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Bank employees receive national volunteer awards

Pioneer Bank employees receive 2019 President’s Volunteer Service Awards. From left are Leigh Humble, Juliana Halvorson, Denise Gendreau, Eric Ehler and Lanie Smith. Not pictured: Karen Powers and Adriann Ragsdale. (Submitted Photo)

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Seven Roswell employees of Pioneer Bank have earned a 2019 President’s Volunteer Service Award.

Pioneer Bank, a community bank that formed its volunteer program, Team Pioneer, in 2017, is one of the certifying organizations with the Corporation for National & Community Service Corp. that administers the volunteer award program along with the national Points of Light program on behalf of the White House.

As a certifying organization, Pioneer Bank verifies community service hours. Hours are measured over a 12-month period and awards are designated as bronze, silver, gold or as a Lifetime Achievement Award based on cumulative hours. Along with the honor of presidential recognition, recipients receive a personalized certificate, an official pin and medallion, and a congratulatory letter from the president of the United States.

“As a community-focused bank, we are committed to make a positive difference by engaging in meaningful and effective programs that work to positively impact our hometowns,” said Christopher G. Palmer, Pioneer Bank president and chief executive officer. “We are very proud of our Team Pioneer program.”

Adriann Ragsdale, Pioneer Bank’s general counsel, volunteered 121 hours and earned the bronze award for a second time. She joined Pioneer Bank in July of 2016 and is affiliated with the Chaves County Bar Association, serving as the treasurer. Ragsdale was the 2012 campaign chair for United Way of Chaves County and served the organization as its president in 2016 as a board member until 2019. She is the board secretary for the Roswell Artist in Residence Foundation and serves as president of the Roswell Library Foundation. Ragsdale also is on the Eastern New Mexico State Fair Board and is the parade superintendent. She also works with the children’s ministry at Christ’s Church.

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Leigh Humble has earned the bronze award for the first time for 134 volunteer hours. Humble is involved in an ongoing blanket-making project for the patients of the UNM Children’s Hospital in Albuquerque. She is a member of the Compass Church financial committee and volunteers at the Roswell Community Kitchen. Humble’s other projects include decorating Main Street for the holidays and working for the Toys for Tots program.

Lanie Smith is also a bronze award recipient for the first time with 105 volunteer hours. Smith joined Pioneer Bank in March 2017 as a commercial lender and was named compliance and bank secrecy act officer in August 2017. Smith is a certified fitness instructor, a board member for the Assurance Home, vice president of the MainStreet Roswell board, an active member of the Chaves County Republican Women, the Altrusa Club and the United Way Women’s Project.

Karen Powers has earned the bronze award for the first time. She has been a member of Roswell Rotary since 2002, serving as board member as well as sergeant at arms. She also is a board member for the United Way of Chaves County. Powers is also a member of the Leadership Roswell Class of 1993.

Eric Ehler has volunteered 111 hours, earning him a second bronze medal. Ehler joined Pioneer Bank in 2009. He creates get-well cards for sick children and volunteers in a variety of events. He is a 2017 graduate of Leadership Roswell and a 2020 class member of Connect New Mexico, a program of Leadership New Mexico.

Denise Gendreau has earned her first bronze award by volunteering 109 hours. Gendreau is responsible for all operational aspects of banking operations. She is a graduate of Leadership Roswell, has served as secretary for Curry County United Way, is a past advocate for Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), and visits local retirement homes to assist residents with financial needs.

Juliana Halvorson has earned this award many times, the first being in 2012. Halvorson serves her community as often as she can, tracking almost 450 volunteer hours in 2019. She currently serves as an executive board member for the Walker Aviation Museum, is president of the MainStreet Roswell board, and helps with many other nonprofit organizations, including the employer support organization of the National Guard and National Reserve. She is a 2018 graduate of Leadership New Mexico and continues to serve on the curriculum committee since her graduation. Halvorson has received numerous awards and recognition, including the Chaves County Person of Character Award in 2011, the Excellence in Broadcasting award in 2011, and the New Mexico Parks and Recreation Volunteer of the Year Award in 2011.

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