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July 26, 2019 • A product of Herald/Review Media




Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. is proud to be the Presenting Sponsor for

179884 to the CLASS of 2019 Cochise College


Acacia Barnett Carla Buldrini Emily Duchon Cory East Niltza Flores Arleen Garcia Jay Hamwright Rachel Hudson Rosemary Kagwanja Kelsey Laggan Detric Miles

Nick Nation Sarah Pacheco Stefanie Peterson Meagan Rendon Emily Robles Kimberly Swope William Tardibuono Carolyn Umphrey Kristine Wolfe

ssvec.org 187430

Acacia Barnett



Arleen Garcia



Carla Buldrini

Jay Hamwright

Emily Duchon


Rachael Hudson


Corey East


Rosemary Kagwanja

4Carolyn Umphrey 12

Kelsey Laggan


Stefanie Peterson


Meagan Rendon


William Tardi-


Kristine Wolfe


Publisher: Jennifer Sorenson Advertising Manager: Kelsey Laggan Stories: Jamie Verwys, Alexis Ramanjulu, Dana Cole, Shar Porier, Brooke James, Lyda Longa, Tim Woods Photos: Mark Levy, provided Design: Bethany Strunk

Emily Robles



Nick Nation


Sarah Pacheco



Margaret Hepburn


Margery Brzowski


Ann Lund



Cal Downey

David Russell


Angelica Landry


Randy Sueskind


Editor: Tim Woods


Detric Miles

es ine om rn ea ey f th no ize Cit

A product of Herald/Review Media




Niltza Flores


Twenty Under 40 class of 2019






Name: Carolyn Umphrey Age: 36 Community she lives in: The West End Where does she work and what does she do: City council member and owner of Pups With Style What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “One of the things I enjoy most is how ecologically diverse this county is. To get a different feel, a different surrounding, you just take a short drive and it’s like being in a different state.”


What motivates her: Her love of the community and making it a place everyone loves and where her children can be proud of. Words to live by: “Trust, but verify” Who inspires her: “I find inspiration in people I interact with in my everyday life, regardless of age — My friends, my family, my co-workers — all have qualities and skills that inspire me.”



ocal dog groomer and councilwoman Carolyn Umphrey found her home in Sierra Vista’s West End after traveling all over with her husband. The pair originally came to the city in 2006 when her husband was stationed at Fort Huachuca and they made it their permanent home in 2008. “There’s so many different communities within one county here,” she said. “Culturally, we are very diverse and live in such close proximity to each other; that’s very special and unique to us.” “This is the longest I have lived anywhere consistently and it’s such an awesome feeling to be like I belong here, this is my home.” Umphrey is a dog groomer by trade, graduating from dog grooming school in 2006 and working at local Waggin’ Tails before starting her own business, Pups With Style in 2009. She said she began the business to continue her passion for dog grooming and spend more time with her children Liam and Lovey. “I only had a few people at first but word of mouth in Sierra Vista is all it took,” she said. “I kept cards of each customer and I remember before the end of that year I was making card 401; I was like oh my gosh I have over 400 steady clients.” Umphrey’s business is located in her home and she is not taking new clients, she is continuing to care for the ones she has. Though, she thinks it would be fun

to expand her business in the future. In 2018, she was elected to the Sierra Vista council where she is currently serving her term. She said she was driven to run for council after she had an experience protesting and felt like she needed to do more to make change happen. “I knew that if I was ever going to make change I was going to need to be on the other side of that fence doing the nitty gritty work,” she said. “Someone said why don’t you run for council and I said ‘it’s not really a good time for me’ and they said ‘it’s never going to be the perfect time.’” “I fell asleep thinking about that and I woke up before my alarm clock the following day because I was so excited to run.” Umphrey was nominated for Young Professional of the Year by three different people. Mayor Pro Tem Rachel Gray spoke to her campaign and the way she represents her constituents. “Carolyn is an excellent example of a community member who loves her community and walks the walk as well as talking the talk,” she said. “She is the epitome of someone who should be recognized for her continual advocacy.” Umphrey is motivated by the community and enjoys researching the city’s history and reading nonfictions that have information on a topic the council is discussing. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with family enjoying her city.



cacia Barnett used a tragedy to propel her business endeavors that have left an impact on youth and adults throughout Sierra Vista. “I think owning a business is in my bones,” Barnett said. “Everything that I do is because (of my grandparents) and what they did.” Barnett started Acacia B Brows & Beauty after her grandfather passed away in 2014. She started doing eyebrows in her grandmother’s garage despite having completed her degree in tourism from Arizona State University. She said she’s always had a passion for beauty and cosmetics and it was her grandfather who supported her in pursuing a career as an esthetician. After outgrowing her granny’s garage and a second space at West End Wellness, she decided to open her own brick and mortar. “Acacia has come so far with running her own business from starting out small doing her clients brows out of her garage to opening her own salon,” Brittani Mahr wrote in her nomination of Barnett. “She is an inspiration to small towns, showing how hard work pays off.” Two years ago Barnett opened Barnett Salon Suits for her business to blossom and help other beauticians.

“I want to give a space for people where they can be their own boss,” Barnett said. In addition to making the city beautiful on the outside Barnett is dedicated to helping young girls and women feel beautiful on the inside. She awards two scholarships to Buena graduate to help graduating seniors pursue their education because she sees the importance of it after being forced to go to college by her grandparents. In the summer Barnett hosts a girls camp that promotes body positivity and women empowerment to help young girls feel confident heading into the new school year. The first year she held the camp Barnett said she had 40 girls attend, this year — in her third year — she has 200 signed up. “Believe in yourself and chance your dream,” Barnett said when asked what advice she has for young girls. “I think everyone’s dreams deserve to be acknowledged.” Barnett’s latest venture is diving into the nonprofit world after receiving her 501(c)(3) for Hattie B Black Women in Progress, which is named after her grandmother. “I could be anywhere right now and I’m here,” she said. “I want to help this city grow.”

Name: Acacia Barnett Age: 29 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Barnett Salon Suits and Acacia B Brows & Beauty

What she does: Philanthropist What motivates her: Her late grandparents because they raised her to give back. Who inspires her: Her late grandparents. “Everything I do is because of them.”





Congratulations Jay Hamwright and Detric Miles

We appreciate the programs you provide and applaud the relationships you have developed supporting area youth.



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arla Buldrini has worked at the Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce for three years and every day is a new adventure. Her latest adventure includes being nominated for the Twenty Under 40 Class of 2019, which surprised her completely when she was informed by a Herald/Review reporter recently. Squealing with joy, Buldrini said: “Let me just take this in!” But Buldrini, the mother of a 10-year-old boy, is no stranger to last-minute anything since she organizes events from scratch at the Chamber. “I’ve always had a passion for marketing and communications,” Buldrini said. Buldrini was nominated for Twenty Under 40 by Chamber Director Jennifer Martin, who stated that Buldrini is remarkable because she has remained on the job when others have left after hitting the two-year mark. Martin also praised Buldrini for her self-effacing demeanor, saying Buldrini is one who will not take credit for a job well done. “She is truly the workhorse and heart of the organization,” Martin said of her employee. “She is quiet and lets others take the credit. To her, we are a team. Under Buldrini’s watch, attendance at Chamber events has increased, Martin said, because of Buldrini’s creativity on both social media and the Chamber’s weekly E-Blast messages, Martin said. True to Martin’s words, Buldrini was humble when interviewed for this article. She said simply that she loved her job and the people she works with.

