2017 Community Asset Awards Event Is Jan. 13

Richard Ronquillo, right, and Miguel LaRoche take a break from creating a gate. They are also creating the 2017 Spirit of the West Award, which will be presented Jan. 13. Courtesy photo


Thirty-eight good souls who live or work in this community have been nominated for accolades at the 2017 Community Asset Awards. One of those 38 will take home the Spirit of the West Award, named in honor of former Los Alamos County Councilor Jim West.

Champions of Youth Ambitions (C’YA) will host the annual event Jan. 13. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase by the community, for the sweet fest recognizing the sweet contributions made in and around Los Alamos.

“We’re always so excited to highlight the efforts of people who may go unnoticed every day,” C’YA Executive Director Bernadette Lauritzen said.

The local nonprofit has found a home for their annual gala at the Betty Ehart Senior Center.

Those nominated only know they have been selected to receive recognition until the event takes place that evening. It is at this celebration that those gathered hear the heart-warming stories of contributions that resonate again and again. After their contributions are noted, they learn who sent in the nomination about them.

The final recipient of the evening is selected from all of the nominees to receive the Spirit of the West Award. Former County Councilor Jim West was the inspiration for the award, after a conversation between West and Lauritzen, before the first event celebrating contributions in 2008.

That year Los Alamos High School student Peter Song received the Spirit of the West Award. Song was nominated by a fellow student when he stepped up to help students struggling along their educational path.

As the Community Asset Awards evolved, the actual award evolved, too. It is now handcrafted by artist and welder Richard Ronquillo of Rich Welding, LLC. The former LANL employee is now retired and dedicated to his welding business fulltime.

“We are so blessed that Mr. Ronquillo takes the time to spotlight someone special,” Lauritzen said. “To have the actual award handcrafted by Rich feels like we honor Jim West even more. We are grateful to Mr. Ronquillo for his gracious gift.”

C’YA works in four areas:

Volunteering to teach science education in elementary schools in the community and the region;

Working with youth leadership;

Promoting youth; and

Coordinating the Community Asset Awards.

For more information, call 505.695.9139 or visit www.cya-nm.org.