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Halvorson says skills should serve community

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Juliana Schaffer Halvorson wants to see more people volunteering on behalf of their communities. A colleague describes her as “deeply committed” to the community and “passionate and tireless” about the projects she supports. (Submitted Photo)

The Leadership Roswell Alumni Association gives annual awards to people who have made outstanding contributions to the community. This year, the group has honored four people. The Roswell Daily Record is publishing an article each day about one recipient. This is the third article.

If you have ever been to a community gathering and wondered who that was in the midst of crowds taking photos and videos, chances are it was Juliana Schaffer Halvorson.

This year’s recipient of the Leadership Roswell Alumni Association Outstanding Leader Award, Halvorson has loaned her graphic design, photography, videography and marketing skills to many community groups in the area at one point or the other over the past 30 years.

“If God gives you a gift, you should use it for good,” she said. “It isn’t that I don’t mind, but that I enjoy helping these organizations.”

The Outstanding Leader Award recognizes someone who is known as a supportive and motivational employer, has a history of giving to and improving Roswell, and is seen as the “epitome” of a leader.

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Twenty-two prior recipients since 1999 have included the heads of local companies, elected officials and nonprofit leaders.

Halvorson is the vice president of marketing for Pioneer Bank, an organization she joined in about 2014.

As a volunteer, she has designed logos, taken and posted videos and photos, and given her time to countless community projects and groups, including United Way of Chaves County, Toys for Tots, WESST, Lovelace Regional Hospital, the Roswell Jazz Festival and the Roswell Tourism Council. She is a board member for MainStreet Roswell and the Walker Aviation Museum. She also is an employer representative for the National Reserves and National Guard.

The daughter of an Air Force officer, she and her family traveled a lot in the United States, as well as overseas, before arriving in Roswell in the 1980s. She graduated from Goddard High and earned an associate’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. She also is a Leadership New Mexico program graduate.

Her first job was as a videographer for KBIM-TV. She then worked for the Roswell bureau of KOAT-TV until that unit closed. She was an employee in the art department for Christmas by Krebs for a while and then started her own marketing company, before joining Pioneer Bank as marketing director.

She has been widowed for about five years. Her husband, John Halvorson, had been a police officer and magistrate judge before his passing in 2015. They have two daughters, a 29-year-old who lives in Denver and a college student in Roswell earning a degree in elementary education.

While known for her individual endeavors, she is also closely associated with the highly visible and active volunteer program coordinated by Pioneer Bank. Team Pioneer encourages and rewards volunteerism by its employees. In 2019, Team Pioneer raised $61,229, as well as food, toys and clothing, for community organizations in the five New Mexico cities it serves, and it contributed $142,989 for the Roswell Fire Department officers injured in a June 2019 explosion. Its employees also gave 3,679 volunteer hours to 159 organizations and 1,320 activities.

Halvorson is thinking of her colleagues, as well as other volunteers in Roswell, when she says that she is honored by the award, but reticent to be singled out. She certainly has many awards to her name, including several President’s Volunteer Service Awards, given by the White House and the Corporation for National and Community Service. In 2019, Halvorson was recognized with its Silver Award for 450 hours of volunteerism during the year.

“I do get embarrassed when I get recognized for my efforts because it is not just me,” she said. “It is everybody behind me, everybody who has helped with everything we do. There are so many people who do it without recognition. I just wish more people in the community would get out and do something for the community.”

She said that is one of her frustrations, that people complain about their communities, especially on social media, yet many organizations and projects find it difficult to get enough volunteers.

Remarks by Pioneer Bank President Christopher Palmer indicate that Halvorson definitely acts on her philosophy.

“Juliana is deeply committed to our community,” Christopher Palmer said. “Juliana is dedicated, passionate and tireless when it comes to supporting endeavors that she feels will move the community forward. She encourages others to get involved and make a difference through volunteering and has been instrumental in the development of our own volunteer program, Team Pioneer.”

Hope Morales, a local educator and Roswell Independent School District Board of Education member, said she considers Halvorson to be the type of leader she would like to emulate.

Morales said Halvorson gave a talk about financial literacy during a Leadership Roswell session, but that she came to know and appreciate her community involvement more in the days that followed. She added that she appreciated that Halvorson created photo treatments of local high school graduates for displays and social media this year and encouraged local businesses to honor them because COVID-19 prevented the usual commencement ceremonies.

“She just became someone that I immediately admired because of the different things she did, wearing different hats, throughout the community,” Morales said. “She was someone that I felt was more than just talk but was actively leading to help our community to improve or to celebrate us or to help others.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.