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Local United Way pays tribute to three residents

The 2021 United Way community service award winners are, from left, Brad Ussery, Andrew Cloutier and Bobby Arnett. With them is Zia, a service dog for the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Chaves County. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

The United Way of Chaves County has presented three people with awards in recognition of their work for the community.

The nonprofit annually gives awards to honor local community members who have volunteered their time and given of themselves on behalf of Roswell and its people.

The 2021 recipients were presented with their plaques during the Tuesday board meeting for the organization. They were Bobby Arnett, Andrew (Drew) Cloutier and Brad Ussery.

Local businessman Arnett, who attended with his wife, Dr. Ana Arnett, received the Community Volunteer Service Award. The award recognizes someone involved in a variety of volunteer community activities over a number of years, with at least some of the volunteer work involving citywide projects.

Lee Murdoch, the executive of the local Conquistador Council of Boy Scouts of America, and Carrie-Leigh Cloutier of Court-Appointed Special Advocates, spoke about Arnett’s work with their groups.

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“Bobby’s dedication goes many levels to the scouting organization,” Murdoch said. “I think he most enjoys directly interacting with youth, but he is willing to do most anything when called upon.”

His recent work for the Boy Scouts has included community clean-up efforts, recruiting initiatives and food drives.

Cloutier recalled more years than she could count of his service to her organization.

“Even before he was on the board, he was like a board member,” she said. “He is a servant, a true servant.”

Arnett, a New Mexico Military Institute graduate and a former Eagle Scout, said he thinks volunteering is a responsibility residents have.

“I just feel it is appropriate and it is something that I have been doing since I was a scout when I was a youth and I have continued,” he said. “I enjoy volunteering and I wish everyone would.”

Cloutier, a lawyer and the husband of Carrie-Leigh Cloutier, received the Margie Boles Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award recognizes someone who has given “significant contributions of time, effort or financial support to the well-being of the citizens of Chaves County.” The contributions must have a “lasting impact” on the community.

Murdoch said Cloutier was on a selection committee that hired him for his current position but that since then he had the “tremendous pleasure of learning from and benefiting from all that Drew knows about nonprofit governance, oil and gas law. Murdoch added, “Honestly he is probably a better scout than I could ever aspire to be.”

Cloutier has been a scoutmaster, has served as an officer of the council board and is the council’s trust committee chairman. He also has been president of the United Way of Chaves County board of directors and a “loaned executive” for its fundraising campaign. He also has worked with CASA in many ways, including as a lawyer.

Cloutier said he was moved by receiving an award named in Boles’ honor.

“I am like Bobby. Community involvement is just a pleasure,” he said. “I like trying to help make things a better place.”

Ussery, the director of the Community Kitchen, which provides free meals to those in need, was given the Minor Huffman Caring Employee Award.

The award is given to a local nonprofit employee who has worked for the organization for at least two years, performs his or her duty at a superior level and “consistently demonstrates their concern for the agency’s missions and its clients.”

“He is the first one there every morning, always arriving at around 6,” said Kristine Holloway, a United Way board member. “Volunteers start arriving about four hours later to help serve meals to more than a hundred hungry people every day. Thanks to Brad, no one in our community should ever go hungry.”

On behalf of the United Way, Holloway also presented a $250 donation to the Community Kitchen.

Ussery is a Roswell native who graduated from Goddard High School. He remembered Minor Huffman as a giving person who “always had a twinkle in his eye” and expressed being especially honored to receive an award named for Huffman.

Ussery said he had just moved back to Roswell from Albuquerque about 10 years ago when he was asked to put his restaurant experience to use to help the struggling nonprofit when it was located in the basement gymnasium of St. Peter’s Church.

“I said, ‘I will try it for three months and see if I can get it back for you,’” he recalled. “I think they said, ‘Things are really tight. We can pay you $8 an hour.’ I said, “That’s OK. Let’s just try it.’”

He said that, with the support of United Way and other community organizations and individuals, the organization is doing well and has a new location, which is at 114 E. Bland St.

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