Photos by Mary Alice Murphy

Article by Fred R. Baca, with additions by Mary Alice Murphy

The League of United Latin Americans Council 8003 of Silver City held its 35th Annual Scholarship and Awards Banquet on Saturday, August 10, 2019. The banquet was held at the Thomas B. McDonald Student Memorial Building cafeteria on the campus of Western New Mexico University. Eleven Grant County students were presented with scholarships valued at one thousand dollars each.

Also presented were special Council awards Including; Woman of the Year Ora Rede; Man of the Year Danny Vasquez; Educator of the Year Katrina Bustillos, and finally, the Council was recognized as the National LULAC Council of the Year.

President Patrick Cohn served as master of ceremonies for the function
attended by over 100 students, family members, Council members and friends.

Sixth Judicial District Judge Tom Stewart provided the keynote speech. In his message he encouraged students to work hard and strive to achieve their best. He added that it would be a difficult journey, but success and goals could be attained. He urged them to ask for help if they needed it. "Makes plans for your life. Wanting things done makes you think about where you're going." He encouraged public service, which he said was hard work, but very gratifying. Stewart also said the students should strive to become involved in their community. "Life is short; life is valuable; take care of it," he said in reference to the shooting that had taken place in El Paso the previous weekend. "We encourage LULAC to continue working toward bringing justice to Hispanics."

Fred Baca, scholarship chairman, presented the 11 scholarships. They include:
• The First American Bank Scholarship to Serina R. Turrieta, who will study music education;
• The Council 8003 Apolonio Sierra Memorial Scholarship to Jalyssa D. Benavidez, who plans to become a nurse;
• The Council 8003 Lynn Godoy Baca Scholarship to Angelina R. Bencomo, who will study dental hygiene;
• The Council 8003 Vangie Montes Scholarship to Serena E. Castillo, who is studying nursing;
• The Council 8003 Donna Tracey Scholarship to Gabrielle M. Hughes, who will major in biology with the goal of becoming a doctor;
• The Council 8003 First New Mexico Bank Scholarship to Sherelle N. Rodriguez;
• The Council 8003 Bernice Treviso Memorial Scholarship to Zoe R. Abeyta;
• The Council 8003 Robert Trevizo Memorial Scholarship to Reagan A. Barragan, who will study biochemistry toward his goal of going to medical school to specialize in anesthesiology;
• The 7th Annual Fred R. Baca Scholarship to Chelsea Medina, who will study kinesiology, as she prepares to become a physical therapist;
• The WNMU Mike Montes Scholarship to David Montes, studying nursing; and
• The late Catarino "Cat" Rede and Ora Rede Scholarship to John Gonzales, who will study nursing.

A highlight of the evening was a proclamation by Lt. Governor Dr. Howie Morales presented a proclamation to the Council for its National Council of the Year award for the fifth time. The Lt. Governor stressed to the students that they should keep in mind where they came from. He related experiences as a young man growing up in Silver City and how those experiences helped shape who he is. He spoke highly of the local LULAC organization and its achievements. He encouraged the audience to get involved and support the educational work of the Council.

State Representative Rudy Martinez presented a proclamation from the House of Representatives to Katrina Bustillos emphasizing her hard work, long hours of dedication and caring for her students. He stressed how Katrina had taken time to take students on extended learning trips to other countries and extended their learning by doing so.

Ora Rede was selected as the local, district and state Woman of the Year for 2019. Her dedication, hard work and desire to help the community were exemplified by her involvement in several community organizations including; LULAC, the library board, the Literacy Link-Leamos Literacy Program and working with veterans and widows of veterans through the American Legion Post 18. Her volunteer service also included volunteering for the after school food program and the St. Francis Food Pantry. In coming to Silver City with her late husband, Catarino, they became enamored with Silver City. She came from Oakland, California where she retired as a registered nurse. She tutors Spanish and enthusiastically teaches other about the culture. She is fluent in Spanish and has served as a translator for many community events where needed. A scholarship in the name of the Redes was awarded to John P. Gonzales, a graduate of Cobre High School who will be attending Western New Mexico University this fall majoring in nursing.

Danny Vasquez, a long-time member of LULAC, was selected as the Council’s Man of the Year. His work in fundraisers, building maintenance and expertise as a consultant to the Council were strong points in earning him the award. Vasquez served in the Silver City Fire Department for 35 years with 27 of those years as the Silver City Fire Chief. Danny was born In Santa Rita and is a “Born in Space” resident. He spent some early years in southern California and worked on the Apollo 9, 10 and 11 space programs. The Apollo 11 culminated many years of work and research and ultimately landing on the moon. Former Silver City Astronaut Jack Schmitt was on board the capsule as part of the crew. Danny also served on the committee that was instrumental in bringing Central Dispatch to Grant County.

Decorations for the banquet were created by Vangie Montes, food preparation was by Sodexo, and music was provided by D’Andre. Other officers include; vice president Cindy Provencio; secretary/treasurer Frances Vasquez; and chaplain Ora Rede. The Council has been in existence for 38 years and has been awarded the National Council of the Year five times.

Over the many years, the Council has donated more than $200,000 in scholarship awards. Money for scholarships is raised through fundraisers, community and individual donations and matching funds provided through the National LULAC organization.

President Cohn thanked everyone for attending and congratulated the scholarship recipients and Council award winners.

Live from Silver City

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