JCC will honor those who help community

People and businesses that are dedicated to health education, Native issues education, teaching history and preserving history are this year’s recipients of the 2018 New Mexico Humanitarian Award, the Harold B. Albert Community Service Award, and the Common Good Investing Humanitarian Award.

Presented annually by the Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque, the awards honor New Mexicans who have selflessly devoted themselves to helping others, while promoting and inspiring the pursuit of humanitarian goals, such as human welfare, care and compassion, social reform, philanthropy, and values-based investing in the community.

The New Mexico Humanitarian Award honorees are Regis Pecos, a lifelong resident of Cochiti Pueblo who has also served as lieutenant governor and governor of the pueblo; and doctors Robert W. Reidy and Arthur J. Weinstein, founders of Eye Associates of New Mexico.

Pecos, a proponent of compassionate governance and social justice, studied history and political science at Princeton and earned his master’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Pecos co-founded the Santa Fe Indian School Leadership Institute, a think tank for Native people. The institute’s mission is to create systemic change within tribal communities, establish a dialogue, and educate youth and community members on important policy issues facing Native Americans and their lands.

Pecos was also the longest-serving executive director of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, the first Native American elected to a New Mexico local school board, and the only Native American member appointed by the state Supreme Court to sit on the New Mexico Judicial Evaluation Commission.

Doctors Reidy and Weinstein in 1976 founded Eye Associates of New Mexico, which has evolved into one of the largest independent and comprehensive medical and surgical practices in the country.

Weinstein, a corneal specialist, spearheaded the group’s focus on subspecialty care that utilized Reidy’s expertise as the state’s first retinal specialist. Together, their ophthalmology and optometry services have profoundly affected the health, education and welfare of communities throughout the Southwest.

Eye Associates provided services in impoverished, rural and underserved areas. Early on, specialist and technical teams would bundle into a car and commute to communities in the far reaches of the state.

Eye Associates continues reaching out to communities through free screenings as well as working with the Lions Eye Bank.

University of New Mexico professor emeritus of history, Noel Pugach, is being honored with the Harold B. Albert Community Service Award.

He began teaching at UNM in 1968. At first, he taught U.S. foreign relations, then in the 1980s began teaching Jewish history and the Holocaust. A decade later, he began his research on pioneer Jews in New Mexico and published stories on the 17 pioneering Jewish families.

Pugach has devoted his life to the New Mexico Jewish community as a teacher and scholar. He was president of the Jewish Historical Society, taught adult education classes at Congregation Albert, and was one of the original members of Chavurat Hadmidbar, or “Fellowship of the Desert,” a group of families and individuals who perform services and celebrate Jewish lifecycle events without the structure of a congregation. Pugach is the author of more than a dozen scholarly articles and more than 60 book reviews.

Penny and Dr. Armin Rembe are this year’s recipients of the Common Good Investing Humanitarian Award for their preservation of the historic Los Poblanos Ranch and for cultivating a dynamic business dedicated to sustainable agriculture.

The Rembes moved to New Mexico many years ago when Dr. Rembe was working on his residency. He was one of the first medical oncologists in Albuquerque. When making house calls, Dr. Rembe became familiar with retablos and santos. He and his wife began collecting and extended their passion for art to a love of architecture, culture and land. They sponsored charitable fundraising efforts to promote and preserve New Mexico art and culture, and they helped to establish the Bosque School. The Rembes helped in the development of Accion, a project offering microloans to artisans, and have supported the Spanish Colonial Arts Museum and the Santa Fe Folk Art Museum.

In addition, Penny Rembe served as a UNM regent and on the board of the Anderson School of Business.

The Rembes purchased one half of the Los Poblanos property when it came up for sale in 1976, then purchased the second half in 1999, when it was under threat of being developed. The Rembes and their four children undertook a preservation plan to maintain the architecture, gardens and open farmland in perpetuity.

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