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JULY 2020 A product of Herald/Review Media



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

to the CLASS of 2020


Kalani Alvarez Amanda Berger Morrisa Berkley Caleb Blaschke Donna Brown Carla Buldrini Saxony Eaton Tashina Freeman Leo Gutierrez Jerry Hursh

Kendra Kaiser Chris Leon Alan Manquero Josette Miranda Lisa Morales Jordyn Riggs Jairo Rocha Wesley Schofield Abram Umphrey Andrea Wood


Buldrini, 7

Kaiser, 10

Riggs, 13

Alvarez, 5

Berger, 5

Eaton, 8

Leon, 10

Rocha, 13

Freeman, 8

Berkley, 6

Gutierrez, 9

Manquero, 11

Schofield, 14

Miranda, 12

Umphrey, 14

Brown, 6

Hursh, 9

Morales, 12

Wood, 15

Munoz, 17

Benning, 18

Criscuolo, 18

Cutaia, 19

Farmer, 20

Garner, 20

Many Horses, 20

Phan, 21

Robles, 21

Rowley, 21

Rottweiler, 22

Souza, 22


Blaschke, 4




Welsh, 22

Publisher: Jennifer Sorenson Editor: Andrew Paxton Advertising Representatives: Kelsey Laggan, Maritzha Diaz, Jenica Lawson, Chelsea Schlarbaum, Alycia McCloud, Steve Reno, Tammy Dalton Writers: Dana Cole, Lyda Longa, Alexis Ramanjulu, Andrew Paxton, Shar Porier, Brooke Curley, Bruce Whetton MEDIA

Photos: Mark Levy, provided

A product of Herald/Review Media July 2020



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H Age: 33 Community he lives in: Willcox Where does he work and what does he do: City manager for the City of Willcox What he says he enjoys most about living in Cochise County: He likes the people. He grew up in Cochise County, his family is nearby and he knows the area. What motivates him: To see the benefits of improving the community for his family as well as other community members.


What are his words to live by: “When you are in the service of your fellow man, you are in the service of your God.” Who inspires him: His wife Jocelyn and local business owners who are willing to try to start a new business and keep it going in the tumultuous time of COVID-19.

aving attended Benson high school, Caleb Blaschke said he is happy to live in the Willcox area because he has family in Pomerene and he knows the communities well. Several of his ancestors explored areas of Cochise County, and he has roots in the region. One of the main reasons he moved the rural city of Willcox is so he could eventually coach his young children in sports. As the city manager, Blaschke said he loves to see the improvements in the quality of life he can help the community achieve. Blaschke was hired by The City of Willcox as the city manager in 2018. Before this he was an assistant to the Flagstaff city manager in 2017. From 2013 to 2017 he worked as a management assistant to the Bakersfield California city manager’s office. “One of the bigger motivating factors for me is providing a quality of life for my family and friends and residents. It helps me to do my job better,” said Blaschke. Blaschke said he views his occupation as a way to enhance the quality of life for others as well as his family. The knowledge that he can help others achieve a better quality of life helps drive him. “I love working on sidewalks, I love recreational facilities,” he said. “What I want my children to have is what I want the community to have. So when it comes to recreational amenities and moving things along, I want to have a wellbalanced quality of life here that seniors can appreciate and children can appreciate. So when it hits home, it impacts you even more and motivates you even more.”

Blaschke was nominated for Twenty Under 40 by four different people. In his nomination, Willcox Vice Mayor Tim Bowlby lauded Blaschke’s ability to bring the City of Willcox into the 21st century and see it thrive while being fiscally responsible. “Caleb Blaschke is a one-of-a-kind person who can talk with just about anyone. He possesses great leadership skills and is liked by all those who work for him and with him at the city,” said Bowlby. Blaschke said he is inspired by his wife because she works so hard to take care of their kids while he has to work. Service means a lot to him, and he said he likes to volunteer and serve other people. He is also inspired by local entrepreneurs and business owners within the community. He said he admires them for their bravery and willingness to start a business even in the uncertain times of COVID-19. Willcox business owner Cheryl Moss praised Blaschke’s influence within multiple projects by the city, including a shop local campaign, and the creation of general leadership meetings. Moss is on the board of the Willcox Chamber of Commerce, and said she was grateful for Blaschke’s assistance with the chamber. “The Chamber of Commerce was struggling but Caleb gave us so much help that we now are moving forward in a positive direction. I cannot express the liveliness that Caleb has brought to this community. With good leadership the qualities of others come out and shine,” wrote Moss in her nomination. “This is the leadership we as a community yearned for.”



After a while I started to want to find ways to help on my own.” Some of his first volunteer positions were with non-profit organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, Hearts and Hooves, and the Wounded Warrior Project. In 2014 Alverez took his first leadership role as an advisor for a local youth group; who he led in various out of town competitions. “That started giving me more interest in volunteering and then it just started from there,” he said. “I kept on bugging the City of Douglas, asking them if they needed help. Finally they started to notice me.” In 2018 he received special recognition from the City for his volunteer efforts. The Douglas native states his love for volunteering comes from his desire to lead, inspire, and give more to the people of his community. Alvarez previously stated that aside from his family, community leaders like William Tardibuono, Rosie Mendoza, former Douglas Mayor Robert Uribé and Jenea Sanchez have been major influences and supportive in all that he has done. “We need more people to get out and help,” he said. “If we all put in a little we can make our community a lot better for everyone.”



alani Alvarez of Douglas has been described as an extremely dedicated 22-year-old volunteer who has a passion for helping others. He has volunteered in numerous events across Arizona, donating his time in a variety of capacities all the while focusing on helping out at various local events such as the House of Hope Progressive Dinner, the City of Douglas Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, Heritage Relay for Life and the Arizona Art Worker Binational Performance. “He is a very hard-working and humble young man and has been volunteering for over 13 years in his community and other events, never gives up and is always willing to get back to the community,” said family friend Rosemary Pinedo who nominated Alvarez for the Twenty under 40 award. “He has a passion for helping people through his voluntary work around Arizona; always willing to give back to his community.” Alvarez states his passion for volunteering was initially encouraged and has since been supported by his family. “My mom has always given back to the House of Hope every Thanksgiving,” he said in an earlier interview with the Douglas Dispatch. “Then she started volunteering for me, telling people ‘Kalani will help you’.



Age: 22 Community he lives in: Douglas Where does he work and what does he do: Owns Alvarez Photography / avid volunteer What motivates him: He enjoys helping others and can be found volunteering at various events around Douglas and sometimes throughout the state. Who inspires him: His mom and family. “They have set the example for me to give back to the community I live in.”