FAST FACTS Name: Carla Buldrini Age: 34 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Communications and events coordinator Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “It’s a very calm community. It’s the perfect place to raise a kid.” What motivates her: “My family.” Words to live by: “Love is the answer to everything.” Who inspires you: My parents. They are hard workers and they have a lot of integrity.”





mily Duchon left a position as a politician’s assistant to pursue a more uplifting and peaceful career as a librarian, but while she found her desired environment at the Sierra Vista Public Library, her lifestyle keeps herself and the library far from becoming dull and complacent. Duchon describes that a lot of people “think we read all day, and that’s not what we do all day; I work on boring budget-type stuff a lot of the time… and because we’re so public we have our share of problems, too. There’s never a dull moment at the library. It seems like a peaceful, dull place, but there’s always something going on.” According to nominator Caulyne Barron, Duchon has made the library “a center of community outreach and engagement.” Duchon’s wide-ranging interests, creativity, and love for the community has enabled her to “think outside the box on what a library can be” and has made her invaluable in developing the library’s staff and programs. Duchon adds that her current staff also represent some of the best of the community and help her make it all happen, and Barron writes that those who work for her “have nothing but the most positive comments about her.” “As someone who was honored to be selected as one of the Twenty Under 40 last year, Emily is exactly the type of leader I would love to pass the torch to,”

wrote Barron. Duchon also makes sure that her life outside of work is full and active. Beyond the doors of the library, Duchon is dedicated to being involved in her community and making a positive local impact. She has served the area as the president of the local Rotary Club, helped develop and supports the Sky Island Summit Challenge, mentors and comfort children as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, and even started her own picnic company. Married earlier this year, Duchon explains that it can be tricky to find time to fit in all of her commitments and hobbies, but prioritizes finding joy wherever she can every day. “I love what I do for a living and it’s really important to me, but life happens outside of work. I try to fit things in that I love everyday: today, I went and swam on my lunch break at the Cove, or I’ll go for a walk in the park on a 15-minute break, at night I walk my dogs and make something for dinner I’ll enjoy.” While many who grew up here may not realize, Duchon moved here five years ago and thinks that Cochise County is “an understated gem.” “I really fell in love with [Sierra Vista] right away,” says Duchon. “It really is beautiful! And the job was a great job, and it all made me want to really give back to this community and be a part of it. I can see myself here in 30 years, so I want to be part of watching it grow and be familyfriendly and progressive.”

FAST FACTS Name: Emily Duchon Age: 37 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Sierra Vista Public Library, City of Sierra Vista What she does: Library Manager What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “My husband and I really like the outdoors, we have four rescue dogs and like hiking and camping; it’s perfect weather.” What motivates her: “I’m really internally motivated and like to outdo

myself. I like to do a good job and have things be well done and be able to look at it and know that I played a part in it.” Words to live by: “Consciously, creatively, caringly” is her 2019 yearly motto, which inspires her to be intentional. Who inspires her: Her mother, who was a public works director and one of the first women in the country to be in charge of a male-dominant parks and wastewater department. Nominated by: Caulyne Barron


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Name: Cory East



ince joining Sulphur Springs Valley Electric two years ago as the utility’s Agribusiness and Energy Management Specialist, Cory East works with multi-million dollar businesses that generate more than 20 percent of SSVEC’s revenue. At just 33, East carries an impressive resume. He has owned and operated two successful restaurants, followed by a dairy farm which he owned and operated for eight years. After selling C&D Dairy he started his current position with SSVEC. East was nominated as a Twenty under 40 candidate by Eric Petermann, who provided the following endorsement. “Cory has established himself as the primary contact at the utility for agribusinesses throughout Cochise County, meeting and exceeding the needs of a primary industry in the region. Cory is a great example of the best Cochise County has to offer.” Cory and his wife, Danielle, are the parents of four children — two girls and two boys — all are two years apart. Born and raised in Benson, Arizona, East is a 2004 Benson High School graduate. He grew up on a dairy farm in a family of seven. After graduating from high school, he earned an associates degree through Eastern Arizona College and finished his Bachelors at the University of Phoenix while working for SSVEC in business science. East says the greatest reward about his work at SSVEC is helping farming members manage their accounts and save money on their energy bills. “What other company helps their members buy less of their product?” he asked. “How cool is that? SSVEC has programs that help their members find ways to keep their energy consumption as low as possible.” East assists farmers by running rate analyses, sends them custom monthly reports, and organizes pump tests for them. “When I’m not working with our agribusiness members, I’m helping our residential and commercial members by providing free energy audits,” he said. Outside of work, East enjoys spending time with his

Age: 33 Community he lives in: Pomerene, Arizona (near Benson) Where he works and what he does: Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. as the Agribusiness and Energy Management Specialist. What he enjoys most about living, working and playing in Cochise County: “I was born and raised in Cochise County. My two favorite things about living here are the community and climate. I love living in a small community where you always see a familiar face around town. Our fantastic climate is the other thing I enjoy about living here. My family and I love the outdoors and we’re so fortunate to live in an area where we can go outside year round.” What motivates him: “My family is most definitely my biggest motivation. I have a beautiful wife and four wonderful kids that motivate me to be better each day.” Words to live by: “Now if you are going to win any battle, you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired.” — George S. Patton

family, playing sports, riding dirt bikes, and just being together. “I also love to coach youth football and baseball, which I have done on and off since I was in high school,” he said. I enjoy watching my own kids and the kids I coach develop skills and succeed. “Other than that, I’m like any other guy who enjoys sports, lifting weights, and this beautiful Arizona weather we have here year round.”

FAST FACTS Name: Niltza Flores Age: 32 Where do you live: Sierra Vista Where do you work: Cochise County Superior Court


What do you do: Acting Court Administrator – Works closely with Cochise County Superior Court and Justice Court Judicial Officers, court staff and local counterparts. Oversee all administrative functions for both Superior and Justice Courts. What do you enjoy most about living in Cochise County: I enjoy the community and the opportunities the county has to offer. Cochise County has many hidden treasures, that separate us from other counties. Growing up in Bisbee, you’re embedded in the history and art the town has to offer. What motivates you: My

two young boys are my daily motivation to be a better me, to keep striving for set goals, and having perseverance through it all. In addition, individuals who I work with throughout the county, motivate me to keep learning and evolving, in a way that I can become a better public servant. Who inspires you: My dad inspires me in the way that he immigrated from Mexico to the United States and had very little when he arrived. He began working from the moment he could and continues to work today. He worked hard to provide my sister and myself with many opportunities that were available to us. As a naturalized citizen today, he continues to work hard for goals and dreams that he has for my sister and myself. Words to live by: Carpe Diem (Seize the Day)

Who inspires him: “My father inspires me more than anyone. He is the most selfless, loving, strong, giving and kind individual I have ever met. He owned and operated a dairy farm for 30 plus years, working hard to give our family a great life. At the same time, he made sure he spent enough time with us to teach us important life lessons that made wonderful, fun memories. He is the kind of man and father I aspire to be.”



s the youngest Court Division Director in the state at 32 years old, Niltza Flores, now Cochise County interim court administrator, has shown her dedication to the people she serves in many ways over many years. Flores started working for the county court administration when she was just 16, a student at Bisbee High School. Over the next six years, she learned the workings of court and the process of law in a number of different positions. Flores interned for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Tucson as a financial investigator while in college. Two years ago, she came back to the county. Now, she hopes her interim position becomes permanent. “I would love to land the position. I enjoy criminal justice,” she said. “It’s exciting.”

Her current duties take her across the county, even up to Bowie, as she manages the non-judicial functions of the municipal justice courts. She handles budgets, grants and intergovernmental agreements. She also coordinates with elected officials, judges, county staff and the public. This past year, she implemented a new system for the justice courts to make work and communications more straight forward. A master’s degree in public administration will be added in November to her bachelor’s degree in justice administration. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, now. There were a lot of late nights studying,” she added. She also completed the county’s Certified Public Manager course. Law Day in May is her favorite interaction with the public and students. Each year,



rleen Garcia’s first job in Sierra Vista involved technology, but her true desire was to work with animals. When she learned that there was an opening with the city’s animal control department, she jumped at the opportunity and became an animal control officer. Her first day on the job in February 2008 was the same day the city opened its Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center. For the last six years, Garcia has been director of the center and she says it’s the place she hopes to retire from. Put simply, Garcia said she enjoys her work because, “I love animals.” She explained that her job is not without its challenges, however. “A lot of people think animal control officers are bad people because they see us as the ones who come and take an animal away,” Garcia said. She said her philosophy is to educate the “humans” who own the animals so they can become better pet owners. Her hope is that if there are any children in the household, they can learn too. “You can’t help an animal unless you

help their owner,” said Garcia, who was born in Puerto Rico. “What’s the good in taking the animal away? That person can just go and get another animal and they will not have learned the lesson.” And while working with animals is the joy of her life, there are some sad and trying moments at the Center, as well, especially when an animal is sick or has to be euthanized. It’s Garcia’s love of animals and her philosophy about humans that prompted Henry Diaz to nominate the 37-year-old Garcia for the Twenty Under 40 Class of 2019. “She has excellent delivery and representation of her department,” Diaz stated in his description of Garcia. Diaz also said Garcia has held numerous special events and spearheaded projects aimed at helping animal control operations. In her time at the center, Garcia has been behind the first spay-and-neuter clinic, as well as the One Paw At a Time program. Additionally, the center was expanded to include a small veterinary office and a playground, Garcia said.


