N.M. Public Service Awards program selects 10 honorees

By on Mon, Oct 8, 2012

The New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards program has selected 10 individuals to honor, and for the first time, chosen an organization for special recognition.

The winners, from eight different cities from around the state, will be feted during a Nov. 1 awards banquet at the Marriott Pyramid in Albuquerque.

Maj. Gen. Garrett Harencak, in charge of the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Kirtland Air Force Base, is the keynote speaker. Gov. Susana Martinez is expected to attend the event. And former Govs. Garrey Carruthers and Toney Anaya, longtime co-emcees of the event, will do so again.

A Lifetime Achievement Award will go to William H. Johnson, retired CEO of UNM Hospital, who during his decades of service transformed a county hospital into a university medical center system.

The nine winners of Distinguished Public Service Awards, alphabetically, are:

Randal Brown, M.D., the CEO of the Santa Rosa Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa, who is credited with bringing clinics, doctors and good medical care to Guadalupe County;

William D. Connor, an El Paso Electric officer living in Las Cruces and a statewide military base advocate, chamber volunteer, and border business booster;

Norberta Fresquez of Albuquerque, a tireless advocate of New Mexico music, founder and producer of the Mariachi Spectacular, and musical workshop organizer who developed a mentoring group for at-risk children in the South Valley;

Jerry W. Grizzle, Ph.D., president and superintendent of the New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, who has overseen a boom in enrollment in the college-preparatory high school, and spearheaded an effort to involve students, faculty and staff in various community service efforts;

Leo Mendoza of Veguita, a youth group assistant with the city of Socorro, a local education advocate and supporter of Boys and Girls Ranches, fund raiser and community volunteer;

T. Greg Merrion, president of Merrion Oil & Gas Corp. in Farmington, scholarship fundraiser, micro-lending supporter, United Way leader and volunteer, and helped develop plan to diversify the area economic base;

Harry N. Relkin of Albuquerque, general counsel with the state Land Office, helped create that office’s community development programs, UNM supporter and advocate, helped create projects statewide including Mesa del Sol master plan;

Lawrence J. Sanchez of Grants, retired insurance company owner who served as president of Cibola Communities Economic Development Foundation, served on numerous boards and volunteer groups, scholarship fund raiser;

Anthony B. Schroeder, Ph.D., of Portales, a tireless supporter and former faculty member of Eastern New Mexico University, community volunteer and fund raiser, education advocate.

The awards program also selected, for the first time, an agency or organization to honor. The group selected the Air Force Inspection Agency headed by U.S. Air Force Col. Paul W. Tibbets IV at Kirtland AFB.

The agency reports to the Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General. It provides independent and timely inspections and assessments of nuclear surety, health care and regulatory compliance for the Air Force.

The awards program, which raises thousands of dollars in scholarships for the state’s three research universities, was developed by Albert Rosenthal, professor and director emeritus in Public Administration at UNM, in the 1960s.

The banquet at the Marriott Pyramid Albuquerque, 5151 San Francisco NE, will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Banquet tickets are $70 each or $700 for tables of 10.

For more information, visit www.nmdpsa.nm.org or call JoLou Ottino at 505-344-6177.

The New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards program is currently chaired by Gov. Martinez and New Mexico Tech President Dan Lopez.