From left, Ron Malone, Bobbi Alcorn and Richard Kraft were honored as Silent Servants by The Historical Society and Foundation for Southwest New Mexico, Tuesday evening. (Mark Wilson Photo)
The Historical Society and Foundation for Southeast New Mexico honored three Silent Servants for their contributions to the community during the 31st annual Heritage Award Dinner, Tuesday, at the Civic Center.
Recognized for their dedicated service to youth in Roswell and the surrounding area, the honorees were longtime dance instructor Bobbi Alcorn, Assurance Home director Ron Malone and Leadership Roswell executive director Rick Kraft.
Historical Society administrative director Roger Burnett said the Society’s board of directors could not have chosen three better individuals to honor for their service to the community.
“We call them Silent Servants because they are silent, they go about their job without making a big deal about it,” Burnett said. “They were chosen for what they’ve done in the community, and basically, one of the things was that they haven’t had a lot of recognition. So it’s a good feeling to have the opportunity to recognize these people.
“I think everybody likes to be recognized. Some people crave it and they go out of their way to do things, but other people just go about doing their job and contributing to the community without expecting anything in return. I think these are three of those type of people.”
Malone, one of the founding members of the Assurance Home board of directors in 1975, worked as a drug abuse counselor, a mental health counselor and a social worker before becoming executive director in 1980. In 2007, Malone helped found the James Ranch Youth Shelter, a temporary shelter care program for children in crisis.
“The reason I’m being honored is because I get to run a program that is real successful, but the people who make our program successful are our kids,” Malone said. “I know a lot of people think that the adults and the Assurance Home do a lot for our kids, but I think that the reverse is also true, that our kids do a lot for us, and they inspire us, and they teach us how to lead our lives because they have come through such difficult times.
“… So they show the adults in this program how to get through difficult times. It’s a huge honor to work with these kids, and I know that’s really why I’m getting this award. They’re the ones who have made it all possible.”
Kraft has served as executive director of the Roswell Chamber’s Leadership Roswell program for 20 years and also serves on the Leadership Roswell Alumni Association board of directors. He has practiced law in Roswell for the past 30 years and is often called upon as a motivational speaker throughout New Mexico.
“As I look around the room, I see many other people who I think are more worthy of this than me. But I am honored that they have chosen to recognize me for this,” Kraft said. “I’ve enjoyed the students who have come through, and being able to work with them and help equip them to do great things in the days ahead.
“I came to Roswell 30 years ago, and I firmly believe that it’s the best place in the whole world to live. So what I’ve done, as many others here this evening have done, is just jumped into different activities and events, and helped to move the community forward. It’s volunteerism that makes that happen.”
Alcorn, whose lifelong love for dance helped her to overcome the hardships of the Great Depression, opened the Alcorn Academy of Dance in Roswell in 1961. She strived to teach her students not only how to dance but how to persevere in life. Alcorn is a past president of the Roswell Symphony Guild and past member of the Parent Advisory Council to the Roswell Independent School District. She continues to do volunteer work with the Eastern New Mexico Medical Center Auxiliary.
“I spent 42 years with my studio working with children, and they did every bit as much for me as I hope I did for them,” Alcorn said. “I simply felt that I had an ability to teach dance and had the privilege of doing so with this community.”
The Historical Society also presented Historical Museum volunteers Pat Burnett and Peggy Stokes with Outstanding Volunteer awards for their hard work and dedication to the museum.