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New Mexico humanitarians to be honored at awards ceremony

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Three people who have made our community better by providing school meals, accessible outdoor recreation for children with disabilities, and support to nonprofits will be honored at the 10th Annual New Mexico Humanitarian Awards to be held Saturday at Sandia Resort and Casino.

In addition, two others will receive the Harold B. Albert Community Service Award and the Common Good Investing Humanitarian Award.

The awards were created by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque to honor New Mexicans who have demonstrated an exemplary spirit of humanity and have selflessly devoted themselves to helping others.

The 2017 New Mexico Humanitarian Award Honorees are:

Jennifer Ramo

• Jennifer Ramo, executive director of New Mexico Appleseed, a nonprofit that advocates for policies and programs that enhance nutrition for New Mexico schoolchildren, improve education and fight poverty. Ramo championed new state laws that expanded federal free breakfast programs for New Mexico children, authorized classroom “breakfast after the bell” so more kids could eat a nutritious meal and established the nation’s first “lunch shaming” law, which is getting attention nationally and internationally. Her work positively affects 60,000 children annually.

Jennie Schulte Riedl

• Jennie Schulte Riedl, an artist with an unusual vision to create an Americans with Disabilities Act all-inclusive and easily accessible park in Rio Rancho. Her vision came to fruition in 2016 with the opening of A Park Above. The six-acre site features a sensory-rich environment of hills, tunnels, elevations and adaptive playground equipment designed to be therapeutic and offer children an opportunity to relax or practice motor skills. Schulte Riedl was also instrumental in building partnerships and raising the $2 million needed for the park, which also includes a water splash pad, exercise equipment and a separate dog park.

David R. Seely

• David R. Seely, who has been engaged in humanitarian work for decades through his leadership of Kirtland Federal Credit Union and his service to numerous nonprofit organizations, including United Way of Central New Mexico, the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce, Hadassah, Rotary, Explora and Roadrunner Food Bank. Seely has advocated on behalf of active-duty military and veterans’ causes, and most recently founded “Team Kirtland Home Away From Home” to support Air Force men and women on their first assignment in the military.

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The 2017 Harold B. Albert Community Service Award and Common Good Investing Humanitarian Award Honorees are:

Sonya Priestly and Art Gardenswartz

• Art Gardenswartz and Sonya Priestly, leaders in Jewish organizations who have set an outstanding example of philanthropy and community service. Gardenswartz has worked to improve the JCC and accelerate the growth of the Jewish Community Foundation, which now has pledged assets of nearly $10 million. Priestly has devoted years to children’s causes, and serves on the boards of United Way of Central New Mexico and Saranam (serving homeless families). The couple made the largest gift ever to United Way, donating the building that serves as its headquarters and freeing up operating costs that can now go toward United Way programs.

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