Berger Name: Amanda Berger Age: 29 Where she works: Willcox Theater and Art. She is the accounts manager for theater. What is her favorite thing about Cochise County: It’s quiet and there are a lot of areas to explore the outdoors. What motivates her: “The desire to always do better.” Who inspires her: People who are passionate about what they do, and enjoy what they do.




lifelong resident of Willcox, Amanda Berger has worked at the Willcox Theater since 2017. She represents the theater and works as the outreach coordinator to other organizations such as the Northern Cochise Community Hospital and nonprofit Willcox Against Substance Abuse. Through the theater, she provides a variety of art activities to the hospital and the nonprofit group. “I’m really passionate about art. I feel it has a place everywhere and I like to encourage people to be artistic and creative where they never thought they could be,” said Berger. Berger is responsible for organizing and teaching the art series for the theater’s summer youth camp programs. A wife and mom, Berger also orchestrated the Willcox Theater and Arts’ inaugural youth art contest this year. She is also the head coach and assistant coach for T-Ball and head coach for Flag Cheerleading. Aside from her work with the theater, Berger is also on several community boards including the Wesleyan Preschool and Daycare and the Willcox Youth Cheer and Football League. “I like to inspire them (her students) to continue art outside of my classes,” said Berger. Her favorite medium is painting with acrylic paints, and she finds all her subject matter in the moment. She uses her art to portray emotions, and has a variety of subject matter depending on the day. “I like having an idea and being able to bring it to life,” said Berger. Berger has a certificate in graphic design from the School of Professional Design. Last year she received the Maggie Richardson Award for photography at the Willcox Art Show. Berger uses her skills and education in art and graphic design to create all of the visual arts programming for Willcox Theater and Arts, including painting drawing and crafts instruction.






Age: 32

Where do you live: Sierra Vista Where do you work: Love One, Inc.


What do you do: We run programs that reach out to vulnerable youth in Cochise County. We host training programs for organizations, students on human parents on human trafficking and healthy relationships.

orrisa Berkley has a special calling and that calling is helping children who end up in difficult and sometimes horrendous situations. It is why she began Love One, Inc., with the motto: One person can make a difference of the life in one orphan. She says she was called by Jesus Christ who “spoke to her heart through a series of miraculous events. “I felt very underqualified, and yet, He showed me signs that confirmed my calling,” she said. Now, she and her organization advocate for orphans around the world, draw awareness in the community to the orphan crisis that surrounds it, aid those interested in fostering or adopting and supporting adoptive and foster care families. “The things I’ve witnessed in foreign countries and here in America have motivated me to be aware of the pain and darkness in our own backyard.” Berkley looks beyond that darkness with the help of her relationship with Jesus. “He is my friend, my partner and I desire to see His kingdom come on earth. He keeps me motivated through the most challenging of times.” The people and children who are survivors of exploitation or human trafficking provide her with incentive to stay the course. “The way they face their lives in the midst

What do you like best about living in Cochise County: The beautiful views of the mountains, the culture of the people. What motivates you: Pain. For example, when I hear about kids being exposed to pornography in schools or about being deceived by someone entrusted to protect them. Who inspires you: My husband Joshua as I see how hard he works in pursuit of his dreams. It has inspired me to believe I could accomplish my dreams. Words to live by: “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” William Wilberforce

of their difficult circumstances and instead of giving up have pushed through and accomplished great things,” she added. “They have my utmost respect.” She also finds inspiration from her husband Joshua and the way he leads his team and adds to value of people on a daily basis. His actions encourage her to do the same. Berkley has been an advocate for at-risk youth in the community since 2012 when she started community outreach to build awareness of the problems. Then in 2014, Love One, Inc., began an afterschool outreach program for vulnerable youth. Just last December, she decided to make things official and applied for non-profit status in the state. Rewards come in waves as relationships are built between the children and youth and her and her team. Getting to see that “light bulb switch turn on when they learn to value themselves and understand there are people who genuinely care about them with no strings attached.” Joshua noted in his nomination of her, “Morrisa has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met. She and her team help those most vulnerable with education and eliminating human trafficking. She has successfully caused, mostly under the radar, the stop of several trafficking incidents and has provided several classes to the community on what to look for.





onna Brown worked her way up, starting as an intern and becoming the media coordinator for the Sierra Vista Area Chamber near the end of 2019 and she continues to preserve through the pandemic to assist young professionals and work on major committees, her nominator and employer told Herald/Review. “Donna is always ready with new ideas and input,” Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce chief executive officer Melany EdwardsBarton. “Attitude is everything and her positive attitude makes all of this possible.” Brown said she is honored to be nominated for Twenty under 40 and hopes to continue the work she has started with the Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a lot to take in, and I am so grateful to the team I work with at the Chamber,” she said. “We put in a lot of hard work but it is always rewarding.” Brown is an integral part of the Chamber’s committees, working alongside soldiers and veterans, future leaders, event organizers, small business owners, and legislatures, Edwards-Barton said. “While the Chamber is also struggling right now and has

decreased staffing and hours, Donna has met that challenge head-on as well,” Brown’s employer said. “She is always ready and willing to try new ideas, create new marketing materials, and brainstorm options.” After the outbreak of COVID-19, the Chamber of Commerce underwent new standards and practices to accommodate their staff, a change made possible by the media coordinator. “Due to Donna’s experience and her equipment we were able to start communicating with our members and the community through increased social media with regular Facebook Lives, and a new Facebook group she created for the businesses in the community,” said EdwardsBarton. “She has increased our online presence dramatically.” Brown’s efforts helped many in the community, her nominator shared with Herald/Review, and her creativity and compassion provided vital information for small businesses in the community. “This information has helped countless businesses survive during this pandemic,” her nominator said. “She also helps our Chamber members create or improve their own marketing material to better support their mission and needs.”

Age: 23


Where do you live: Sierra Vista, AZ Where do you work: Sierra Vista Area Chamber of Commerce What do you do: I am the Media Coordinator. I handle the marketing, design and social media for the chamber. What do you enjoy most about living in Cochise County: The weather. I love our monsoons, and I love not being cold. What motivates you: I am motivated by opportunities to learn new things! To me, learning is like receiving a gift, you have this new knowledge or skill and it’s yours now. Who inspires you: Melany Edwards-Barton, It may sound cheesy to say that but it is true! She is an incredible Woman and I am inspired by her everyday! Words to live by: “I am not throwing away my shot.” I have been listening to the Musical Hamilton on repeat since I saw the show in New York and it’s one of the lines I really identify with. Just take every opportunity that comes at you and giving it everything you’ve got.



