Karyl Ann Armbruster Receives 2016 JFK Award

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján and Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, center, present longtime Democratic Party volunteer Karyl Ann Armbruster with the prestigeous JFK Recognition Award during Sunday’s annual JFK Dinner at the Betty Ehart Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Attendees at Sunday’s JFK Dinner give a standing ovation to Democratic Party volunteer Karyl Ann Armbruster honored during the evening for her years of dedicated service to the Party. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

 

By CAROL A. CLARK
Los Alamos Daily Post
 
Karyl Ann Armbruster of Los Alamos was honored as the recipient of the 2016 JFK Award for her years of dedicated service to the Democratic Party.

U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, Democratic Party State Chair Deb Haaland, Vice Chair Juan Sanchez and special guest speaker New Mexico House Democratic Leader Brian Egolf gathered with more than 100 people to honor Armbruster during the annual JFK Dinner Sunday at the Betty Ehart Center.

“Our 5th JFK Dinner was an overwhelming success,” said Chair Robyn Schultz of the Democratic Party of Los Alamos. “This year we hosted 120 guests to honor Karyl Ann Armbruster. Our guests raved about the delicious food from Blue Window and the inspiring keynote address by New Mexico House Democratic Leader Brian Egolf. And we all agreed that Karyl Ann is truly our hardest working volunteer. She deserved all the accolades (and the little bit of teasing) she received.”  

Last year’s recipient was U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman. This year, Luján and Garcia Richard presented the award to Armbruster and the back of the program for Sunday’s event addressed the many reasons she was selected to receive this prestigious award.

“If you want something done, ask a busy person” … that adage certainly applies to the 2016 honoree, Karyl Ann Armbruster.  

Armbruster was a teacher for 39 years, always in special education and for 33 years in middle school. She deserves more than an honor for that; she deserves a medal! She started in the days before the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed. Her first principals decided which kids would be allowed to get a public school education.

With her masters degree in learning disabilities, Armbruster  worked with a wide variety of students and brought compassion and a sense of fairness and social justice to her work.

When she began her teaching career she also began her life as a union member, first as an NEA member for 22 years, then AFT in Los Alamos. She spent many years as part of the contract negotiations team and six years as president of the local AFT.

Upon retirement from public education, Armbruster  became involved in the League of Women Voters of Los Alamos, where she is noted for planning the monthly Lunch with a Leader program, a popular event for League and community members. She also became involved in politics after retirement. She was asked to be the lead for Labor 2010 for AFT, where she joined with other unions to call and walk for labor-endorsed candidates.

 In 2010, Armbruster also met Stephanie Garcia Richard, then a young teacher running for the state legislature. Armbruster became involved in her first campaign, became her adopted “mom,” and has been one of Garcia Richard’s most devoted volunteers, knocking on hundreds of doors in each campaign and calling hundreds of people in her district.

In 2012, a fellow union member asked Armbruster  to run for the Public Education Commission. Although she never envisioned running for office herself and preferred to work for other candidates, she threw her hat in the ring and entered the race. Armbruster was elected and is currently running for another term. The PEC authorizes and oversees charter schools throughout the state, and she has thrown herself into her work as a commissioner with all the zeal she brings to everything she does.

Armbruster also is wife to Ken, mother to Courtney, and friend to many, many people in Los Alamos and around the country. She runs to help a friend in need. She supports Democratic causes such as social justice, improved education, fighting poverty, and humane treatment for animals. She has a wonderful sense of humor, a kind and generous spirit, and a marvelous sense of style.

Anyone who knows Karyl Ann Armbruster can be grateful that she is part of their life. She is truly deserving of this recognition.

 
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján thanks Karyl Ann Armstrong for her years of service to the Democratic Party. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard does some good natured roasting of 2016 JFK Award recipient Karyl Ann Armbruster at Sunday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Dist. 43 Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard tells the crowd how she and 2016 honoree Karyl Ann Armbruster met in 2010. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Songstress Amy Story of Los Alamos entertains the crowd with a comical song about honoree Karyl Ann Armbruster during Sunday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Chair Robyn Schultz of the Democratic Party of Los Alamos introduces honoree Karyl Ann Armbruster seated at center with her husband Ken and Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard Sunday at the Betty Ehart Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Karyl Ann Armbruster accepts the 2016 JFK Award at Sunday’s special event at the Betty Ehart Center. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
New Mexico House Democratic Leader Brian Egolf is the guest speker at Sunday’s JFK Dinner. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Carol Oppenheimer, Dr. Marvel Harrison, Dr. Tom Csanadi and Democratic Party State Vice Chair Juan Sanchez. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Valley Daily Post Publisher Eric Vasquez, center, speaks with New Mexico House Democratic Leader Brian Egolf and his wife Kelly at Sunday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Los Alamos School Board member Andrea Cunningham speaks with Tim O’Leary. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján speaks with Dr. Marvel Harrison and her daughter Sopahn Kellogg. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
New Mexico House Democratic Leader Brian Egolf, left, chats with Democratic Party State Chair Deb Haaland and Vice Chair Juan Sanchez. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair Susan O’Leary, left, speaks with Los Alamos County Clerk candidate Amy Woods. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 

Los Alamos County Councilor Pete Sheehey, left, is running for re-election in Tuesday’s primary. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

Kelly Egolf with her husband New Mexico House Democratic Leader Brian Egolf. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

County Council candidate Chris Chandler chats with Roland Caspersen. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com

District Attorney candidate Maria Sanchez-Gagne and her husband John Gagne. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Scene from Sunday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Los Alamos County Sheriff Marco Lucero and his wife Sandra Lucero. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
Anna and Roland Caspersen. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
County Council candidate Chris Chandler and her husband George Chandler. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
 
The Pajarito Brewpub serves beverages at Sunday’s event. Photo by Carol A. Clark/ladailypost.com
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