FAST FACTS Name: Arleen Garcia Age: 37 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Supervisor/director Nancy J. Brua Animal Care Center What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “I feel tranquility here. I’ve met some wonderful people here.” What motivates her: “Besides my love for animals, I feel I can make a difference.

If not for a person, then for an animal. I’m also motivated by the people I work with. It’s not happy here everyday. We have some very sad situations. We support each other.” Words to live by: “Never underestimate animal instinct.” Who inspires her: “My sister. She is a command sergeant major in the Army. She was stationed at Fort Huachuca. She is incredible.”


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a theme is selected and students from kindergarten to twelfth grade throughout the county participate in the various writing and art contests. Another favorite is National Adoption Day, a celebration of children who find permanent homes with new parents held in November. “I was surprised to be nominated (for the 2019 Class),” she said. “It’s an awesome feeling and great recognition. I feel lucky to be nominated.”









ach day is different for Jay Hamwright despite having held the same position at the same place for multiple years now. Hamwright is the chief professional officer for the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista and has been for the last three years. “I love being able to give back and make a difference,” he said. “Especially with the same organization that helped shape me into who I am.” Growing up he attended the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista for roughly four years. Hamwright first moved to Cochise County more than two decades ago when his stepfather was stationed at Fort Huachuca. He graduated from Tombstone High School, but attended Buena High School for the first three years. He attended both Cochise College and the University of Arizona South, where he received education degrees. Hamwright decided to pursue degrees in education because he like working with kids. He said in his role with the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista he has a bit more freedom in how he can teach and have an impact on the kids he interacts with. “He’s so young in spirit that when he comes in, the whole room lights up,” said Detric Miles, a long time friend and employee of Hamwright. “He has a big heart and always wants to help people.” This is the second consecutive year Hamwright as been selected for the Herald/Review’s Twenty Under 40. “I think he deserves the honor because he is very ambitious,” Miles said. “The boys & girls club wouldn’t be where it is without Jay. With his guidance and leadership he has taken the boys & girls club to a whole new level.” Since the last time the Herald/Review spoke to Hamwright about being a top young professional in the community he has added more activities for the kids who attend the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista — including sports leagues — the club is receiving national attention and he welcomed his first child, Justin Morgan Hamwright. “I am very appreciative,” Hamwright said about being chosen for Twenty Under 40. “I love that I’m able to be recognized in this way, but like a lot of the people who have been nominated, we do what we do because we love it.”

FAST FACTS Name: Jay Hamwright Age: 31 Community he lives in: Sierra Vista Where he works: Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista What he does: Chief Professional Officer

What he enjoys most about living in Cochise County: How the community is willing to help those in need and the scenery What motivates him: The kids the club serves and his family Who inspires him: His mother because of the confidence and work ethic she instilled in him





he came to Bisbee two years ago as an advocate for Local First Arizona while in the AmeriCorpsVISTA program to help the business community realize the value in numerous ways in attracting city and area residents to a shop local campaign. Now, Rachael Hudson also staffs the Old Bisbee tourism center at the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum fielding questions from interested visitors who stop by for information and helps promote Bisbee as an overnight destination. She founded a non-profit called Solestad which teaches skills for sustainable living through land development. She also is a graphic and web

designer with Maude Viola. Hudson earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Georgia in Athens and moved to Bisbee in 2017. While in Athens, she began a non-profit which focused on providing homeless women with hygiene supplies on a monthly basis. She has five years of experience in nonprofit management and two years of design, marketing and website development experience. Hudson plans to continue her work in Cochise County focusing on marketing for rural businesses and nonprofits and working to establish the Solestad organization to provide community resources which focus on sustainable living.




hen Rosemary Kagwanja was 16 years old, she learned the value of caring for others. Kagwanja’s mother was a caregiver at a nursing facility in Kagwanja’s hometown of Tucson. At the time, the teen watched her mother care for and work with infirm, vulnerable people and it hit home with her. “Watching my mother help others made me a better caregiver,” said Kagwanja, who has a 4-year-old son and is also expecting a second child. Over the years, Kagwanja worked in several nursing homes and loved it. She excelled and was director of some of the facilities. In 2016, her husband encouraged her to take that passion and open her own business. At first, Kagwanja said the thought of opening her own place was daunting. “He [my husband] pushed me and told me I could do it,” Kagwanja said. “We opened in 2016 and it took about a year for us to get residents at the facility. We had to earn the community’s trust.” So far so good. Business associate Jim Munene nominated Kagwanja for Twenty Under 40 Class of 2019 because he said Kagwanja “exemplifies hard work in its best form.” “She started the company from nothing and through hard work and diligence, she has successfully turned JR Caring Hearts into one of the most trusted and most well-liked assisted living facilities in Sierra Vista and the greater Cochise County area,’ Munene stated.


KAGWANJA FAST FACTS Name: Rosemary Kagwanja Age: 33 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Owner/ director JR Caring Hearts LLC What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “It’s a very friendly town. Everybody knows everybody.” What motivates her: “My husband. He made the best out of me. He made me have this confidence.” Words to live by: “Hard work pays.” Who inspires you: “My mom.”

“Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.” – David Frost


187102 Indochine

FAST FACTS Name: Rachael Hudson Age: 24 Where do you live: Bisbee Where do you work: Local First Arizona Foundation, Maude Viola Marketing, and Solestad.

What do you enjoy most about living in Cochise County: The creative community of Bisbee and the natural surroundings.

We are proud to have you on our team!

What motivates you: Trying to improve the lives of everyone around me. Who inspires you: Nature Eng ag e. I nfor m. Enter ta in.

(520) 458-9440 | myheraldreview.com


Words to live by: Dream as if you’ll live forever, but live as if you’ll die tomorrow.


What do you do: I manage a nonprofit branch for Local First Arizona, social media manager for Maude Viola and director of marketing and development for Solestad.


FAST FACTS Name: Kelsey Laggan Age: 32 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Herald/ Review Media What she does: Multimedia Marketing Team Manager in charge of managing the sales team and various accounts; event-planning; community involvement; and helping with advertising. What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “I like that this community is so supportive of everyone in it— businesses, people, families. It’s a very close community.” Words to live by: “Hakuna Matata! No worries, focus on the good and if you always have a positive attitude, you’re going to get more positive results.” Who inspires her: Her husband.


Nominated by: Jennifer Sorenson


f there’s anything Kelsey Laggan has learned from a career with a fast pace and daily expectations that would overwhelm many, it’s that managing life is all about staying positive. As sales manager at the Herald/Review, Laggan spearheads the organization of many of the company’s annual events and manages the little things every day that ensure her sales and advertising teams can function smoothly. Jennifer Sorenson, the publisher at the newspaper, knows firsthand the environment Laggan works in and what it takes to succeed in such a role. “Working for a media company is not for everyone,” according to Sorenson. “The daily deadlines, need to multitask and adapt quickly takes strong leadership, a positive attitude, excellent communication skills and willingness to try, fail and learn quickly to lead to success.” Laggan embodies all these qualities, and in the demanding world of news media, has learned that, “No matter how hard things get, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t let it bring you down in a negative way.”

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Your dedication & focus on excellence is an inspiration!