Buldrini T

hough the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed some business down, Sierra Vista Chamber of Commerce communications and event director Carla Buldrini decided she would figure out a way to keep the members talking and networking through virtual meetings. According to Melanie Edwards-Barton, chamber CEO, Buldrini stepped up and found a workable virtual platform to be able to keep the networking pleasure and closeness of the members and board. Edwards-Barton said, “Networking is vital to our Chamber members and the Age: 35 community, but the previous networking events could not be done in the same Where do you live: way. Carla is a vital link that brings the Sierra Vista community together.” Where do you work: When the pandemic hit, Buldrini, who Sierra Vista Area is also the chamber’s webmaster, created an Chamber of Commerce additional page on their website specifically for COVID-19 updates and resources. The What do you do: page is constantly updated. Communications and She provides links for businesses to Events Director. I acquire accurate information and to obtain manage communications assistance. She also assists in scheduling strategies to members relevant speakers for the Chamber’s and the community Facebook Live sessions that provide through our marketing additional information to the community. channels and organize Buldrini said, “We just had to adapt Chamber events. our events and projects in order to keep What do you enjoy most supporting our members. Digital marketing, about living in Cochise ecommerce and virtual events are some County: It’s a very calm examples.” and safe community. She also collaborates with chamber Love the weather too! committees to coordinate and ensure What motivates you: success of each committee’s events as well. My family. Those committees include our Military Affairs Committee (Soldiers and Veterans), Who inspires you: Small Business Committee (Shop Local), My parents. Leadership Committee (our future leaders), Words to live by: Don’t Business Advocacy Committee (legislative), complain, just work Events Task Force Committee (all Chamber harder! events), and our young professionals committee (upcoming leaders). Her tireless work creates a successful connection between the Chamber, the community, and Fort Huachuca. Her work touches a myriad of target markets throughout the community. “Helping businesses thrive is the most fun,” Buldrini said. Buldrini was in last year’s class of Twenty Under 40 and said of her 2020 nomination, “I’m deeply honored to have been nominated again this year among so many outstanding young professionals. I feel very grateful to be part of the chamber and this community.”






axony Eaton is described as one of those supervisors who makes work an enjoyable experience. So it was no surprise to her staff that Eaton - who is head of the record division at Sierra Vista Police Department - was named Supervisor of the Year recently. Her most recent honor though, is being nominated for the Herald/ Review’s Twenty Under 40 by Commander Christopher Hiser, Eaton’s boss at the agency. Hiser described Eaton as a “servant leader” who has earned the respect of her subordinates. “As a leader, Saxony gets the big picture on where her section falls within the mission of the Sierra Vista Police Department,” Hiser said. “She has taken the initiative to contribute toward organizational goals. Examples of such goals include cross-training clerks in different assignments and preparing staff for a major transition in crime-reporting from UCR to NIBRS.” A letter written by one of Eaton’s employees summed up Eaton’s supervisory style and what it’s like to work for her. “If someone makes a mistake, she never belittles you, but is always approachable and makes time to help

all of us despite whatever workload she might have,” the employee wrote. Eaton, started with the police department almost 14 years ago, Hiser said, her first job as a 9-1-1 dispatcher. She was calm and reacted quickly to emergencies, Hiser said and was promoted to Public Safety Dispatcher II. In 2017 she switched roles and started working for the department’s records division, Hiser said. Because of her work ethic, she was soon promoted and now supervises six full-time and two part-time records clerks. Hiser said he has seen several supervisors and leadership styles during his time at the police department. He said Eaton is influential and “not afraid to tackle a big problem.” “She makes my job easy,” Hiser added. Eaton said she is humbled to have been nominated for Twenty Under 40. “Wow I am truly surprised and feel so honored to have been nominated,” Eaton said. “I am so grateful to have been able to serve our community over the last 14 years. I’ve always strived to make a difference for the city that I love and am very proud to have made my career in support of law enforcement. I work with some of our city’s very best people.”




Name: Saxony Eaton Where she lives: Sierra Vista Job: Sierra Vista Police Records Supervisor Nominated by: Christopher Hiser





FAST FACTS Name: Tashina Freeman

Where she lives: Sierra Vista Job: Owner of McDonald’s in Douglas Nominated by: LeAnn Richards Freeman was also part of the 2018 Twenty Under 40 class

efore she purchased her own McDonald’s eatery, Tashina Freeman helped a company with 12 restaurants transition to digital operations, a fellow colleague said. That colleague, Freeman’s mother LeAnn Richards, has nominated Freeman for the Herald/Review’s Twenty Under 40. Richards, who owns a handful of McDonald’s restaurants in the area under the company Patann Inc., said the organization Freeman guided was operating in seven, geographically challenged communities. Because Freeman helped the eatery owners and their employees transition into digital operations before the aggressive arrival of COVID-19, they were able to shoulder the pandemic more efficiently, Richards said. “That foresight allowed the organization to not even blink when the coronavirus crisis hit and the digital world became the basic foundation for business communications and leadership,” Richards said of her daughter. “Her organization was already embracing that technology and seamlessly continued the digital evolution.” Richards said Freeman, who also works for Patann, “quickly rose through the ranks to be able to purchase her own McDonald’s in Douglas.” Richards also touted Freeman’s ability to help her employees grow. “She is willing to give up her time to spend growing and developing the people who work for her into community leaders who impact the lives of all they work with and the communities where they choose to live,” Richards said of Freeman. Freeman said she enjoys helping others. “I love what I do and giving back to my community is a huge part of that,” Freeman said. “My goal is to grow business leaders who contribute to our community and grow a profitable business. Without the right leaders I would not be able to be involved in the community. I am greatly appreciative of my people and the effort they put forth not only in the business, but their personal lives and the lives of the people who work for them and the community we do business in.”


Gutierrez FAST FACTS


Age: 22 Community he lives in: Douglas Where does he work and what does he do: Owner Power Zone Gym, Realtor for Douglas Realty Group, active member Douglas Business Network. What motivates him: Is seeing Douglas grow and prosper. Who inspires him: Gadsden Hotel owners Florencio and Anel Lopez, and his family.

eo Gutierrez of Douglas is described by those who know him as a young entrepreneur who is very involved and committed to doing all that he can to help make the community a better place to live. In November 2017 he and his family stepped up and prevented a local business from closing, becoming the new owners of the Power Zone Gym on G Avenue. The locally owned gym has taken a hit here lately however being forced to close twice due the COVID-19 pandemic. “It’s been fun being a business owner in Douglas,” Leo said. “Our goal now is to survive this recent closure by Gov. Ducey and reopen once the restrictions are lifted.” Gutierrez, a Douglas native, is also a realtor for the Douglas Realty Group and is an active member of the Dougals Business Network. He and his family also own several rental properties in Douglas. “Being part of the community means giving back,” he said. “That’s

what I try to do. I enjoy helping people.” Gutierrez said his inspiration for giving back came from Florencio and Anel Lopez who, a year before he and his family purchased Power Zone, stepped forward and purchased the Gadsden Hotel. “That place was being looked at by some out of town buyers,” he said. “Florencio and Anel stepped up and bought it. They didn’t have to but they did it to keep Douglas going and not lose the Gadsden. That move inspired myself and my family. I’ve always admired the courage it took to make that purchase.” “Leo has been very supportive of the DBN since we first started,” his friend of three-years Ralph Robles said. “He’s always willing to help out whenever we need him. He, like me, wants to see Douglas grow and prosper.” As Organizer of the DBN Leo has showed great support for the group when needed from Ribbon Cuttings to Networking Mixers.




