is named after a beloved dog that resided with Goodman until her death last March. She had been abandoned years before on a Corrales road, her sight already lost to retinal atrophy. In her, Goodman found inspiration for facing his own physical challenges.
"Heroes care for dogs that need just one more chance"
AL VIGIL, LINDA VIGIL--Al and Linda Vigil have helped hundreds survive the loss of a loved through suicide through their Survivors of Suicide Loss support groups and workshops. A suicide occurs somewhere in the country every 29 minutes. The suicide rate is even higher in New Mexico, which ranks fifth in the nation, and has a suicide rate among children that is twice the national average. In 1984, the Lopezes suffered the loss of their bright, bubbly 18-year-old daughter. Since then, they have turned their pain into hope for others suffering similar losses. “Our group is, unfortunately, growing. It’s bittersweet,” Says Al Vigil.
"Couple help other suicide-loss survivors ‘go on’ with their lives"
ELIZABETH WHITEFIELD--Family Court Judge Elizabeth Whitefield's retirement leaves a void in the 2nd Judicial District Court that will be hard to fill. Her extensive legal experience and steady hand as presiding judge of the Family Court will be missed, in addition to what Chief Judge Nan Nash called her “bright spirit.” Whitefield was appointed to the post in 2007 by then Gov. Bill Richardson, after years as a family law attorney. Her commitment to her work, and the families she helped, shone through as she returned to the bench again and again after battling illness.
"Family Court judge retires after nearly 30 years in law"
VICTOR LOPEZ--Victor Lopez is founder and executive director of the nonprofit Learners Chess Academy, which started in 2010 and now has 44 chess clubs at public, private and charter elementary schools in Albuquerque, the East Mountains and Rio Rancho. Students -- many of whom had never played the game -- are reaping the benefits that go far beyond learning this game: they are engaged and challenged, learning discipline and strategic thinking.
"Elementary school students learn strategy, thinking skills at chess club"
Harry Kinney Award recipients
KYLA THOMPSON, ROGER THOMPSON-- Kyla Thompson is a public relations expert. Roger Thompson is an Army veteran who served 2½ years in Vietnam. Married for over 35 years, the two have used their talents and passion to help veterans -- by making provisions to help extend education benefits, raising money to establish a program to house homeless veterans and more recently securing financial backing to extend a pro-bono dental program for women veterans. Kyla also has served on numerous community boards in recent years, lending her expertise to raise funds, strengthen transparency and raise the profiles of worthwhile causes. Together they embody the spirit of the "Harry Kinney Good Samaritan" award.
"Peaceful warrior: Retired PR pro, ’60s protester now champions veterans’ causes"