It is not a challenge, however, for Laggan to keep up her bright example while working at a job she enjoys. Having always had an interest in advertising, when her husband’s job on Fort Huachuca brought them to Cochise County four years ago. She saw the opportunity to work for Herald/ Review Media, a job she’s been at for a year, as a great chance to be involved in the community. “I really appreciate being able to get out into the community more and meet more people, get to work with people to help grow their business,” she explains, “which in turn would grow Sierra Vista.” Besides loving the opportunity to impact and interact with individuals, Laggan has a specialty for event planning and says all the hard work leading up to events is rewarded by seeing the joy it brings to others. While Sorenson praises that Laggan’s “creativity, drive, and dedication” has provided “new ideas, positive energy and stability to our team,” Laggan is humbled by the honor of being recognized, “especially seeing the other award recipients and what they do for the community, to be considered on the same level as them.”





etric Miles has more motivation than simply wanting to be good at his job when it comes to his role with the Sierra Vista Boys & Girls Club—he is inspired to make every kid’s experience there as formative as his time at the same Club was for him. “My mom signed me and my brother and sister up as members when I was seven years old. So, I grew up in the Boys & Girls Club at a young age, right through my graduations from Tombstone High School,” explained Miles. “The staff had a big impact on my life and I wanted to stay and impact the community.” Miles began working as a regular staff member and his hard work and dedication to the kids has enabled him to reach his present role as a director of programming ten years later. Jay Hamwright, a colleague and close

friend of Miles, nominated Miles for his relentless work to make the Club a success. “Detric cares about the youth and gives them everything he has every day he comes to work. He focuses on delivering a high quality experience for our youth each day and impacting more youth each year,” wrote Hamwright in his nomination of Miles. Miles is always trying to improve the kids’ experience with the Club through implementing new and relevant educational programs and activities.“Since taking over as Club Director,” noted Hamwright, “Detric has added programs including STEM programs, a basketball league at no cost to youth, and an anti-bullying program called Be a Star!” Even more inspiring than Miles’s dedication to creating new and impactive programming is seeing the success and national recognition of the programs: the Sierra Vista Club was commended by Boys & Girls Club of of

America for the anti-bullying program, and two Sierra Vista members won the recent digital literacy Kids Foot Locker Challenge through one of the Club’s STEM projects. His commitment to community youth is further seen outside of the Club as Miles also volunteers as a youth flag football coach and at the Buena job fair and other school events. Miles says the most rewarding part of his work is connecting with the kids

and watching them grow into successful adults, and Hamwright acknowledges his role in many of the kids’ success: “Club alumni have credited their success to Detric and his role in their childhood,” he states. “It does have its challenges, but at the end of the day it’s about the kids,” according to Miles. “It’s like a thin line, you have to know how to be stern and the adult, but at the same time just let loose and have fun with the kids.”

FAST FACTS Name: Detric Miles Age: 31 Community he lives in: Sierra Vista What he does and where he works: Director at the Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista, in charge of supervising the staff and overseeing the programming. What he enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “I love Cochise County’s rugged beauty and how quiet it is. I like the rural setting, great outdoor opportunities. I also love the people here. We have awesome, caring people in this county.”

What motivates him: “The kids motivate me. I look forward to coming to work every day. Knowing that I have the potential to help kids improve their lives through the programs, activities, and mentoring the Boys & Girls Club offers is very rewarding.” Words to live by: “Life is a marathon, it’s not a race.” Who inspires him: Jay Hamwright, his supervisor and friend. “We’ve known each other as Boys & Girls Club members, went to Tombstone High School, and we both started working at the Club together.” Nominated by: Jay Hamwright


Margaret Hepburn

– Herman Cain


If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”


for being nominated for Citizen of the Year. Best wishes to you and all of this year’s nominees.




I FAST FACTS Name: Nicholas (Nick) Nation Age: 33 Community he lives in: Sierra Vista Where he works and what he does: Nation’s Floor Covering, LLC, main installer and helps with everything from customer service to office work. What he enjoys most about living in

Cochise County: The great weather and small community feel. What motivates him: “I enjoy doing what I do. I enjoy helping people out and putting beautiful flooring in their home and making them happy.” Who inspires him: His parents. Nominated by: Marilyn Nation


t’s no wonder that Nick Nation is a master at his craft—in fact, floor installation is almost a part of his blood. “I was pregnant with him when my husband and I were installing floors,” explained his mother Marilyn Nation, “so he’s really been doing it his whole life.” Born in Kentucky but moving with his family to the warmer climates of Arizona for his health as a child, Nation has always been involved in his parents’ business and is now the backbone of the local, family-run company. Nation describes that it felt natural to continue in the industry and in his family’s footsteps: “It’s what we’ve always done, and I’ve always wanted to be just like my dad.” A top graduate of the Carpet and Rug Industry, Nation is now a master installer and is qualified to install all types of floor coverings. “At 33 years of age he is considered one of the best in the industry,” describes Marilyn. “Master installer before the age of 30 is a huge achievement in this industry.” Not only is the Sierra Vista com-

munity privileged to have access to someone who is highly qualified and experienced in the trade, but to have someone who is as selfless, humble, and always willing to help the community as Nation. He has participated with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, and donates his own time and money to offer special assistance to veterans and widows in need. “I try to help out where I can and who I can,” he says, “because if I was in a similar situation I would hope someone would do the same for me.” He is driven by the joy of helping others and seeing a job well done, noting that the visual of seeing a house transformed is topped only by the appreciation shown by his customers. Looking forward, Nation is hoping to expand the business by using his expertise to train others. “He inspires me to push forward further than I might have otherwise to build a business to be proud of,” states Marilyn. “I’m sure Nick could run the business on his own, yet working with family is still important to him and building a sound, reputable business with our family name is a priority.”





ast year, when Sarah Pacheco was selected as the Herald/Review’s first-ever Young Professional of the Year, she received several nominations from friends and co-workers. A true testament to Pacheco’s impact on the Greater Sierra Vista community and the lives of the people she serves, she was nominated this year by Steve O’Neall, a local retiree who has never even met Pacheco. “(She) came to Sierra Vista in 2001 and pretty quickly identified a need to feed kids who may get a meal five days a week, but nothing on weekends,” O’Neall wrote in his nomination, referring to Pacheco’s work as founder and president of Peach’s Pantry, a local nonprofit that provides food on weekends to economically disadvantaged children who otherwise might go hungry. “I don’t know Sarah and have heard her speak once - about her passion, Peach’s Pantry,” O’Neall continued. “Anything else I know about her I read in the Herald when she was running for (Sierra Vista City) Council.” O’Neall is one of few strangers to the ubiquitous Pacheco, who serves on the city council after winning election last year, along with numerous boards throughout Southeast Arizona, and who continues to work alongside Peach’s Pantry’s many dedicated volunteers and staffers, all while doing freelance PR work, graphic and web design for her new company, Persici PR LLC. A lover of the outdoors who can be found hiking and exploring Cochise County’s many trails in her rare free moments, Pacheco says she is motivated by her four kids, who she is raising with her husband, Jake. “I try to teach them to show kindness and to give to their community without expecting anything in return,” she said. “When we work to better our community as a whole, everyone benefits, and we can create a better place for those that come along after we leave.” Juggling her parenting duties with a hectic schedule as a young

professional and city councilwoman is taxing, and Pacheco says she couldn’t manage it all without Jake’s support and inspiration. “Most of what I do does not bring any income to our household, but takes me away from family time just the same,” Pacheco said. “I am grateful to have a partner in life that supports my endeavors to build our community.”

anding the position as media relations and marketing director for Canyon Vista Medical Center was the stars aligning for Stefanie Peterson. Peterson and her family moved to Sierra Vista from Tucson in the fall of 2017 after her husband had a job opportunity in the area. It was at that time that she was contemplating staying with her previous employer or starting her next chapter. That’s when she found her current job at the hospital. “It was the stars aligning and showing me it was time to move on in the right direction,” Peterson said. “Marketing is such and exciting job. Seldomly are you ever bored.” Although her passion for marketing and helping Canyon Vista is evident when talking to Peterson she wasn’t always in the marketing field. It was while working as a staff reporter for a magazine while living in the United Arab Emirates she realized the excitement to the marketing realm and decided that’s what she wanted to pursue next.


Age: 35

What motivates her: Her passion to keep learning and striving for the next level.

Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Canyon Vista Medical Center What she does: Media Relations and Marketing

Who inspires her: All the great leaders she has encountered.

“Here I’ve become a hack of all trades marketer again,” Peterson said. “I love promoting my colleagues and the people I work with.” Peterson is originally from Alaska but decided to leave when presented with a full ride volleyball to the Citadel — the military college of South Carolina. Peterson said she wasn’t required to serve after graduating and recalls there being negative energy surround the campus because when she was there they had just starting to allow females to attend. “I knew I didn’t want to stay in Alaska. It’s a bit isolated up there,” she said. “A teacher doubted that I could handle going to a military school so I took it as a challenge.” Peterson likes that she can be behind the scenes and help recognize her peers. “She is amazing and many times behind the scenes letting others shine,” Linda Sandhu wrote in her nomination of Peterson. “From the chamber, to the base, education to the public and raising her family here, she is committed to make this city the best it can be.”

