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Women’s Project honors six women

The 2019 Dare to Be Her recipients honored Tuesday are, from left, Claire Chase, Kelly Smith, Juliana Halvorson, Amanda Mason, Susan Sanchez and Barbara Yehl. (Submitted Photo)

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Six local women received recognition Tuesday for their accomplishments and their service to others.

The Women’s Project, a group of the United Way of Chaves County, held its second Dare to Be Her event at the Antigua Cocina Mexicana restaurant.

The group is dedicated to funding projects that benefit local women and children. The annual event honors women for their work in the community and encourages networking and connections among women.

This year’s honorees are Claire Chase, Juliana Halvorson, Amanda Mason, Susan Sanchez, Kelly Smith and Barbara Yehl.

Chase, government relations director for Mack Energy Corp. based in Artesia, received the Trailblazer Award for excelling in the male-dominated oil and gas industry. “She is making a huge impact in an area that is vital to our state and our local economy,” according to the nomination. It also noted that she has worked with both the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association and the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico.

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Halvorson, vice president of marketing for Pioneer Bank, was chosen for the Humanitarian Award for her volunteerism. “She donates an unbelievable number of hours for community service,” the nomination said. “She uses her diverse skills volunteering her time in art, graphic design, web design, organization, carpentry, business, photography and a ton of pure manual labor.” She was commended for being willing to pull weeds, climb ladders to hang holiday lights on Main Street, pick up debris or do whatever needs to be done to make Roswell a “more attractive and enjoyable place to be.”

Mason, an owner of the new family business Sippy and Opal’s Ice Cream and Sweet Treats on North Main Street, received the Entrepreneur Award. The nomination stated, “She is all about promoting other people while she herself offers a very delightful atmosphere and different flavors of baked goodies and ice cream in her shop.” She also was praised for selling Stellar Coffee Co.’s coffee rather than competing with a neighboring business.

The Top Educator Award went to Roswell High School Assistant Principal Susan Sanchez. “She is an amazing woman who has been in the school district for many years as a teacher, principal, assistant superintendent and interim superintendent,” the nomination said. “She has worked countless hours to make sure Roswell is a better place for our future and our children.”

Community volunteer Kelly Smith was given the Rising Star Award. She has volunteered with such groups as the Roswell Refuge, the Sidney Gutierrez Middle School Governing Council and Grace Community Church. “She is the most kind, caring and generous person I have ever met,” the nomination indicated. “Always willing to lend a hand, even if she does not know you. She is trying to better our town by serving on committees that are working on making Roswell great again.”

The Innovator Award went to Barbara Yehl. The nominator praised her for creating two new programs in Roswell, the Grace Refresh Group, which supports moms of young children, and the Lighthouse program, which encourages and supports adoption and foster parenting.

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