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Leadership Roswell Alumni Association to hold 20th anniversary of annual awards banquet

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For 20 years, Leadership Roswell Alumni Association has honored individuals for their commitment to leadership in our community. Those selected for the awards are recognized at the LRAA Annual Awards Banquet, which is a wonderful evening celebrating Roswell’s community leaders in four categories. The public is encouraged to attend and support these outstanding citizens. This year the banquet will be held on Tuesday, June 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Daniels Leadership Center on the north side of the New Mexico Military Institute campus. The actual address of this facility is 298 W. 19th St. The prime rib dinner is $25 per person and you are asked to make your reservation at president@lraa.info or phone 575-942-1228. Sponsors of the evening include the Alumni Association, Xcel Energy, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and Plateau Cellular.

Leadership Roswell Alumni Association is comprised of individuals who have graduated from Leadership Roswell. The association began in 1996 as a means to continue improving leadership skills, promote those who step up and out of their comfort zone to become the leaders of our community and bring the alumni together for continued networking and education. The Leadership Roswell Class features about 30 students chosen from applicants each year in July. They meet once a month to explore different aspects of our community such as local government, agriculture business, education and more. Local leaders and professionals educate and discuss their specialties under the coordination of Executive Director Rick Kraft and his committee of graduates.

This year, four Community Leader awards are being presented and six teens are being awarded scholarships for their leadership skills. The Teen Scholarships are awarded to six future leaders chosen by students and staff of the annual two-day Teen Leadership Institute sponsored by the Alumni Association, the New Mexico Military Institute, Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell and New York Life Insurance. Juniors and seniors from the area and the Institute are brought together at the NMMI campus to learn leadership skills through activities and local presenters. Scholarship recipients for 2019 are Dylan Tucker, Drew Graham, Vincent Verciglio, Reagan Bradford, Justin Carrasco and Desiree Peralta.

Commitment to Youth Award

The first of the four Community Leader awards, the Commitment to Youth Award, is being given to Tim Fuller, a teacher and coach in Roswell for 25 years and a positive role model for our youth. Mr. Fuller graduated from Roswell High in 1989 and attended Eastern New Mexico University where he obtained his degree in biology. During high school and college, he was an outstanding athlete in football being named All-State and All-District while a part of the repeat New Mexico State Champions. After graduation, he returned to teach and coach at Roswell High. He has coached hundreds in Little League, youth and middle school basketball, freshman football and varsity track. Also, he has been very involved with youth in his church, in the Youth ChalleNGe Program and as executive director of Character Counts in Chaves County. As a volunteer with the Midway Fire Department, he has mentored over 20 young people to volunteer or seek a career as a firefighter. Mr. Fuller has been married to wife Cindy for 20 years and they have three children — Mikayla, Timothy and Laci.

Outstanding Leaders Award

The Outstanding Leaders Award this year is being presented to a husband and wife team — Jim and Shirley Gill. They are owners of Roswell Seed, which has been in the Gill family for 121 years and is the oldest continuously operating family-owned business in Roswell and the region. Both were born and raised in Roswell and graduated from Roswell High School. Mr. Gill has an agricultural engineering degree from NMSU and a master’s in business administration from Eastern New Mexico University. He returned to run the family business in 1979. Shirley Brabhem Gill has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Eastern New Mexico University in education. Despite photographic evidence of Jim and Shirley attending a birthday party together at age 8, they were introduced by a mutual friend in 1980 shortly after they both returned to Roswell and were married in 1982.

Just one look at their storefront shows the support the Gills give of the area youth with no less than 25 posters of the students they have sponsored in our local school clubs and sporting teams. They have supported the community in various ways from sponsoring at the Balloon Rally, teaching beekeeping in schools, working with Kids, Cows and More, and serving as the produce superintendents at the Eastern New Mexico State Fair. They are members of MainStreet Roswell and grew the petunias and plants for the downtown planters. Mr. Gill has been an active leader in Roswell Rotary and professional organizations including the Southern and New Mexico Seed associations. They have two daughters: Jamie who teaches high school in Deming and Emily who is an orthopedic physician’s assistant and athletic trainer in Frisco, Texas. Mrs. Gill summed up their commitment as wanting to help give kids a good foundation for their lives whether through sports, the arts or agricultural activities.

Leadership Roswell Alumni Award

A fairly new award, the Leadership Roswell Alumni Award, is going this year to longtime Alumni Association member Elaine Davies Mayfield. She is a retired city of Roswell employee, having directed the Spring River Park & Zoo for 32 years. Elaine graduated from the 1996 Leadership Roswell Class and immediately joined the newly formed Alumni Association. Over the next 23 years, she was involved with every aspect of the Alumni Association, especially in working with the Candidate Forums, the annual awards banquet and creating a directory of class graduates. Ms. Mayfield served several terms on the Alumni Board, in each officer position and is one of only two people to serve as president twice. Her service to the Leadership Roswell Alumni Association has helped ensure its continued success. A graduate of Roswell High and New Mexico State University, she was married twice and has one daughter, Deyona, an oil and gas executive in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She has been an active leader in Roswell with several organizations, including the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico, the Rio Pecos Kennel Club, the Roswell UFO Festival and the Roswell Galacticon.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award is presented this year to Kathleen Wells. This award is given to a person who has dedicated years of service and leadership to improve our community. Mrs. Wells was born and raised in Roswell, graduated from Roswell High School, Point Loma University in San Diego, California, and the Leadership Roswell Class of 1991. Husband Marlin Wells says “Kathleen is a real-life example of a servant leader — never wanting to be ‘up front’ in organizations but very willing to work.” Besides owning and operating a successful employee benefits company for over 25 years, Mrs. Wells has been very active in her church, teaching Sunday school, Bible school, children’s church and conducted finance classes with her husband in many churches. She has served on numerous community boards and committees, including the Chaves County Planning Commission, Chaves County United Way, Counseling Associates, Employers Support of Guard and Reserve Committee, and the New Mexico Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. In addition, she has served on the Roswell Symphony Orchestra Board and dedicated many hours of service as a 35-year member of the Altrusa Club of Roswell. The Wells have two sons: Rich and his wife Amber, who live in Colorado Springs with their five children; and Greg, who lives in San Diego with wife Felicia and their two daughters.