FAST FACTS Name: Sarah Pacheco Age: 36 Community you live in: Sierra Vista Where do you work and what do you do: I am currently self employed doing freelance Public Relations, graphic design, and web design with my new company Persici PR LLC. I also am a member of the Sierra Vista City Council, and am the founder and President of Peach’s Pantry. My community activities include: Commissioner on the Governor’s Commission for Service and Volunteerism, Board Member of the 1200 Club, Public Relations Chairman for Sierra Vista Rotary, Board member of the Sierra Vista Metropolitan Planning Organization, Board member of the Upper San Pedro Partnership. What do you enjoy most about living, working and playing in Cochise County: I love hiking our mountains and exploring our wilderness areas. I can often be found on the trails somewhere in our county on the weekends. I love the diversity of Cochise County. I have been fortunate to have worked in several positions that sent me county wide and I came to appreciate and enjoy the diverse populations that call Cochise County home. I also love our history! I really enjoy visiting our historic places and imagining what life was like in this area 150 years ago.

Thank You

for all that you do for Sierra Vista Rotary Club and Cochise County!

Words to live by: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” - Dr. Seuss, The Lorax Who inspires you: My husband Jake. He is an inspiring leader in his field and has been very supportive of my community work. Most of what I do does not bring any income to our household, but takes me away from family time just the same. I am grateful to have a partner in life that supports my endeavors to build our community.

(520) 335-1200 • 333 W Wilcox Dr suite 100, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635


What motivates you: My kids. I have always felt a duty to portray to my kids the kind of person I hope they will grow up to be, I try to teach them to show kindness and to give to their community without expecting anything in return. When we work to better our community as a whole, everyone benefits, and we can create a better place for those that come along after we leave.





Name: Stefanie Peterson









Age: 30


Community she lives in: Sierra Vista What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “I love that my kids can play outside and be safe. I love the close community that we have.”

What motivates her: “I love to make the community better. I push myself daily to get things done.” Words to live by: “Just keep swimming.” Who inspires her: “Every nurse I’ve ever worked with.”


eagan Rendon wants to go far in the medical field. And so far, the mother of two boys who says she carries her laptop everywhere so she can study, seems to be getting her wish. In the last five years, Rendon has risen from a certified nursing assistant to the assistant director of nursing at Life Care Sierra Vista. She is almost done with her bachelor’s in science degree in nursing. She was nominated for the Twenty Under 40 Class of 2019 by a colleague who talked about Rendon’s passion. “Meagan’s passion has always been in helping people,” said colleague Debi Steele. “It’s what inspired her to make nursing her career.” Indeed, Rendon loves the path she’s on. “I always did whatever I could to help people,” Rendon said. “I always wanted to get into the medical field.” At the moment, she holds an associate’s degree in nursing, as well as a certificate for licensed practicing nurse. But with the goal of finishing her bachelor’s degree in November, Rendon balances the life of a young mother with two sports-oriented boys, and her nursing career. She says she takes her laptop to her 12-year-old son’s baseball games in Tucson so she can study. Her youngest son, 8, practices karate. Rendon said both children are proud of her accomplishments. “I want to get my bachelor’s degree because that way I can apply to higher positions,” Rendon said. Steele, her colleague, said Rendon’s story is one of “dedication to her community, patients and family.”

FAST FACTS Name: Emily Robles Age: 27 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Sew Easy Sewing What she does: Store Manager, doing everything from bookkeeping, ordering, and scheduling to repairing and selling machines. What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “The people! They genuinely go out of their way to be nice and help you and they don’t even know you, and that’s very different from where I moved from.” What motivates her: Wanting to make her family proud and have fun at her job.


Name: Meagan Rendon

Words to live by: “Don’t let people tell you ‘no.’ If you want something, work hard and go for it. That’s really the only thing that matters, because if you don’t make it at least you can say you tried and did your best.” Who inspires her: “Family, and my grandmother in particular… When I helped her at her store this year, I realized, ‘We have a lot more in common than I thought!’ When she was younger, she didn’t want to learn how to sew, and was the same way I was. We both got onto this road of the love of sewing together. We both kind of followed the same path, just 40 years apart.” Nominated by: Sandra Mundt and Alvira Gates-Williams




hen a car accident put an end to her career path in film production, Emily Robles bounced back and found a new passion: sewing. Since opening Sew Easy Sewing in Sierra Vista in 2018, Robles has not only proven an adept businesswoman—having already expanded her store to three times its original size and won a Professional Women of Excellence Business of the Year award—but also a passionate force of good in the community. Robles came to Cochise County two years ago for her husband’s job, but lived in Sierra Vista as a kid and always wanted to come back. Glad to be near relatives again, she lists her family as a driving force in her life. Sew Easy Sewing was founded by her grandparents in Virginia almost 20 years ago, and Robles decided to bring the family business with her when she moved back to Arizona.

“I got here and I was a stay-at-home mom, and it got very boring for me. I told my mom that I wanted to learn to sew, but I didn’t have anyone to teach me or even have a machine, so she said, ‘Well, open a store and learn as you go.’” Intimidating as that sounds, Robles was no stranger to this form of hands-on learning: homeschooled until entering college at 16, her primary education was centered on experiential learning through attending events and exhibits. Robles’s hands-on approach also figures into her sewing classes at the shop, helping fulfill her mission of bringing back what she calls a “dying art.” Vera Gates-Williams, founder of a local chapter of Professional Women of Excellence, stated in her letter of recommendation that “Emily has found a niche here in the community that bridges not only seniors who



lthough she now uses her talents across the Cochise County community to help organizations with their marketing, Kimberly Swope almost didn’t pursue that career path. As a student at the University of Arizona, Swope was studying to be a nurse, but explains she didn’t enjoy the courses she had to take. “What’s the point of this if I was supposed to be going into this kind of career? I’m supposed to be loving what I’m doing.” However, having worked previously for the City of Sierra Vista doing sports and leisure programs, a colleague and friend from Sierra Vista also at the University of Arizona exposed Swope to her work Lowell-Stevens Football Facility and inspired Swope to switch to a communications degree. Since graduating and returning to Sierra Vista, Swope has spent two years working as Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator at Pueblo Del Sol Country Club. Originally from Oregon, Swope came to Sierra Vista for her father’s job with the Army when she was a freshman in college, around 2009. “I came back here wanting to leave right away, and then actually started working here and there was always an opportunity in this job that always stuck with me. It’s such a unique atmosphere… I think it’s really cool and I thought it would be great to get other people to find out about it, since I didn’t know about it when I lived here!” Her favorite part of working at PDS is the people: her boss, coworkers,

and the members all contribute to the environment. “It’s like a family here,” she says. Swope was nominated for Twenty Under 40 by Bonnie Marsh, who is a member of Pueblo Del Sol Country Club. Writes Marsh, “As a customer, I found that Kim was always on top of things. Her professionalism was evident.” Marsh explains that she is involved with the Women’s Golf Association, and appreciates that Swope is always willing to dedicate her time to help with their events. Swope has further dedicated her time and talents to helping with marketing for the Desert Fever Jazz Band and The Huachucans. She has also volunteered as a coach for Buena High School’s Powderpuff Football team at homecoming, and is on the Chamber of Commerce Networking at Noon Committee and helps with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Swope describes that she loves how willing the community is to make a difference. “I’ve met so many business owners that are so amazing. I love that we live in a place that’s so supportive of everything, it’s nice to know that people are going to be there for you.” “When you volunteer you meet good people, and it’s a really good feeling,” she continues. “At the end of the day, it’s not really about money, just whether or not you feel like you’ve accomplished something.” Swope is humbled to be honored alongside some of her local heroes and hopes to continue to help Sierra Vista grow.

