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New Mexico National Guard volunteers recognized

An award is being presented at a ceremony.

Stacy Sandoval is recognized by Col. George Sefzik, Commander, 150th Special Operations Wing, left, and Lt. Col. Todd Kontny, New Mexico Army National Guard, for her volunteerism June 26, 2021 at the Santa Fe Military Museum. Sandoval is the 150th SOW Lead Key Volunteer and Mentor. U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman Tyler Catanach

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. --

The New Mexico National Guard recently honored Army and Air volunteers and units of the year for 2020-2021, as well as recognizing all of the volunteers that made a difference to the units and families in the N.M. Guard.

“To the volunteers, I can’t do my job without you guys and I can’t thank you enough for taking care of my Airmen the best you can,” said Col. George Sefzik, 150th Special Operations Wing commander.

Nicole Walker, Air National Guard Volunteer of the Year:

Nicole Walker is the 2021 Air National Guard Volunteer of the Year. She has served as the Key Volunteer for 150th Civil Engineer Squadron and has recently transitioned roles to the Key Volunteer Mentor for the 150th Mission Support Group.  Her willingness to go above and beyond has built trust and a sense of community within her assigned organization.  During a recent loss of a member, she provided tremendous support to both the family and members of the unit.  Her success as the Key Volunteer has reflected positively upon the New Mexico Air National Guard.

210th RED HORSE Squadron, Air National Guard Unit of the Year:

The 210th RED HORSE Squadron is the 2021 Air National Guard Unit of the Year. They have recently mobilized 82 members—one of the largest deployments for the New Mexico Air National Guard—despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19. The Key Volunteers developed a deployment plan, which included events to help with the readiness effort. Prior to the members leaving, the 210th RED HORSE, along with key volunteers, planned and executed a Yellow Ribbon ceremony to provide family members the opportunity to connect with the unit prior to the deployment. They continue to communicate with families monthly and offer social activities while members are away. Thanks to their ability to work as a team, they have been effective in ensuring readiness of 210th RED HORSE families so members can concentrate on their mission.

Air Guard Certificates of Appreciation for Volunteer Service 2020-2021:

Charles Garcia -150th Security Forces Key Volunteer, Nicole Walker – 150th Mission Support Group Mentor and 150th Civil Engineer Squadron Key Volunteer, Dusty Sanchez -150th Ops Group Key Volunteer, Stacy Sandoval – 150th Special Operations Wing Lead Key Volunteer and Mentor, Alicia Caban – 150th Medical Group Key Volunteer, Crystal Herrera 250th Intelligence Squadron Key Volunteer, Eleanor Bean – 150th Maintenance Group Key Volunteer, Genevieve Tanner -150th Logistics Readiness Squadron Key Volunteer, Jewelia Flores – 250th Intelligence Squadron Key Volunteer, Judith Martin -150th Aircraft Maintenances Squadron Key Volunteer, Melissa Landess – 210th Red Horse Squadron Key Volunteer and Mentor, Stephanie Hilland – 210th Red Horse Squadron Key Volunteer.

Army National Guard:

Leonela Olivarez, Army National Guard Volunteer of the Year:

Our award recipient for the Army National Guard Volunteer of the Year has served as a Soldier/Family Readiness Group Volunteer and Mentor for 1st Battalion, 200th Infantry, recently transitioning to serve the Headquarters and Headquarters Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Her desire and passion for helping our service members has not gone unnoticed. During recent deployment cycles, she prepared packets containing Deployment Checklists along with TRICARE, DEERS, childcare resources, scholarship information, and so much more.  From meetings to long hours of researching resources, our 2020 volunteer of the year worked tireless hours to best inform her Soldiers and their families. Please join us in congratulating Leonela Olivarez.

720th Transportation Company, Army National Guard Unit of the Year:

The 720th Transportation Company is the award recipient for the 2021 Army National Guard Unit of the Year. They have gone above and beyond their appointed positions, mobilizing during a global pandemic. Their innovation, dedication, and drive to continue connecting families to the mission has been inspiring. These volunteers joined leadership in developing plans to address the pending deployment and the connection to family readiness. During the deployment, there have been creative events, such as a drive-thru toy drive to connect families during a time when six-feet apart was the norm and people were unable to gather for the holidays. It gave our members and families a sense of connection during times where connecting was a challenge. There were countless efforts from late-night phone calls to morale boosting deployment packages. Without question, their efforts have had an immense impact. Our volunteers continue to this day to maintain communication with families and designated individuals of deployed Soldiers, anticipating their safe return.

Army Guard Certificates of Appreciation for Volunteer Service 2020-2021:

Melissa Marquez, Cecilla Lopez, Sally Rodriquez, Connie Valencia, Maria Doldstein, Ginger Blackmar, Gina & Juan Lujan, Beverly Kelman, Joanna Romero, Nicole Gutierrez, Makalia Goodart, Tisha Apodaca, Adrianna Curio, Norma Gallegos, Brittania Garcia, Doreen Hammer, Amanda Henry, Amanda Henson, Amy Lorimer, Maegan Martin, Rory Martinez, Leonela Olivarez, Cathy Osborn, Billie Pawloski, Sydney Pawlik, Tony Ray, Leticia Salazar, Jerridine Silva, Catie Simpson, Jasmine Small-Armstrong, Amber Smith, Celine Soliz, Donald Tackett, Elizabeth Tackett.