Los Alamos Daily Post photographer John McHale receives the Spirit of the West Award at the Community Assets Awards Gala Saturday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
By MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos Daily Post
Los Alamos Daily Post photographer John McHale received the Spirit of the West Award Saturday evening at the Community Assets Awards annual gala at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Thirty eight other people also were recognized for working to make Los Alamos or the state a little better through their efforts.
The Spirit of the West Award is named after former Los Alamos County Councilor Jim West. The event was sponsored by Community Youth Ambitions (C’YA) and emceed by C’YA Director Bernadette Lauritzen.
McHale, who came to Los Alamos in the 1960s, is the owner of Los Alamos Lock and Key. He was nominated for the award by his business partner Herman Manzanares. A former shop teacher for Los Alamos Public Schools, McHale has been involved in many facets of the community for more than 50 years but is most noted for his photography.
He has been recognized for his coverage of the Cerro Grande and Los Conchas fires, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and other high-profile events such as President Bill Clinton’s visit to Los Alamos, which he helped document. Prior to joining the Los Alamos Daily Post last year, McHale worked for the Los Alamos Monitor for many years.
Perhaps closest to the heart of the Los Alamos community has been McHale’s tireless coverage of local athletes. Often covering several events in one weekend, he has produced action photos, which have garnered the appreciation of people from all over the state.
Members of the Los Alamos Fire Department Wildland Fire Division also were honored for traveling to California to help families try to save their homes and possessions during record-breaking fires.
“They left behind their own wives, children and families to help others at the worst time of their lives with no regard for their own safety or comfort. They battled for days with little sleep and rest … they epitomize all that is best about making personal sacrifice. They truly deserve to be recognized,” their nomination stated.
Other award recipients included: Helen Boorman, Jacque Ciddio, Kathy Enloe, Barbara Evans, Elena Guerra, Laura Kendrick, Lyn Haval, Susan Heckethorn, Linda Johnson, Claire Swinhoe, Morris Abeyta, Alison Bailey, Lisabarthel, Ashley Becker, Steve Boerigter, Peggy Durbin, Linda Fox, Kim Granzow, Deborah Hofelz, Linda Hull, Nan Manzanares (posthumous), Robert and Melissa Metcalf, Florence Riebe, Kyla Roberts, Ted Romero, Timothy Rousculp, Charles Shay, Cheryl Sowder, Kenneth and Kimberly Thomas, Carlos Valdez and Amy and Rob Zimmerman.
Community Asset Award winners, from left, Los Alamos Daily Post photographer John McHale, Firefighter Brian Palmer, Driver-Engineer Van Leimer, Capt. Tim Johnson and Herman Manzanares who accepted a posthumous award for his mother, Nan Manzanares. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Community Asset Award winners Claire Swinhoe and LAFD Capt. Tim Johnson at Saturday evening’s awards gala. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Community Asset Award recipient Cheryl Sowder and Katie Thwaits chat at the awards gala Saturday evening. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Community Asset Award winner Florence Riebe and her husband Bruce at Saturday’s awards gala. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Spirit of the West Award recipient John McHale of the Los Alamos Daily Post, left, chats with Ted Romero and Nikki Strother. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Community Asset Award winners from Preceptor Beta, from left, Jacque Ciddio, Susan Heckethorn, Claire Swinhoe and Lyn Haval. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Community Asset Award winners, from left, Ted Romero, Lisabeth Barthel and Morris Abeyta. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Young Community Asset Award recipients are Kyla Roberts and Timothy Rousculp. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Champions of Youth Ambitions Director Bernadette Lauritzen announces Community Asset Award recipients Saturday evening at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Community Asset Award winners, from left, Carlos Valdez, Steve Boerigter, Charles Shay and Kim Granzow. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com
Community Asset Award winners, from left, Ashley Becker, Deborah Hofeltz and Florence Riebe. Photo by Maire O’Neill/ladailypost.com