Clovis couple wins inaugural Samerican award

By Gabriel Monte

Phil and Babette Lenfant and their three sons were driving home last month when they spotted a woman on the side of U.S. 60/84.

The Lenfants pulled over on pitch-black highway to help the woman, who was stranded after a tire blowout.

Their act of charity earned them recognition Thursday from Clovis City Commission as the first recipients of the Good Samerican Award.

The award was created to recognize the Lenfant’s Samaritan act, according to Clovis Mayor David Lansford.

“We call this award the Good Samerican Award because of an event that took place several weeks ago that’s similar to a good Samaritan act where several people have actually gone past and not given aid and yet two with courage decided to, with faith, stop and assist someone in need.”

Ignacia Sanchez was driving a friend to Albuquerque in a borrowed car when its tire blew out near Fort Sumner, said Donna Wilhite, Sanchez’s mother-in-law.

Wilhite said Sanchez was afraid to stop because she had two infants in the back seat.

Then she ran out of gas and her car’s battery died, Wilhite said.

“She was crying, she was so afraid,” she said, “no one would stop for her.”

Wilhite said Sanchez started to pray and about 45 minutes later, the Lenfants driving home from Albuquerque, pulled over and offered their help.

They drove her home and the next day picked the car up, paid for the repairs, and donated clothes and money.

Wilhite said Sanchez is a single mother who works and has just started attending Clovis Community College.

“This is a lady who has struggled probably most of her life and really is the one that deserves the recognition, not us,” said Phil Lenfant, a retired Navy captain.

Babette Lenfant is the 27th Special Operations Mission Support Group commander.

27th Special Operations Wing Commander Col. Timothy Leahy said he wasn’t surprised that of the Lenfants generosity.

“I know these two. They’re good Christian people and God is a paramount in their life,” he said. “And for them to stop to me sounded like the normal thing that they would do.”