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The new Hispano Chamber of Valencia County board was sworn in last week. Pictured, from left, are Edward Archuleta, Antonio Sedillo, past president; Fernando Sisneros, Shireen McDonald, Georgia Otero-Kirkham, Juliette Romero Benavidez, Penny Griego, president; Jeanne Lujan, treasurer; Jerry Moya, vice president; and Rita Garcia, secretary.  

LOS LUNAS—Working on creating economic development in the area by providing scholarships for an educated workforce, the Hispano Chamber of Valencia County honored those who have made a difference. 

At its annual installation luncheon last week, the new board was sworn in by Magistrate John Chavez. Penny Griego is the new chamber president, Jerry Moya is the vice president, Jeanne Lujan is the treasurer and Rita Garcia is the secretary.

Garcia was also chosen as the chamber’s Officer of the Year. Past-president Antonio Sedillo said Garcia has donated a lot of her time to the chamber and its annual “World’s Largest Matanza.”

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Rita Garcia, left, was named the Hispano Chamber of Valencia County’s Officer of the Year. She is pictured with HCVC president Penny Griego.

Jerry Moya was named Member of the Year, and Sedillo said he is being honored for his work in organizing the security for the annual matanza.

Moya, retired from Belen Schools, said he didn’t do it alone, saying he shares the honor with the Valencia County Sheriff’s Office, the Los Lunas Police Department, and the Valencia County and Belen fire departments.

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Jerry Montoya, of xxx, was presented with the Hispano Chamber of Valencia County’s Board Member of the Year award. Pictured with him is Penny Griego, the chamber’s new president.

“Without their help, I couldn’t do this job,” Moya said.

The chamber’s Business of the Year is AC Disposal, owned and operated by Charles Montoya, who was not at the luncheon.

“He has helped us in the past with disposal and we haven’t had to pay for it,” Sedillo said. “This year, he sponsored a team and went all out. He’s been a supporter of this event and everything we stand for several years.”

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AC Disposal was given the Business of the Year award last week at the Hispano Chamber of Valencia County installation luncheon. The owners, Joanne and Charles Montoya, operate the business from their Belen location.

Montoya said in a phone interview it was an honor for the company to receive the award.

“It’s a great organization and we’ve always participated with them in the matanza,” Charles Montoya said. “We’ve been helping them or donating our services to them for many years — ever since it was at the sheriff’s posse

“Last year was the first time we participated as a team and we won a couple of awards, and we’ll do it again next year.”

“Its an honor because we’re proud of the services we provide,” said Joanna Montoya, co-owner of AC Disposal. “We take pride in what we do.”

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The Small Business Development Center was awarded the chamber’s Non-Profit of the Year Award. Pictured, from left, are Penny Griego, chamber president; Chris Garcia, SBDC business advisor; and Wayne Abraham, SBDC director. 

The Small Business Development Center at UNM-Valenica was honored as the Non-Profit of the Year.

Griego said the chamber is grateful to the SBDC for what it’s done for the business community.

Chris Garcia, the SBDC business advisor, said he’s grateful for the award, saying he was one of the scholarship recipients in 2007.

Garcia was also given a special certificate of appreciation for helping the chamber with its website and social media.

Wayne Abraham, director of the SBDC, said it’s an honor to receive the award.

“It’s been an honor to serve this entire community of small businesses,” Abraham said. “When we see a need, that’s our mission is to help small business to succeed and grow.”

HCVC holds its “World’s Largest Matanza” each January as a way to raise money to provide college scholarships to Valencia County college students. To date, the event has raised more than $130,000 in scholarships and helped more than 200 students meet part of their financial needs.

Editor/Publisher

Clara Garcia is a native of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. She is the president of the New Mexico Newspaper Association, and is a member of the Pilot Club of Belen.

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