Chamber of Commerce honors members’ efforts in community

Christina Calloway

The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce honored their achievements of 2011, recognized valuable members for their work in the community and celebrated New Mexico’s Centennial Wednesday night at its annual banquet.

The Portales High School Jazz Band played upbeat songs as the crowd of about 160 drew into Portales’ Yam Theater to embark on an evening of entertainment and history.

Chamber Director Karl Terry reviewed the chamber’s year discussing major highlights including the agricultural expo and growth at Cannon Air Force Base.

“We’re proud to have your people in our community,” said Terry during his speech to Col. Albert “Buck” Elton, commander of the 27th Special Operation Wing at Cannon Air Force Base.

Col. Elton wasn’t the only person who received a grand applause that evening, the chamber gave out four awards to honor some of the area’s prized citizens.

Leroy Thomas was awarded Ambassador of the Year, a representation of the face of the community and a member with the best attendance according to former chamber president and current board member, Antonio Sanchez.

Another former chamber president and board member, Wanda Graham, presented the Harley and Faye Borden awards to three businesses.

“This award honors the memory of a Portales couple who were active in community affairs and concerned about making sure their community always put its best foot forward,” said Graham. “The award is given to members who make significant improvements to the exterior of their business in the award year.”

H20 and More to Go owners Nykoshe and Doug Seales, Creighton’s Town and Country, and Phillip Million accepting for Xeriscaping received the Harley and Faye Borden awards.

The Workhorse of the Year award was given to Steve Tuttle, a man who Sanchez said, “exemplifies that ethic of pitching in until the job’s done and never hesitating to raise his hand when his wife Donna punches him sharply in the ribs.”

Tuttle was blindsided and upon receiving his award he said he was very surprised and thanked the chamber.

The Warm Heart of the Sunbelt award — not an award given every banquet — went to Sheryl Borden, a longtime chamber board member and community volunteer.

“This person is truly a public servant who enhances the ‘Warm Heart of the Sunbelt’ spirit of Roosevelt County through actions that place service above self,” said Terry. “She graduated from ENMU with a degree in home economics and stepped off the stage with the idea she could do something great with that degree and she immediately set about doing it.”

Borden is the host of her own syndicated show on PBS stations, Creative Living With Sheryl Borden. She is also a columnist, and was chamber president in 2009. She also chaired the banquet committee — an assignment Terry said the board couldn’t resist giving her, after reluctantly accepting her decision to transition off the board.