Hursh A

FAST FACTS Name: Gerald Hursh

Lives in: Sierra Vista Work: Huachuca City Animal Control Officer Nominated by: Rose Phillips


s an animal control officer for Huachuca City, Gerald Hursh is dedicated to serving the community and those who don’t have voices. “It is an honor to be nominated by the community that I serve and swore to protect the animals for,” Hursh said. “Now a full time animal control officer I hope to make an even bigger impact and be a bigger voice for the voiceless.” When the Huachuca City animal shelter closed Hursh was relocated to working out of another office but didn’t let that drain any of the passion he had for serving his community. His love for what he does isn’t lost on those he interacts with. “His enthusiasm and passion is evident as he interacts with the public, before, during, and even after adoptions and during calls,” Rose Phillips wrote in her nomination of Hursh for the Herald/Review’s Twenty Under 40. “Jerry has worked tirelessly since the day he was hired to better himself, his peers, the lives of the animals in his care and the animals within the community.” Hursh has dealt with multiple hardships while working with the Huachuca City Police Department, including the closing of the city’s animal shelter. When the two previous animal control officers left Hursh worked with volunteers, city leadership and the local radio station to help showcase the positive viewpoints of the shelter. “He made huge strides to improve the reputation of the shelter in the time the Huachuca City shelter was open and under his leadership,” Phillips wrote. “He may be relocated to working in another location currently, but he remains optimistic, enthusiastic, and dedicated to his mission of serving the animals within the shelter, the community, and their owners.” Hursh helped set up special adoption events that resulted in numerous animals finding their forever homes, wrote procedure grants to cover rabies vaccines for three animal control officers in the county as well as other grants and volunteers with his daughter during Girls Scouts season.






Name: Kendra Kaiser Where she lives: Sierra Vista Job: Assistant to Director of Nursing, Life Care Sierra Vista Nominated by: Debora Steele

egistered nurse Kendra Kaiser is described as a true frontline hero. A Sierra Vista native and 2001 graduate of Buena High, Kaiser, who is the Assistant to Director of Nursing at Life Care Sierra Vista and also teaches first-year nursing students at Cochise College, has been nominated for the Herald/Review’s Twenty Under 40 by colleague Debora Steele. “Kendra is truly one of the essential workers at this time,” Steele wrote about Kaiser in her nomination. “She epitomizes the front line hero in all of us.” Fellow Life Care nurse Lacy Berkshire also praised Kaiser: Kendra has amazing spirit, the true definition of care and compassion,” Berkshire said. “She is a leader, educator and advocate for our residents and staff at Life Care. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, Sierra Vista and Life Care are lucky to have front line heroes like Kendra Maxwell Kaiser to inspire us all.” Kaiser’s husband Michael Kaiser is also a registered nurse and they have three children who keep them active with plenty of sporting events. . Kaiser also is involved in Walk for the Cure and Walk to End Alzheimer’s, Steele said in her nomination. “I feel very humbled and appreciative to think that someone believes that I am part of an elite group of people,” Kaiser said of her nomination. “I do not do anything in my life to receive notice or recognition so when you hear things like this it truly warms my heart and spirit to realize that people view me in such a positive light.”






wenty Under 40” nominee Chris Leon of The Leon Team for Nova Home Loans is known throughout Cochise County’s mortgage and real estate industry for his “commitment to superb customer service.” “Chris has created a name for himself in his industry and has a stellar reputation in our area,” said Alicia Katz, who nominated Leon for the Twenty Under 40 recognition. “He is one of the youngest vice presidents in Nova Home Loans history, and is currently ranked No. 2 in the entire company for loans closed.” From 2016 through 2019, Leon was in the top one percent of mortgage originators in the country and is currently ranked 59th in the nation for Veterans Administration loans. While committed to his career and always available to his clients, Leon’s No. 1 commitment is to his family. “Chris can be found on the baseball fields coaching his son, practicing cheerleading jumps with his daughter, or sitting in the audience at a dance competition cheering on his wife’s choreography,” Katz said in the nomination packet she submitted on Leon’s behalf. His dedication to the community is demonstrated in a number of ways, noted Katz, who said Leon has donated more than $10,000 in support of education, youth organizations and sports, as well as volunteering his time as a coach. Local food banks have benefitted from his generosity as well. In 2019 Chris joined The Huachucans, a nonprofit with a 35-year history of helping local youth organizations. After learning of the Twenty Under 40 nomination, Leon expressed his gratitude to supporters with the following. “I would like to start by saying thank you for this honor and for including me in this group of hard working professionals,” he said. “It is always nice to be recognized for your efforts but I think it is more special when it happens in the community that you grew up in. I truly believe that I owe so much of my success to my roots in Cochise County. I was born and raised here and I’m raising my children here so I want nothing more than to see this area thrive. It is my promise that I will continue to work my hardest to make sure that our community continues to be the amazing place that it has been for me all my life.”

Name: Chris Leon Age: 34 Community he lives in: Hereford Where does he work and what does he do: Vice President of Nova Home Loans in Sierra Vista What he enjoys most about living in Cochise County: I love the community, the people, the amazing weather and the area’s beauty. I spend a lot of time outside hiking and coaching sports. Who inspires him: My father, Carlos Leon, is my greatest inspiration. He taught me all about work ethic.



his community and figure out new ways to not only keep his business alive, but thriving in our small town,” Diana said. “Alan is the most amazing, determined, ambitious, resourceful, and intelligent person I know.” Alan says he is very proud of all that he has accomplished and credits God, his family and his mentors for all that he has. Aside from running his computer business, Alan in 2013 bought an additional building downtown to run a health and wellness program called “Team No Rest Days”. He currently has over 100 registered members. The fitness center is currently closed however due to the COVID-19 restrictions. “He didn’t do this for profit as working solely on his computer businesses would have been more profitable, but because he feels a calling to help people reach their potential,” Diana said. “He gave free motivational classes and also offered free workout classes to all kids under the age of 16 years old. He has changed many lives from our community ranging from people who had severe diseases who completely turned their life around to people who gained the confidence they needed to grow in their careers and improve their life.” Alan has also volunteered his time at the library and gives health and wellness tips to families. He has also gone to many local schools to talk and mentor kids about how, even people from a small town, can grow to reach their dreams.” Manquero consistently gives back to his community providing walkers, crutches, and adult diapers from an non-profit organization called Wings of Angels and then distributing them to people in need. He has also been known to purchase some himself when supplies were low. He has also organized food, clothing, and toy drives through his Team No Rest Days organization.” “I love Douglas,” Alan said. “I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love this city, I want to invest in this city. I want to see Douglas grow and prosper.”



