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Honoring the best among us

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World War II Marine Sgt. Manuel R. Martinez, left, is led from the stage of Saturday night's Heroes Banquet by Richard Garcia. Martinez, of Roswell, received the veteran award at the banquet hosted by Homes for Heroes of Chaves County at the Roswell Convention & Civic Center. Martinez received the Silver Star for his service at the Battle of Iwo Jima and the Bronze Star for his service at the Battle of Saipan. The crowd later stood and sang Happy Birthday to Martinez, who turns 95 on Wednesday. After serving in World War II, Martinez settled as a union plumber. Other award recipients at the banquet were firefighter Carlos Garcia of the Roswell Fire Department, firefighter Logan Franklin of Hagerman Fire & Rescue, firefighter Toby Salas of the Dexter Fire Department, Lt. Mike Rohrbacher of the Sierra Volunteer Fire Department, officer Jaime Castillo of the Roswell Police Department, officer William Norwood of the Hagerman Police Department, Sgt. Pedro Silvas of the NMMI Police Department, deputy Mike Shannon of the Chaves County Sheriff's Office, officer Otis Rodriguez of New Mexico State Police, Sgt. Alexander Mein of the New Mexico National Guard, and retired U.S. Airman Nancy Britton, who received the veterans service award. (Jeff Tucker Photo)