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Senior Hall of Fame celebrates honorees’ accomplishments

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This year’s inductees into the Silver Horizons Senior Hall of Fame include people who have made invaluable contributions to aviation and tourism, athletics and sports, arts and culture and health care and social justice.

Despite their diversity of interests, they share a lifetime commitment to community service and philanthropy. All will have their portraits added to the Senior Hall of Fame gallery in the Convention Center, bringing to 117 the number of people honored in the past 30 years.

In addition, they will be celebrated at a Thursday fundraising dinner and silent auction to benefit the nonprofit Silver Horizons, which provides programs to help low-income seniors and seniors in crisis, and serves as an independent auxiliary organization to the city Department of Senior Affairs.

Silver Horizons
WHAT: 30th Annual Senior Hall of Fame Awards Dinner and silent auction
WHEN: 4-7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Albuquerque Marriott Pyramid North hotel, 5151 San Francisco NE
TICKETS: $40 each (tables of 10 are $400). Purchase by calling 505-514-7776, or by sending an email to lori@silver horizons.org. Major sponsors include Lovelace Medicare Plan and PNM.

This year’s honorees are Sid Cutter (posthumously lauded), Art Gardenswartz, Jane and Doug Swift, and Carol Tucker Trelease.

Sidney Dillon Cutter

Sid Cutter, who died last May at age 77, is the first posthumous inductee into the Senior Hall of Fame.

He attended Albuquerque High School and the University of New Mexico before joining the U.S. Air Force in 1955, where he flew jet fighters, helicopters and large cargo aircraft. He then helped run the family business, Cutter Flying Service, and subsequently started the World Balloon Corp. Cutter was instrumental in making the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta one of the biggest events of its kind in the world.

Cutter always encouraged employees of his businesses to set aside a portion of their paychecks for charitable donations, which were matched by the company and given to a host of local organizations.

Cutter donated his flying expertise to aid Angel Flights, transporting impoverished patients to medical facilities or ferrying doctors to remote parts of the state. He also used his hot air balloons to introduce school children to the joys of hot air ballooning and provided tethered rides at events to raise money for charities.

According to his wife, Jewell, “Sid was successful in life because his soul – the core of his being, was happy. He loved life. He had overwhelming enthusiasm and great passion for everything he did.”

Arthur Irwin Gardenswartz

An athlete, Art Gardenswartz ran track at Highland High School. In his senior year in 1960, he set a state record for the 440-yard dash, which stood for 39 years. He later attended the University of Arizona on a full athletic scholarship and graduated with a degree in business administration.

After working in the family sporting goods business for several years, he started Gardenswartz Sportz, which grew to seven locations and was eventually sold to Big 5 Sporting Goods in 1995.

Gardenswartz founded, managed and competed in the LeRoy Bearman Run to raise money for sports charities, as well as the J. Benson Triathlon, to raise money for the New Mexico Diabetes Association.

Gardenswartz and members of his family provided the seed money for the Ronald N. Gardenswartz Jewish Community Center, honoring a late cousin. He is president of the JCC, has been a lifelong member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Albuquerque, and a founder of Synaplex at his synagogue, Congregation B’nai Israel, educating members on blending spiritual, physical fitness and environmental awareness.

Gardenswartz, 70, also served or continues to serve on a number of boards of charitable organizations and fitness and health councils. He and his wife, Sonya, are members of the United Way Alexis de Tocqueville Society and make a substantial annual contribution to that charity.

“I’m humbled and pleased with the Senior Hall of Fame recognition,” Gardenswartz says. “I’ve accomplished some things in business and athletics and now I really enjoy working in the nonprofit sector and doing things for the community. It’s been extremely rewarding and I hope to do a lot more.”

Jane and Doug Swift

Beginning in the 1950s, while raising six children, Jane Swift, 83, was active in elementary through high school PTAs, while Doug Swift, 85, spent years as a scout master with the Boy Scouts of America.

The Swifts later served on the boards or were active members of cultural groups, including Opera Southwest, New Mexico Ballet Company, Albuquerque Arts Alliance, the Albuquerque Guild of the Santa Fe Opera and Arts Alive. In addition, they raised thousands of dollars for the Albuquerque Community Foundation Arts and Culture Endowment Fund.

They have also volunteered with civic groups promoting good government and good citizenship, such as the League of Women Voters Education Fund, the Albuquerque Urban Enhancement Trust Fund Committee and the Albuquerque Civic Plaza Artwork Planning Committee. They’ve also been longtime poll workers and volunteers at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Educational organizations and museum foundations benefitting from the Swifts’ spirit of volunteerism have included Habitat for Humanity, Bernalillo County PTA Clothing Bank for needy children and the Roadrunner Food Bank.

“It’s certainly a wonderful honor, and we’re very much surprised,” says Doug Swift. “We’ve been very involved with schools because educating the future leaders of our country is very important, while the arts are significant for quality of life. People who are exposed to arts in the schools generally perform better academically.”

Carol Tucker Trelease

Working on behalf of health care for women and issues related to social justice have been integral to Carol Tucker Trelease. For 23 years, she worked in a variety of positions for Planned Parenthood, eventually serving as its executive director/CEO for 18 years. In 1999 she was presented the Margaret Sanger Award.

Trelease has been active with the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John Church, where she served on the vestry, volunteers as a reader and usher and works in the pantry and the thrift store.

She is or has been on the boards of the League of Women Voters; Compassion and Choices, which promotes end-of-life policy issues; the ARCA Foundation in support of more than 600 developmentally disabled children and adults; La Vida Llena Full Life Foundation to provide help and resources for residents of that senior community; and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico. She was also a longtime Rotary Club member.

Trelease regularly hosts political fund raisers. She is a former Democratic Party Outstanding Woman of New Mexico as well as a former recipient of the YWCA Women on the Move Award.

“It seems crazy to be acknowledged for doing the things I love to do and that I would be doing anyway,” she says. “But I’m certainly grateful and honored, even if I don’t feel old enough to be a senior Hall of Famer. I’m just 69. A kid!”

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