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lan Manquero of Douglas is a perfect example of what could be accomplished through hard work and determination, two values that define this country. “He has a strong presence in our community and is one of the few businesses that have been able to survive in our struggling economy,” says his sister Diana Manquero. “He provides people with a much needed service at very reasonable prices and he is working towards reviving our downtown G Avenue area that many people had given up on.” Alan crossed over the border from Agua Prieta to Douglas when he was 16. He graduated from Douglas High School and went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in Human Behavior from Capella University. The 32-year-old Manquero has built a successful computer repair business, Mankerotech, from the ground up. For 12 years he worked out of the living room of his parents house and two years ago relocated to a building on G Avenue he has since purchased. “He started his business with no loans, no partners, and no investments as many people and banks are not eager to give money to a teenager with big dreams,” Diana said. “Instead he had his determination and willingness to give a thousand percent each day, even in the beginning when the profit was not there yet. Due to his dedication to giving the best services possible, and against all odds, his business flourished. We were so proud to watch him become the successful businessman that we always knew he could be. It didn’t matter if we didn’t have couches to lounge on.” She states Alan’s accomplishments are only made more impressive when you consider that many businesses in Douglas have been forced to close due to lack of income adding his “work day” is often more than 12 hours long and he has to be reminded to take a break for lunch. “He gets up every day ready to give the best service to



Age: 32 Community he lives in: Douglas Where does he work and what does he do: Owner MankeroTech and Team No Rest Days What motivates him: Helping other people. He consistently gives back to his community providing walkers, crutches, and adult diapers from an non-profit organization called Wings of Angels and then distributing them to people in need Who inspires him: God, his family and his mentors.


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Miranda J

osette Miranda was not sure just where she would end while in college until she became a student worker at the University of Arizona Sierra Vista campus. “It was all by chance. I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. I had a great opportunity to work there as a student worker and got to work with amazing people,” she said. In 2016, she began her career as an academic advisor at the campus after working her way through college and graduating with a bachelor’s degree. Now, she helps students make their ways through college to achieve their degrees. “It has been very rewarding having the ability to help those in the community earn their degrees. Now, I work fully online and help many achieve their academic goals.” She interacts with her students in a kind and energetic way to help them through the stressful college years and has helped 100’s of aspiring young professionals meet their goals and graduate from U of A. Her peers say her work ethic is unmatched and she is dedicated to helping and mentoring the aspiring young professionals in the community. She followed three simple rules to be the successful professional she is today: do your best at all you do, care for others and do the right thing. With this mindset, she excels in her career and sets a great example of how to pursue professional excellence. In her spare time, she participates in college events and in mental health walks to support those that struggle with mental illness. Her nominator Josue Miranda, said, “She has faced and overcame many adversities in her life. Those adversities have shaped her into the person she is today, a resilient, caring, and loving leader for our community.”




Age: 26 Where do you live: Sierra Vista Where do you work: University of Arizona Online What do you do: I am an Academic Advisor at the university. I advise online for the Bachelor of Applied Science in Cyber Operations and the Bachelor of Applied Science in Applied Computing. What do you enjoy most about living in Cochise County: What I enjoy most about Cochise County are the great communities and the beautiful sceneries that surround us. What motivates you: My son motivates me to be the best that I can be. Who inspires you: My husband inspires me by how hardworking he is. Words to live by: Be the best you every day.




ot even a pandemic stood in the way of this small business owner’s dedication to her



Age: 31

Where do you live: Sierra Vista, AZ Where do you work: Divine Aesthetics LLC What do you do: Licensed Aesthetician and Co Owner, offering Skincare Treatment’s, Facial and Body Waxing What do you enjoy most about living in Cochise County: I love the beautiful Huachuca Mountains, I enjoy hiking and being outdoors! Our weather cannot be beat. I love that I can

clients. Lisa Morales, a local business owner in Sierra Vista, began her career as an aesthetician at Timeless Therapeutic Day Spa and used her entrepreneurial and people-loving spirit to motivate her. “Lisa is a conscious consumer in all her products, curating each experience to her guest,” her nominee said. “She is organized, empathetic, and professional.” Morales became a young partner in Divine Aesthetics, LLC, at Pamper Me Suits, according to her anonymous nominator. “Divine Aesthetics is truly a place

visit a busy city and then come home to peace and small town living. And if I want the feeling of downtown, Old Bisbee, AZ is a gem to me. What motivates you: A big part of my motivation is helping other individuals feel good and to create a space where they are able to relax and escape for an hour or so from everyday life. As an Aesthetician, I truly have the opportunity to do this on a daily basis. My connection with my client’s also motivates me.

of peace and relaxation,” Morales told Herald/Review. “Being new business owners has been so rewarding for myself and business partner Christine Lowing. I am honored and have a humble heart to be nominated for top Twenty under 40.” After the outbreak of COVID-19, she continues to stay positive and passionate in her career especially with her supportive customers. “We owe it to our clientele,” she said. “They’re all so awesome. Eleven years in the beauty industry, I honestly can say I still love what I do!” Her business uses the latest technology for skin care and her goal has always been to help her client’s “inner glow shine through.”

Who inspires you: All independent women that go after their true passion and always stay authentic to who they are, despite judgement. It’s so inspiring when I meet women who have truly gone after their dream and made it a reality. I have met many and it fuels me to stay on the path I am on. Words to live by: We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated. Does this support the life I am trying to create? The sun will rise and we will try again.


Riggs A

FAST FACTS Nominee: Jordan Riggs

Nominator: Misty Briseno Nominated for: Owns a local aesthetics business

esthetics business owner Jordyn Riggs focuses on the needs for individual clients and demonstrates professionalism and compassion as an esthetician. “She is leading the charge of the future business community in Sierra Vista and we should all be extremely grateful to have her here,” her nominator, Misty Briseno told Herald/Review. Her business, Meraki Aesthetics, opened in 2019 and she is considered by many to be one of the best estheticians in Cochise County, according to Briseno. “We must always remember to let our own truth be our authority, and to not let authority be our truth,” Riggs told Herald/Review. “Visualize your highest self, and start showing up as her. “ When she’s not working, Riggs spends her time promoting female business owners and volunteers with several local women’s groups, Breiseno said. She also speaks at college campuses about sexual assault and domestic violence. “She is a huge supporter of women in business and does anything and everything she can help other women be successful,” she said. Briseno, a customer of Riggs, said the business owner balances being personable and professional when working with her clients and is “willing to go above and beyond to meet the high standards that she has set for herself.” “Jordyn has been a life saver for so many people, from milestone events like weddings, proms, anniversary parties, to the small everyday things like a date night or just because, she is always there with a welcoming smile and warm conversation,” she told Herald/Review.