FAST FACTS Name: Kimberly Swope Age: 24 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Pueblo Del Sol Country Club What she does: Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “The people are the most important part of Cochise County; homes

aren’t just a place, it’s the people that your there with.” She also loves the weather and the scenery. Who inspires and motivates her: “Other women who are powerful and doing really good things in their life, like role models.” Words to live by: “People will never forget how you made them feel.” —Maya Angelou Nominated by: Bonnie Marsh


do quilting, but has opened the door for anyone who wants to learn how to sew… I have enjoyed watching Emily as a young entrepreneur develop and be a force to be reckoned with in the business community.” In addition to expanding the sewing industry, Robles is dedicated to helping the whole community. Sandra Mundt, a business associate and friend who also nominated Robles, describes her as “a strong, determined young woman,” and that “she is always a cheery person to be around.” Robles participates in the Back to School Fair, hosts food drives, and does charity auctions of sewing machines to support Forgach House and veterans with PTSD. Robles realizes the reciprocal help that small businesses and a community can provide for each other: “If you have a strong community, then you can have a strong business. If you put good out, it comes back… I want to be a benefit to the community.” Robles plans to continue to help others grow and grow herself. “It’s fun, the people are really nice, and I’m always learning something new. People look at me as the expert, and I know a lot about machine operation and repair, but when it comes to little techniques and creative ways to put things together, I’m always learning something new and it’s great.”





18 FAST FACTS Name: William Tardibuono


Age: 26 Where do you live: Douglas Where do you work: Cochise County Superior Court What do you do: Dependency specialist What do you enjoy most about living in Cochise County: The pride our county has from each of their cities. Who motivates/ inspires you: My grandfather William Q. Owen is both the person who inspires and motivates me to be the best person I could be. At a young age, my grandfather instilled in me the role a man has to provide and take care of his family. Words to live by: From a great friend Chuck Hoyack, “Do Good and Be Good.” Those words not only allowed me to remember the great mentor he was, but gave me a foundation to build on. The words make you reflect on yourself, and make sure you were on the right path. Doing it not for the reward, but for the feel of accomplishment.



e has only been there since last August, but the Douglas native has already made an impression on the Cochise County Superior Court staff. William Tardibuono not only gives his heart on the job, but also in his off hours, if one could call them off hours. His volunteerism for the Douglas community since his teenage years was recognized and the Greater Douglas Chamber of Commerce honored him for his dedication. He was in sixth grade when the ferocious Hurricane Katrina leveled the coastline stretching from Louisiana to Florida in 2005. “I started a drive for clothing and toiletries to send to the people there. I just wanted to help them.” Agua Prieta children benefited from his drives for toys and food and seniors from his drives for hygienic supplies. Being brought up in a loving and supportive family and having an active church life gave him values as a child he still holds dear. This is clear in his dedication to the Douglas Relay for Life, the only 24-hour relay in the state, in which he has served in many capacities as an officer and volunteer. “I helped local organizations, my

church and volunteered for anything and everything. I have been a catechist teacher for eight years.” His previous employment with the Arizona Department of Corrections, Douglas Parks and Leisure Department and Southeastern Arizona Regional Hospital provided him with a variety of views of life and opportunities for volunteerism to help those in need. “Working with the Cochise County Youth Coalition in Douglas is important to me. These amazing youths were able to have our city change the tobacco purchasing age to 21.” Tardibuono serves as a religious education instructor, a Eucharist Minister and is a member of the Young Adults Group at church. On top of his work and volunteer life, he is attending Cochise College for an associate degree in business administration. His goal is to go to the University of Arizona South to further his business acumen and get a four-year degree. He likes his work at the county which includes data entry and scheduling families for hearings to reunite children with their parents, which is preferable, or with foster parents. “I see myself doing even more for the community in the future.”





ince being recognized in 2018, Kristine Wolfe has used the last year to let go of some of her responsibilities and focus on what is truly important to her. She has decided to spend more time raising money for the Susan G. Koman foundation after multiple family members were diagnosed with breast cancer. Her team has raised just over $15,000 of Wolfe’s $20,000 goal for the 60-mile walk in September. “I’m really proud of my team and everything that I’ve done,” Wolfe said. The owner of Hoppin’ Grapes Wine and Beer Bar moved to Sierra Vista in January 2013 due to her husband being stationed at Fort Huachuca and opened her West-End business in December of the same year. Although it may seem a risky venture, Wolfe and her husband knew he would be retiring and making Cochise County home for a while since the plan was to retire here. Wolfe decided to open Hoppin’ Grapes Wine and Beer Bar because the bar atmosphere she was looking for didn’t seem to exist in Sierra Vista. She told the Herald/Review she wanted a place where she could sit with a glass of wine and read a book. When her and her husband couldn’t find that place they decided to open their own. After establishing her business in town she decided to run for city council so she can help the community she’s grown to love.

“At the time it was difficult to open a business in Sierra Vista and I wanted to help make it easier for people, “ Wolfe said when asked why she wanted to become a council member. Now her sights are on seeing the area’s economy grow. “I want a better economic standing not only in Sierra Vista but in the county as well,” Wolfe said. “We need a bigger tax base.” Wolfe worked as a prosecutor and a defense attorney in the state of Virginia before moving to Sierra Vista. She admits she sometimes misses practicing law but keeps busy by helping out in the community. Outside of running her business and serving on Sierra Vista’s City Council, she volunteers as a member of the Rotary West organization and was a member of the West End Commission from 2014 to 2016. “Since moving to Sierra Vista in 2013, Ms. Wolfe’s contributions to the area continue to provide for a better community,” Eric Potvin wrote in his nomination of Wolfe.

FAST FACTS Name: Kristine Wolfe Age: 39 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista

County: “I like that Sierra Vista has everything I want, but still has a small town feel.”

Where she works: Hoppin’ Grapes Wine and Beer Bar

What motivates her: “I’m not sure, I like to get things done.”

What she does: Owner and Manager

Who inspires her: Her husband. “He is one of the most selfless people I’ve ever known.”

What she enjoys most about living in Cochise



MARGARET FAST FACTS Name: Margaret Hepburn Age: 70 Community she lives in: Sonoita What she does and where she works: CEO at Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona What she enjoys most about working in Cochise County: “The people; very special people that live here, and all the communities are different. Benson is different than Douglas, and Douglas is different than Sierra Vista, and Santa Cruz.” What motivates her: “Meeting our goals; our vision is to be the model for health and wellness and I think that motivates me to see us getting closer to that goal to do even more.”

Who inspires her: “Lots of people — the Legacy Foundation board inspires me, my coworkers, my husband, all in different ways. My grandchildren, when I see them growing up into adults, they inspire me.” Nominated by: Lanny Kope and Ruth Britton

native of Scotland, Margaret Hepburn had never heard of Sierra Vista, Arizona, before getting a job as the CEO at Sierra Vista Regional Health Center in 2005. According to Hepburn, her desire to help the most number of people motivated her career choices. “I always wanted to be a nurse when I was a child. I went into nursing and just progressed from nursing into CEO roles. The words I live by — ‘making a difference’ — that truly was why I always took a promotion. I thought I could impact more people and make a bigger difference by having a bigger job.” Though her own personal leadership and drive has rendered many important developments possible in the Sierra Vista area, Hepburn is a leader who primarily focuses on others. “She appreciates the needs of others, applauds their successes, listens to their concerns and celebrates their life events,” wrote Ruth Britton, a colleague of Hepburn, of Hepburn’s selfless personality. “She acknowledges people for their ideas and their tenacity in looking to improve the lives of others as well as their own lives.” With letters of recommendation on her behalf coming from the current, immediate past, and founding board chair of the Legacy Foundation of Southeast Arizona, it is easy to see that Hepburn’s natural approach of leading by example is part of what has made the Legacy Foundation so successful. Brian Barkdull, the current board chair, wrote: “It became clear to me early on that Margaret was a person of strong character and deep experience. But, more than this, I could see her innate passion for her community through her vast healthcare experiences. She truly does care.” He also notes that many of the contributions she makes to the foundation and overall community are not always realized due to Hepburn’s humble nature. As the six-year CEO of the Legacy Foundation, Hepburn has been a vital part of several major additions to the overall

welfare of Cochise County. According to one of her nominators, “Without her leadership, vision, and contributions to the welfare of Cochise County we would not have a new hospital, a new college campus, and a major philanthropic foundation.” These developments were all formed with the Legacy Foundation’s vision in mind: “That Cochise County and Eastern Santa Cruz will be the health and wellness model for the nation.To that end,” adds Hepburn, “I want to continue to collaborate with others to identify unmet health needs and design funding, education, and support strategies to meet those health needs.” Despite her influential involvement with large-scale projects such as the creation of Canyon Vista Medical Center, the conversion of the old hospital into the Cochise College Downtown Center (which houses the nursing and health science programs), and formation of the Legacy Foundation’s grant-giving body worth $60 million promoting community health, Hepburn is equally invested in any number of smaller endeavors that improve residents’ lives daily. Hepburn goes above and beyond in her leadership roles. She doesn’t merely point out problems, but finds innovative solutions; doesn’t only provide means for others to help themselves, but acts as a continuing mentor and guide. “Margaret hit the ground running by bringing a vision to the Board that opened our eyes to a future of so much more than granting money to local groups,” wrote founding Board Chair Ron Wagner. “Under her leadership, the Foundation has quickly become one of the most dynamic organizations in Cochise County supporting our most needy and deserving citizens through their ever-growing programs and outreach.” Hepburn continues to enjoy her work with the Legacy Foundation, especially interacting with local nonprofit organizations, and plans to stay settled and continue to help better the health and lifestyles of southeastern Arizona for as long as she can.


