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NM ‘community angels’ honored at ceremony

Peter Trevisani, left, the owner and president of New Mexico United, recognizes his star player, Devon Sandoval, before they receive their Spirit of New Mexico awards during a ceremony at Sandia Resort & Casino. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A cross-country runner from Clovis who showed great sportsmanship, a budding country singer from Farmington, and the owner and star of the New Mexico United soccer team were among those honored at the Albuquerque Journal’s 2019 Spirit of New Mexico awards on Monday.

Established in 2009, the awards are given to people who boost New Mexico through sportsmanship, education, community and compassion, and who were written about in the pages of the Journal. The reporters who wrote the stories introduced the recipients and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham presented the awards.

“The breadth of what they’re doing in our state is really, truly remarkable,” Lujan Grisham said of this year’s recipients, who include retiring leaders leaving behind legacies at their respective institutions, and teenagers who have already inspired through their talents and actions.

Lujan Grisham called them “community angels” who inspire the rest of us.

“Thank you for making a difference,” she said.

Those 2019 Spirit of New Mexico awardees are:

• Peter Trevisani, the owner of New Mexico United, who had a hugely successful inaugural season. The team led the USL Championship league in attendance and Lujan Grisham was among those who donned the team’s yellow and black colors at the ceremony.

Journal columnist Joline Gutierrez Krueger, center right, congratulates 2019 Spirit of New Mexico award recipient Aalisha Bhatt during a ceremony on Monday. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham presented the awards. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

• Devon Sandoval, a star player for United and Albuquerque native who previously played at Eldorado High School and the University of New Mexico.

• Paul Roth, the chancellor of the UNM Health Sciences Center, who is retiring after four decades at UNM. He is considered a national trailblazer in that field of emergency medicine and is one of the longest-serving deans of any medical school.

• Kathie Winograd, the immediate past president of Central New Mexico Community College. She retired this year after 13 years as CNM president. Under her tenure, the community college in Albuquerque expanded in terms of students, employees, budget and other metrics.

• Aalisha Bhatt, an Albuquerque Academy student who started her own nonprofit, “Share My Fortune.” She started the charity when she was a freshman and it has already raised more than $46,000 to help children in need.

• Amy Neal, a social worker at the Veterans Affairs Hospital, and Joel Craig, the operations manager at the Animal Welfare Department, who teamed up to honor Vietnam War veteran John Vincent’s dying request: to see his beloved Yorkie, Patch, one last time. Also honored was Robert Candelaria, another Vietnam veteran, who adopted Patch.

• Jerrick Maldonado, a Clovis High School junior who finished second in the Class 5A state cross-country championship. Originally given the first-place award due to a computer error, Maldonado forfeited his first-place award after a video surfaced that showed Piedra Vista senior Triston Charles narrowly edged out Maldonado at the finish line.

• And Chevel Shepherd, the winner of NBC’s “The Voice.” Since winning the competition, the Farmington High School student has in the past year traveled the country opening for various country artists. She has also headlined several of her own shows.

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