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Electricity in the air at Heritage Dinner

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Southwestern Public Service Company brought a collection of historic items to Tuesday's 36th Annual Heritage Award Dinner. The items included a large selection from its company magazines starting in the '40s. Those magazines did not only feature company news but also marriage announcements and company picnics. (Christina Stock Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

This year, the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico changed their program to include live music during the cocktail hour that started at 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening at the Convention and Civic Center.

HSSNM was honoring the Southwestern Public Service Company which was founded in Roswell in 1904 to expand to Texas, Colorado and beyond.
The guests had time to meet with friends while listening to live music by the group Hot Club on the Pecos.
A record amount of 65 high quality and unique collector items, art and gift certificates were on the silent auction tables.
Radio and video host Mike Winters was master of ceremonies guiding the audience through the evening.
Colors were presented by the New Mexico Youth ChalleNGe and the National Anthem was sung by Bobby Graves, retiree of SPS. SPS is today part of of the brand Xcel Energy.
HSSNM board member John Drusedum said a prayer before dinner, in which he mentioned the victims of the shooting at a public library in Clovis and the flood victims in Houston.

Mike McLeod, SPS regional manager community service, and the unofficial historian of the company, Wes Reeves, SPS Sr. media representative, and David Hudson. president of of the Texas and New Mexico organizations of SPS/Xcel, had a presentation prepared to show highlights of the long history of the electric company. The presentation also included memorabilia, magazines and informational material that was put up in the lobby.
“Most employees that went to work for this company have stayed with this company,” McLeod said in an earlier interview about how SPS is different from other companies. Reeves and Amy McVay Davis, executive director of HSSNM, agree with McLeod’s statement.According to them, the company is tight knit and like a family, with employees and their children intermarrying and continuing the rich legacy SPS/Xcel represents.
The first fruit of the new generation came in 2016, when Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources built 600,000 photovoltaic solar panels covering 1,400 acres northeast of Roswell, selling the energy output to Excel Energy under a long-term contract.
In 2017, Xcel Energy announced plans to build two large wind energy facilities in New Mexico and Texas which is planned to come on line in 2020.
Mayor Dennis Kintigh was present at the dinner to acknowledge the electric company and its achievements.
The Heritage Dinner is HSSNM’s major fundraiser. The proceeds from this evening help cover the operating costs for the museum and archive facility for the coming year.
Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.