Words to live by: “Making a difference — every day.”








s a child, Margery Brzozowski was one of those kids who read under the sheets with a flashlight - she just couldn’t get enough of a good story. A few decades later, the 58-year-old Brzozowski is still surrounded by books and she does all she can to share that passion with the community. Nominated for the Citizen of the Year award, Brzozowski is the manager of the Friends of the Public Library bookstore in Sierra Vista, a nonprofit entity. “I’ve always been a book person,” Brzozowski said. “[Reading is] the thrill of being in another world. I remember reading under the covers with a flashlight.” Brzozowski says she likely got her love of books from her mother and grandmother. The former encouraged her to study library science and the latter helped out at a library. So she became a research and reference librarian at the university level with a master’s degree in library science. The former library director at Grand Canyon University, Brzozowski said that when she moved to Sierra Vista, her plan was to volunteer at a library or bookstore. Instead, she ended up working at Friends of the Public Library bookstore in 2008; she became bookstore manager in 2012. She explained the concept of a not-for-profit bookstore: books are donated by the public, then they’re resold to the community. The money goes back into the public library system. Brzozowski said less than 10 percent of the donations the bookstore receives actually come from the public library. Under her watch, the Friends of the Public Library bookstore is behind several literacy programs for the community, and participates in various events in the city. She also helped spearhead and design a new space for the bookstore to meet growth and started a Kid’s Room and a room for vintage books.

Yvonne J. Band nominated Brzozowski for the Citizen of the Year, saying, “Margery’s vision, devotion, creativity and leadership have created a unique haven for all who love the written word.” Bookstore volunteer Teresa Bowe, echoed the sentiment: “She never slows down. She is the engine behind the volunteers.” Asked why it’s important that people read, Brzozowski said it makes for a well-rounded individual. “[Reading] it helps with jobs, careers, being literate,” Brzozowski said. “It’s having a mind that’s more well-rounded.”

FAST FACTS Name: Margery Brzozowski Age: 58 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “We lived in Phoenix. It feels like country here. I just love it.” What motivates her: “People and the stories they have to tell. When you read, you always have more to offer.” Words to live by: “Words from the Bible.” Who inspires you: “Family and friends. They all contribute. They all have stories.”

ANGELICA FAST FACTS Name: Angelica Landry Age: 34


Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works and what she does: Adjunct instructor at Wayland Baptist University What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: The weather, wildlife and mountains What motivates her: “I love to learn, that’s something that really motivates me — learning and being able to put what I learned into practice.” Words to live by: “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson Who inspires her: Teachers



or Angelica Landry, the world of academia drew her in and fuels her passions in life. The first Hispanic female to graduate from Wayland Baptist University, the 34-year-old has always found inspiration in her teachers and instructors. Now, she gets to spend her time giving back and helping to guide students on their educational journeys. She is currently an adjunct instructor at the university and was previously the academic advisor programs coordinator. “I went to school with Wayland for my undergrad, grad and doctorate and being able to just be a part of the other side I really en-

joyed,” she said. “I love being able to see them (students) come in and maybe some of them are a little bit nervous about going back to school and then at the end I can see how much they’ve grown and how proud they are of themselves.” “I love the world of academia, I really do.” When Landry isn’t teaching, she spends her time out in the community volunteering, something she hopes to do even more of. She volunteers at the Good Neighbor Alliance where she is on call to cook food, is a board member at the Salvation Army where she also volunteers and also assists when she can at Hannah’s Hill Vineyard, a vineyard with sustainability practices she can stand behind.




hile many finish work every day and go home to find rest and quiet, Cal Downey uses his home as the hub of many of his community efforts. The founder of Diamond Oak Brewing Cooperative, Downey has turned his talents to work as a benefit a wide range of Cochise County residents. He explains that he is the main homebrewer in the group, and since it’s not legal to sell homebrews, they give their wares away as a platform for promoting local organizations. “Cal selflessly expends his own capital, time, and effort despite having a full-time job as a defense contractor on Fort Huachuca,” wrote nominator Ed Boyles. The cooperative, which Boyles describes as “a catalyst for community charity fundraising that is unparalleled in the local area,” hosts a large fundraiser drawing thousands of dollars for a local organization every few months. Downey also spearheads various events and activities for the programs his cooperative supports, often hosting them at his own home. Support has gone to, among others, exchange students through Sister Cities, the Sierra Vista Symphony Orchestra, the Women’s Council of Realtors scholarship fund, and Buena High School’s N.E.R.D.S. robotics team, who were able to go to the world championships with help of Diamond Oak’s fundraising efforts. One of the biggest contributions, however, is to Relay for Life, with Boyles writing that “Cal was the lead event coordina-

tor for the entire effort,” which raised a record amount for the American Cancer Society this year. “We have fun,” Downey says, “but everything we do is for a good cause.” Though Downey is passionate about constantly improving his local community, a wider patriotism was rooted in him from his boyhood and inspired him to pursue a military career. He credits this to his grandparents, who were from Holland. “They lived through the war, and after the war they moved to Canada, where I was born,” Downey explains. “Opa would tell us stories of how bad it was during the war, and just when us kids couldn’t take any more, he would end the story with, ‘and then the Americans came.’ When I moved to the United States in the mid-70s, I started getting those freedoms … I always wanted to be one of those Americans that came.” In all he does, Downey is a man who leads by example. “The big lesson I got as a civilian, particularly working with volunteers, is (to) do whatever you can as a leader to keep everyone on the team. If they walk away, somebody else is going to have to pick it up.” He recognizes that many residents here are willing to do good when given the chance, and takes it upon himself to give them as many chances as he can. “As long as you want to help and are willing to do something, something will happen,” he said. “That’s really why we’re so social



here. If I can get them to come out and drink a beer, I’ll bet they’ll come back later to help out in other ways. Little by little, you build an amazing team.” Despite his impactive role with many charities, Downey is very humble and was very surprised to learn of his nomination for Citizen of the Year. “We work hard, we try to do stuff for the community, and it’s just, wow. I’m almost embarrassed, because I didn’t do it for recognition, I did it because it needed to be done, everything that we do. The fact that somebody thought enough about that to nominate as Citizen of the Year — unexpected, but thanks!”

FAST FACTS Name: Cal Downey Age: 52 Community he lives in: Sierra Vista What he does and where he works: Contractor on Fort Huachuca as a requirements developer working with technology to improve the Army airplanes. What he enjoys most about living in Cochise County: All the community activities that he is able to be involved in. What motivates him: His father: “He was always looking for ways to give back and to do things for others. I’ve always wanted to be just like my dad.” Words to live by: “Under-judge, over-forgive.” Who inspires him: His father, as well as his son. Nominated by: Ed Boyles

188691 Legacy Landry is thankful for the people in her life who have been there to support her, lift her spirits and motivate her. “I feel like having a support system is a huge thing — surrounding yourself with good people, having a mentor because you’re not the first person to do anything,” she said. “There’s always someone there that can give you advice, that can lift you up when you’re in a bad place or doubting yourself.” Landry looks forward to doing more volunteer work and getting out into the community.