Rocha G


Name: Jai Rocha

Lives in: Sierra Vista Work: Native Grill & Wings Nominated by: John Bateman


iving back to the community he grew up in is an indescribable feeling for Jai Rocha. Rocha, general manager of Native Grill & Wings, said over the past three years he has strived to use his position to give back to the community, whether it’s hosting events or sponsoring them. “I’ve worked in restaurants for 20 years,” he said. “I felt like restaurants made a big impact (in the community).” He is the longest running employee at Native, having started his training before the Sierra Vista location opened its doors almost six years ago. “It’s an absolute privilege to be nominated for this award,” Rocha said. “I know nominations come from my peers and colleagues whom I appreciate so much. The truth is there have been so many people that have influenced the community actions I’ve been a part of and it’s an honor to be recognized in such a great community.” In a time when people were limited to their homes and where they could go, Rocha and other members of the community created a charity cruise to collect donations for The Salvation Army. He said more than 200 vehicles participated and they collected over $8,000 worth of donations for an organization that was feeding a lot of people during the pandemic. “We gave them a little bit of sunshine in the grey,” Rocha said. “(Giving back to the community), it’s not for me. We live in a beautiful community.” John Bateman praised Rocha’s community efforts in his nomination of Rocha for this year’s class of Twenty Under 40. “(He is) arguably one of the most influential leaders in this community,” Bateman wrote in his nomination of Rocha. “Jai pushes this community to the max with self-developed events that everyone gets behind.”



14 Age: 25 Community he lives in: Willcox Where he works: The Willcox Theater and Arts What he likes most about living in Cochise County: The weather What motivates him: Creativity in general Words to live by: In order to make a change, we have to do it ourselves. Who inspires you: “I am inspired by artists, the author Jeff Godin and the illustrator Andy J Miller.”


Schofield W

esley Schofield has been working to change his world from the age of eight when he joined the Skate Park Committee. When Willcox didn’t have a skate park, he and his friends, as well as their parents, collected money in order to build it. Roughly a decade later, the skate park was finished. This creation through perseverance and a do-it-yourself attitude has persisted throughout Schofeild’s career. In his freshman’s year of high school he started making videos. This passion for videos evolved over time to video editing and graphic design. Schofield has worked for the Willcox Theater and Arts as a marketing and creative content technician for the past two years. Through his job at the theater, he teaches classes and creates promotional videos for the City of Willcox. These videos are utilized for the city’s economic development and advertising. “Being able to create things professionally has been really exciting,” said Schofield. “I like to create and promote creative stuff,” Schofield said. “I’m also really into business and entrepreneurship.” Although he initially felt like he didn’t fit in with the culture of Willcox, Schofield said he has made his niche in the community. He said he would encourage other local artists to do the same. One thing he said he appreciates is that by working with the City of Willcox and the Willcox Chamber of Commerce he can throw in his ideas into upcoming projects. “The community I live in is not very in tune with my interests or passions, so it’s interesting to try to make a change that way, to not only benefit me but other people like me,” said Schofield. Eventually he hopes to create his own film production business. “I think it’s important for younger people to attempt to make some kind of niche for themselves in every community. I’ve already met other creatives in my town, which are closeted creatives,” said Schofield. “I think it’s important to make the change. If nobody else is going to make the change, we gotta do it ourselves.”




wenty Under 40” nominee Sergeant First Class Abram Umphrey is an Army medic with nearly 20 years service. “I am humbled to be considered for this honor and congratulate my fellow nominees,” Umphrey said of the nomination. “I would also like to send my love to my family who support me through all my journeys.” Currently stationed on Fort Huachuca, Umphrey places emphasis on patient care, comfort, appointment availability and more recently, patient and staff safety at Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center on Fort Huachuca. During his time in the military, Umphrey has deployed to combat zones six times for a total of four years and 10 months. His skills and professionalism as a medic were recognized by the United States Army Medical Command by an appointment as an instructor for initial entry training at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio Texas and a follow-on appointment as an instructor for the MEDCOM’s Advanced Leader Course. More recently, he has focused on ensuring the safety of Fort Huachuca and the community by enforcing

CDC best practices in the clinics on post, while working with other units to ensure the safety of both staff and patients. He also was instrumental in creating and managing the drive through pharmacy on Fort Huachuca that serves military, family members and veterans. Umphrey has earned a Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal for his community service. He is a volunteer with Boy and Girl scout troops where he teaches first aid and survival skills. He also serves as treasurer for the local Green Knights Motorcycle Club, Chapter 141, a club that focuses on safe and responsible motorcycle operations, often performing motorcycle safety inspections for soldiers before they leave post. Abram Umphrey was nominated for the “Twenty Under 40” recognition by Timothy Umphrey, who praised Abram’s positive impact on the community. “His work on post is vital for the health and safety of the retirees in our community that continue to go on post for appointments, and his work with local scout groups and the Green Knights helps community members off post as well as on.”


Umphrey Name: Abram Umphrey Age: 39 Community he lives in: Hereford Where does he work and what does he do: Sgt. 1st Class Umphrey works at Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center on Fort Huachuca as a U.S. Army medic. What he enjoys most about living in Cochise County: He says he loves the amazing weather, mountains, views and being outside. Who inspires him: My father, Albert has always been a huge inspiration to me. He’s a hard worker and passed that strong work ethic on to everyone in our family.



s branch manager of Vantage West Credit Union in Tombstone, Andrea Wood says one of her job’s greatest rewards is helping her associates develop and grow. “I feel so satisfied when I am able to look back and see the progress each of my associates has made, knowing that I was able to play a major role in their growth,” said Wood, who has been with Vantage West a little over seven years. When she learned she had been nominated as a “Twenty Under 40” candidate, Wood expressed being surprised, excited and humbled by the news. “I have worked hard to get where I am today, so to be recognized for my dedication is beyond humbling,” she said. Along with her management position at the Credit Union, Wood is involved in a number of community outreach activities. “I enjoy participating in the events that Tombstone holds every year,” she said. “I have been in several of the community’s parades and have volunteered to help the Tombstone Vigilantes with a fundraising 10- and 5-K run. I also represent Vantage West as a local financial institution for our community.” Wood has presented to Tombstone High School students about financial literacy in an effort to help them understand how finances work. “I have also spoken with Tombstone Unified School District teachers and staff about the benefits of banking with Vantage West Credit Union,” she said. Wood was nominated as a Twenty Under 40 candidate by business associate Chelsea Schlarbaum, who praised her ability to lead the Vantage West team through “bouts of adversity to meet company goals” as well as mediating “rough patches between Vantage West and membership,” where she was successful in meeting both interests. Wood has been recognized by Vantage West as a past employee of the quarter and was with the company through its transition from Tombstone Federal Credit Union to Vantage West Credit Union.


