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Editorial: Today’s honorees show Spirit of New Mexico

Some people just seem to have it in their DNA – that spirit of doing and giving, and making the world a better place. Five such people are being honored today as recipients of the 2013 Spirit of New Mexico awards at a luncheon where former Sen. Jeff Bingaman will speak.

The Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce and the Albuquerque Journal created the awards in 2009 to recognize individuals whose amazing stories were told in the newspaper. The reporters who wrote the stories present the awards. This year’s recipients are:

  • Margaret Keller, who took pet food and water to homeless people with pets and founded the ABQ chapter of Pets for the Homeless. Story by Charles D. Brunt.
  • Dr. Renee Ornelas, one of only two board-certified child abuse pediatricians in New Mexico, in 1994 founded the Para Los Niños clinic in Albuquerque. Story by Elaine Tassy.
  • Douglas Schneebeck, a former lawyer and top-ranked mountain biker, in 2010 was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He blogs about ALS and raises money for the cause through bike rides in which he continues to compete. Story by Leslie Linthicum.
  • Art Sena, a Vietnam veteran, tracked down and digitized the original 269 “Christmas Greetings” that families sent to members of the New Mexico National Guard “Tacos” serving in Vietnam in 1968. Story by Charles D. Brunt.
  • Mike Mechenbier is receiving the Spirit of New Mexico Harry E. Kinney Good Neighbor Award, named for a former mayor of Albuquerque. Mechenbier, a successful businessman and rancher, established El Ranchito de los Niños orphanage that allows children to grow up in a family farm setting and recover from their traumatic pasts. Story by Jessica Dyer.

Congratulations to all and heartfelt thanks from the community of New Mexicans.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.

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