“I think everybody has something that they feel like they’re called to or that their drawn to and I think for me it’s anything that’s involved with food,” she said. “I feel like nobody should be hungry, everybody should have their basic needs met and hunger and food is one of the most basic needs.” Nominator Cal Downey highlighted her volunteering efforts and the guidance she provides to students. “Dr. Landry is already an amazing person and is continually looking for more opportunities to share her talent within our community,” he wrote.





ince retiring Ann Lund has devoted her time to giving back to people in need and school children in Sierra Vista. “It’s the right thing to do,” Lund said. “It’s a faith thing. I would be bored if I didn’t volunteer.” She spends four to six hours a week during the summer giving back to those in need as she volunteers her time to St. Vincent De Paul in the thrift store and in the food bank. When school is in session she spends even more time lending a helping hand. “Sierra Vista is blessed to have her,” Lisa Taj wrote in her nomination of Lund for Citizen of the Year. “Her time spent doing charitable deeds (are) endless. … She wants the best for everyone.” Each year she is a part of the group that puts together Buena High School’s project graduation and volunteers in different schools within the city. She started volunteering in schools in 2003 when she spent time at Carmichael Elementary to pass time. “I love kids,” Lund said. “They’re so fun and honest. They really appreciate the one-on-one time.” Lund and her late husband, Greg, moved to Sierra Vista from Fort Bragg, North Carolina where they each served three years in the U.S. Army. Greg accepted a job on Fort Huachuca which is what brought them here. Lund decided to join the Army after her and her husband graduated from law school in North Dakota because they were struggling to find jobs. They were part of the JAG Corps but after receiving their honorable discharge Lund practiced Law in a number of judicial roles in Cochise County, including the Pro Tem for over a decade. “She’s such a great example for my daughters, my sons and all citizens of Sierra Vista,” Taj wrote. “When you see Ann Lund out and about town know she is out supporting our community.”

FAST FACTS Name: Ann Lund Age: 63 Community she lives in: Sierra Vista Where she works: Retired What she likes about Cochise

FAST FACTS Name: David Russell Age: 35 Where do you live: Old Bisbee, AZ Where do you work: Bisbee Tourism Center—Bisbee Tour Company, The BTC Lofts, Element 29, Bisbee Hot N’ Spicy Retail & Eatery.


What do you do: Local Business Owner, Operations Director, Community Liaison for The BTC What do you enjoy most about living in Cochise County: I enjoy being able to travel just a short distance throughout the county to a truly unique experience that each town offers. What motivates you: I am really self-motivated to push the boundaries and achieve goals that I set whether working by myself or with a team. Currently, I am

motivated and supported by my team to do our best in developing a company that strives to provide the best overall experience possible when visiting our community. Who inspires you: I find myself to be inspired by so many individuals on a daily basis. It is important to remember that everyone has something to offer. The complexity of human interaction and engagement is what is really inspiring Words to live by: Failing is always an option... One you shouldn’t fear, but rather accept that sometimes in life, you have to fail hard in order to discover the things that will be a success for you. Change is inevitable and exciting, it is what we all do in order to grow as individuals. Without change, life would be very stagnant.

County: The weather, mountains and the people. What motivates her: She believes volunteering is the right thing to do. Who inspires her: Father and her late husband.




aking a go of it in today’s economy is a struggle for a new business, but not for David Russell, owner and operator of now–named Bisbee Tourism Center, an ever–evolving business incorporating tours, lodging, hot sauces, t-shirts, novelties, jewelry, rental bikes and soon, a late–night munchies delivery service. “I can’t believe what the business has morphed into,” he said, smiling. “One of my life goals was to own a restaurant. I can’t believe it’s happening.” From a meager start with two golf carts and a wooden shack in the parking lot by Copper Queen Publishing Company and a handful of tours and shuttles around Old Bisee, he has taken the Bisbee Tour Company to heights he

had only dreamed of in his imaginings. Just by chance, he stopped at a historic building right at the entrance to Old Bisbee while guiding a tour and saw the owner come out. He asked if they could tour the building and the owner agreed. “From the moment my foot hit the tile floor, I knew this place would be perfect,” he explained. “This is just what we need to expand the business.” Bisbee Tour Company was in the lodging business five weeks later after many round– the–clock days to get the necessary work done. “The goal was to open just before Pride Week,” he said. “We opened the day it started. Now, we have people who have booked our rooms for Pride Week years in advance. Russell became acquainted with Bisbee



eing a great citizen is as much about the constant, everyday interactions and willingness to help in a community as it is about creating more visibly influential projects. Randy Sueskind, currently a residential loan officer by trade, is one of those people who not only looks for big ways to be involved, but makes a difference through lending a hand when needed in little things and being a source of encouragement and support. Sueskind has moved around to many different locations and careers throughout his life, but his desire to help wherever he is situated has always been a constant. From restaurants to retail to marketing scenes, he describes that “the opportunity to help others in all of my career choices [has] been a theme.” Now with Guild Mortgage Company, he enjoys the opportunity to help others achieve the common dream of owning a home. Outside of work, Sueskind continues to be involved in opportunities that help him give back and help his community, believing that “you get out of life what you put into it.” “As long as I have known him, he has jumped into helping out and being a part of the action. [He is] always promoting Sierra Vista as a great place to live and work, and supports our military programs,” commented Elsie MacMillan, who nominated Sueskind to recognize him for his unheralded yet constant support of the Sierra Vista community. “He’s just your everyday guy, not looking to be on a pedestal.” Sueskind affirmed that sentiment, saying that it is “completely overwhelming” to be a nominee for Citizen of the Year. “I do what I do not because I want the recognition,” he commented, “but I was told that’s why I was nominated!” A member of the Rotary Club, Sueskind can be found helping out in unassuming but important ways, such as by participating as a regular all-night volunteer at Buena High School’s Project Graduation. “Randy is just one of those people if you ask for his help, he is always there,” wrote MacMillan. Susekind is also involved with many events and activities through the Sierra Vista Area Chamber of

emphasized. Though he thought he wanted to live above his business, he instead keeps a home on OK St. just 100 steps down the stairs to the door of the Bisbee Tourism Center. He employs 18 people during the high season and manages to keep around a dozen employed the rest of the year. His secret to maintaining a loyal workforce is they are encouraged to learn other parts of the business and are cross-trained in a variety of different jobs all under one roof. “One of the best feelings I had was when a lodger told me, ‘Now, I have another thing to love about Bisbee.’ You can’t beat that. “But, now I have another. Being nominated for the Citizen of the Year. It’s a really good feeling to be recognized for the work you do.”

FAST FACTS Name: Randy Sueskind Age: 53 Community he lives in: Sierra Vista Where he works: Guild Mortgage Co. What he does: Loan Officer of residential properties for families. What he enjoys most about living in Cochise County: “The community working together to

improve the quality of life for all residents.” What motivates him: His family, his friends, and the community. Words to live by: “Lead by example.” Who inspires him: “Ed Brown, my high school math teacher. He said, ‘It’s only hard if you make it hard.’” Nominated by: Elsie MacMillan


while stationed at Fort Huachuca in 2001. “Every chance I got, I hung out down here,” he laughed. “I loved it.” However, following a childhood dream to live along the California beaches, he chose to move there when his military obligations came to an end. “The beach wasn’t all I thought it would be, like in my dreams,” he admitted. “Every time I visited Bisbee, I felt like the mountains hugged me. It felt like home. So, seven years later I moved back.” He began a design firm and worked out of his home, but soon realized he was missing out on many opportunities the town had to offer, and on connecting with new people. He then wanted to do something for the community that welcomed him. “Once I got out there, I found out what a great town Bisbee is,” he

Commerce as a member of the Chamber of Commerce Volunteer Ambassadors, and has been a driving force behind the annual Fourth of July activities for about 10 years. Humble by nature, however, he is quick to acknowledge others’ work as well in making memorable community events: “[The Fourth of July events] are done by the Rotary Club, of which I’m a member. We do it in partnership with the city and Fort Huachuca, and I couldn’t even try to list all the organizations that help!” His willingness to stay out of the spotlight and be a part of the bigger picture aligns with his belief that it takes everybody working together to grow and improve a community. “If we’re all working together as a whole in the community, we can make the community grow and prosper, for businesses and individuals,” he explains. “Everybody has their own challenges and experiences and strengths; if we all work together it makes everybody better.”






LEADERSHIP READY, COMMUNITY FOCUSED You want to excel in your field while giving back to the community you love. The University of Arizona in Sierra Vista and Douglas offer the programs and support to help you do both. Together we can

Visit uas.arizona.edu or call to learn about degree programs for aspiring leaders like Organizational Leadership, Regional Commerce, Administration of Justice, and Government & Public Service.

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