Community she lives in: Tombstone Where does she work and what does she do: Branch manager for Vantage West Credit Union in Tombstone. What she enjoys most about living in Cochise County: I love the small town feel. Everybody knows one another, everyone is friendly and willing to lend a helping hand. Who inspires her: My mother-in-law, Carol Cowan, has been a huge inspiration to me. She encouraged me by telling me that once I put my mind to something, to follow that passion.




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ANDREA WOOD Twenty Under 40

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For being nominated to Citizen of the Year Class 2020.

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of entry. The person was claiming to have murdered my brother,” her nominator said. “Douglas Police Department did not believe this as they had no record of any such murder.” The case might have ended there if not for Munoz. “Lucky for us, Cornelia was still employed by the County Attorney’s Office and vividly remembered the notification.” her nominator said. “The case was prosecuted, and my family finally had some sort of closure in my brother’s death.” Munoz, a Douglas native, also has dedicated many years to serving the city’s chamber of commerce, the local Hispanic chamber, merchant’s association and the Cenpatico Community Coalition. Her contributions to the Relay for Life, hosted each year by the American Cancer Society, include serving as an organizer for the only 24-hour event in Arizona to raise funds for research, advocacy, patient services and education. Her nominator recalls seeing a photo of Munoz in the newspaper wearing a shirt with the word “HOPE” written across it, and the impact it had. “If only she knew what that signified for my family at this time,” her nominator said. “My

Name: Cornelia Munoz Nominated by: anonymous Nominated for: Over 20 years of volunteering for numerous organizations including American Cancer Society and county victim witness program

sister-in-law had recently been diagnosed with cancer and we were in denial. My family went to Relay for Life a few weeks later and were happy to be able to speak with Cornelia. After spending time visiting with her and her family, we realized we were not alone in this fight.” Munoz spoke about the impact of the relays in a previous interview. “Being a volunteer with the American Cancer Society is an amazing opportunity to give back to our community and it’s the best feeling ever,” she said. “Nobody ever fights these battles alone, as we are one big Relay family.” Munoz also works to raise funds for children who need backpacks and other school supplies, has worked with the Mexican Consulate She said she was shocked and humbled to receive the Citizen of the Year nomination. “I don’t help people or do the things I do for any kind of recognition,” she said. “I just want to be there for those who need it most. Those little acts of kindness can make a difference in the life of someone else.


rowing up, Cornelia Munoz had the message of helping people instilled in her at a young age, and it’s a lesson she has taken to heart and spread far and wide. “I was always taught to pay it forward,” Munoz said recently. “Knowing I made a difference in the lives of others, makes me happy at the end of the day.” Munoz has been making a difference in people’s lives through her volunteer efforts for more than 20 years, and has been named the Herald/Review Citizen of the Year for her lifelong service to her community. Her nominator remembers the compassion Munoz showed after her brother was murdered. At the time, Munoz was a volunteer for the county’s victim witness program. “We often hear that angels walk among us, and my family was able to experience that firsthand by meeting Cornelia,” said her nominator, who wishes to be anonymous due to her brother’s murder. “She is the type of person who will help others in her community without being asked. She is the type to help, always being there because of her beautiful and giving heart.” Years later, Munoz was able to help the family find justice thanks to her work on the case. “A suspect had turned himself in at the port


Cornelia G.







Benning T

hough he came to the city in 1989 as a soldier in the U.S. Army, he said he was too young to appreciate the ambiance the city and Cochise County offered. However, on a return to duty at Fort Huachuca in 2001, “I knew it was the place I wanted to raise my children.” Upon retiring from the Army, he made his home here and began getting involved in many community services. He, with George Broxton, began Cars for Coffee to Sierra Vista. “I wanted to find a way to bring the car community together to give back. We feature a different organization every month and raise monies through raffles and donations. It also gives the organization or causes a chance to get exposure. While I cherish each one, my most memorable would have to be helping the Kuriger family. Tyler had stage 4 Cancer and we raised over $2,500 that day to help his family.” He joined in the Glow Ride, a great event started by Tim Cervantes and Shannon Schofield , which grew into a movement “to bring Christmas to those that may not have had the means to tour houses and look at lights and receive presents. It has gone from 30 plus vehicles to over 100. He also began the Bertha Marie Benning Foundation, still a work in progress, to help young ladies in the community to pursue their dreams with scholarships. The urge to help women began with his grandmother. “She would always tell me about her dreams and what she wanted, one of them was going

back to school and getting her high school diploma. But, she didn’t have the means. I decided this was an avenue I could use to remember and pay respect to my Grams.” It is important for people to get involved in their communities, he says. He suggests finding a cause one is passionate about and look for the service group that fits your niche. “If you can’t find an organization that meets your goals, start one on your own,” he stated. After speaking with Sierra Vista Councilwoman Gwen Calhoun, he decided to do more to effect change more than he was doing. Though he failed on his first attempt to win a City Council seat, the second time was successful and the motivation in helping and serving others, as he has done his entire life, became a reality. After the loss, “I was still committed to serving my community. I decided after a couple of years that it was time to fulfill the commitment I had made the first time I ran.” He finds satisfaction in ensuring every voice in the community gets to be heard. “I feel so far I have been successful with my endeavors, but there is so much more to be done.” Though some health issues have made him pull back from some of activities, he is not daunted. “I am dealing with it like others who are going through much worse deal with it. I trust my faith in God and what His plans for me are. Second, I have the best support group anyone could ask for from my kids who have been a blessing every





day, my fellow Councilmembers, to my doctors who are some of the best.” He said it is important to stay involved to take “your mind off of the negative” and focus on things and friends important to you to “eliminate some of the stress. “I cannot stress how important it is to let someone know you are thinking of them or that they are in your prayers. It has truly lifted me at times to keep fighting and keep going. We go through ups and downs in life and we can’t let those distract us or become excuses to doing something we love. Ultimately it is our desire to make a difference that motivates us to keep going.”

ost don’t know her name but have been impacted by her gracious nature. “I am a nobody. This woman is a nobody. However, I truly believe she should be considered a somebody,” Curtis Muskthel wrote in his nomination of Katharina Criscuolo for Citizen of the year. “She has done more for this community of ours than anyone will ever know.” The nomination came as a surprise to Criscuolo. “Being nominated for Citizen of the Year is such a big deal for me!!!,” she wrote in an emailed statement to the Herald/Review. “I was surprised, delighted and humbled to know that someone took the time and effort to nominate me. I may not know the specifics, but I am grateful to learn that I made such an impact on someone’s life or contributed something special to our community. Whatever the outcome, I will always cherish this feeling of gratitude for being nominated.” Over a 25-year span Criscuolo has coordinated multiple volunteer

efforts throughout the county that has benefited both civilians and military personnel. She works as a carrier for the Herald/Review and earlier this year while on her route delivered a baby in her car. According to Muskthel, Criscuolo taught people from the “Hood” how to type by cutting out cardboard keyboards. He said it took months for the individuals to master touch typing before they moved to typing on her personal typewriter. One of the people Criscuolo helped learn how to type was able to use her new skill to get an administrative position and better their life. “This is just one example of many where (Criscuolo) cared enough to help those that could not help themselves,” Muskthel wrote. Criscuolo helped establish multiple successful blood drives on Fort Huachuca until the rules changed that prohibits those who lived overseas to donate as well as gifts people toys around the holidays dressed as an elf. “She is one of a kind and we are fortunate to have her living here in Sierra Vista,” Muskthel wrote.

