By Tony Parra
Dewey Langston walked into the Memorial Building auditorium on Friday evenng and walked out the winner of the 2004 Pioneer of the Year Award.
“It’s quiet humbling,” Langston said, “especially when you think of the people who were recognized and have been recognized with the award.”
The measure of what Langston meant to the community could have been measured by the amount of people who shook his hand and gave him a hug after he won the award. They showed their appreciation for all he has done for the community, Eastern New Mexico University and the United States Army during World War II.
“I’ve probably met half of the people in this town through ENMU, sports, Rotary and the military,” Langston said. “I’ve also spoken at a lot of organizations and sports events.”
Langston was injured by bomb fragments in World War II. His family tale of the war was the opposite of the tale in “Saving Private Ryan.”
In “Saving Private Ryan,” a mother lost three of her four sons in the war, and the other was given a trip home. Langston’s mother had six boys serve in the war and all of them returned safe.
“Every leader has his down days,” Phillip Fike said in an audio clip dedicated to Langston. “But even so, he lifts us and keeps us going. He tells us not to give up.”
Bettie Miller, one of the Pioneer of the Year Award candidates, also dedicated a poem to the event which echoed the sentiments of the other candidates. The poem talked about what Portales meant for Pioneers and they’re feelings about being labeled pioneers.
Theta Ainsworth sang and Coby Carter played the fiddle for the crowd, while Miss Albuquerque, Christina Hall, sang also. Hall is a senior at ENMU and told a story of how she chose ENMU over the University of New Mexico, even though her parents attended UNM.
Langston chose to attend ENMU under different circumstances in 1939, and was a member of the first graduating to start and finish a four-year degree at ENMU.
If anything, Langston would like for the city to support the organization that gave him the pioneer award.
“The chamber needs our full support,” Langston said. “They represent us and they’re qualified best to bring in businesses like the Holiday Inn Express. It’s a great improvement for the town. If you look for the good in it you’ll find it. If you are a negative person, then it’ll just pass you by.”