To be a good citizen, it’s important to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see the big picture. If everything you see is rooted in your own identity, that becomes difficult or impossible. — Eli Pariser



Cutaia A

t only eight years old, Crystal Sophia Cutaia, who goes by Sophie, started a community pantry to help collect resources to avoid food insecurity. “My family and I are very proud of her for helping the community,” her sister and nominator Jade Cutaia told Herald/Review. Sophie set up the free pantry outside her house where she also shared her coloring and reading books and broke open her piggy bank funds to restock the pantry, according to Jade. “When my sister saw the stores empty of food and hearing that lots of people were not able to buy food she felt she had to help,” she said. “She says ‘it makes me feel warm inside knowing that person will eat today.’” Her neighbors provided food for the pantry and Sophie went through her own pantry to collect any extra canned goods and cereal boxes that could help fill up the free community one. “As the week went by her free pantry grew,” Jade said. “Sophie is helping the community in her own way.”

TONY PHAM Congratulations Dr. J.D. Rottweiler on your nomination for Citizen of the Year. Best wishes to all of this year’s nominees.


520-459-2805 www.indochinesv.com 1299 E Fry Blvd • Sierra Vista, AZ Open Daily 11am-9pm Delivery available with Postmates Indochine Family Restaurant



Thank you for your nomination for Citizen of the Year and congratulations to all the class 2020




Farmer S

ierra Vista resident Joe Farmer is described as someone who has a “heart for service in the community.” The 54-year-old Farmer, involved in several activities - from coaching youth sports, to serving in Rotary and helping out at his local church - has been nominated as a Citizen of the Year. Farmer’s wife Brenda Gail Farmer, nominated her spouse for the annual honor, saying Farmer is an “all-around good guy.” One of the services Farmer fulfills is serving on the board of the Salvation Army. He also volunteers in their kitchen where he helps prepare meals, serve them and distribute them. Brenda Gail Farmer also said her husband works part-time at the Thunder Mountain Church and is the president-elect of the Rotary’s Sunrise Club. Farmer, who has lived in Cochise County since 1997, said he is humbled by the nomination. “I am blessed to be living in the Sierra Vista community where there are so many people doing many great things,” Farmer said. “It is both humbling and exciting to be nominated for this award knowing how many deserving citizens there are in our community.”




tan Garner is a single foster parent and a food bank manager of the Society of St. Vicnent de Paul who “works to tirelessly ensure families who are less fortunate have food,” his business associate Pauline Fredericks told Herald/Review. Fredericks described Garner as a caring and productive member of the community and said he oversees the day to day operations of the largest operating food bank in the area, which serves over 1,000 families per month on average. “He expects excellence,” Fredericks said. “He maintains a volunteer staff to ensure service to those that are helped are receiving compassionate customer service with dignity and discretion.” Garner, who works five days a week and in his free time, began picking up work from the distributing staff while continuing to be a dedicated father. “He is a wonderful and loving father and has ensured that throughout these days, his children were safe and well cared for,” his nominator said. “This is a servant of the people who should not be overlooked.”


Many Horses JULY 2020 • HERALD/REVIEW


dvocating for veterans, promoting local businesses and assisting the less fortunate are just some of the ways that Najayyah Many Horses serves the community. It’s that “can do” spirit and tireless drive that earned Many Horses a ‘Citizen of the Year’ nomination from Kathryn Williams. “Najayyah is one of the hardest working advocates for our veterans and the community at large,” Williams said in her nomination endorsement. “Her energy, optimism and faith in humanity make her a valuable neighbor to everyone in Cochise County.” Many Horses is the face of Benson’s Chamber of Commerce, serves as president of the Community Food Pantry of Benson and organizes fundraisers for the community’s benefit. In the midst of this whirlwind pace, she is spearheading a five-day tribute to veterans by bringing the Vietnam Traveling Wall to Benson in September. “She is tireless and fearless in her support of veterans, of small businesses and of our county’s less fortunate,” Williams said. “I don’t know of anyone else with this kind of dedication and commitment to community service.”



ony Pham’s dedication to his restaurant and the city is what prompted Linda Thorp to nominate Pham for Citizen of the Year. In Thorp’s nomination of Pham she said throughout the pandemic the owner of Indochine Restaurant donated “hundreds” of meals to local hospitals as well as helps local charities throughout the community. “Tony Pham helps this community in every possible way...and does it with a smile,” she wrote. When asked what it means to be nominated for 2020 Citizen of the Year, Pham said he was “shocked and thrilled” for the nomination. “Living in a great place like Sierra Vista I have seen and followed the footsteps of many outstanding residents who have been working and serving the city continuously,” he said. “I am trying my best to study from those awesome people to build a great community”







ouglas native Ralph Robles is described by his friends as a man who loves his community and has its best interest at

heart. He is constantly searching for ways to make his community a better place to live. “Ralph always has the businesses of Douglas in mind and is always doing things to promote those businesses,” said his friend Sarah Villalobos who nominated Robles for the Citizen of the Year. “He is very involved in events occurring within the city. He recently organized a fundraiser for a college scholarship for two students graduating this year in honor of our late friend Arturo Escalante.” “I enjoy helping out and giving back,” Robles said. “I’ve been giving back for the last 10 plus years but really pushing it the last three to four years.” Three years ago Robles was approached by Arturo Escalante who asked him to DJ an event for the Douglas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (DHCC). The two quickly became friends and soon thereafter Robles was actually working with the DHCC. Arturo passed away in September 2019 following an illness. Robles is determined that his friend’s memory lives on. “He helped me push the limits of what I can do as a citizen of Douglas, as an individual,” Robles said. “He really inspired me. He really loved

Douglas. He showed me that we don’t have to wait for people to push Douglas forward, we can do it as individuals. He was a motivator who always saw the positive in Douglas. He helped me to cherish what we have, instead of what we want. We lost somebody that had a true desire to make Douglas a better place. I find myself trying to fill that void that he left.” Robles admits it’s hard at times juggling all the things going on but he’s determined to do it. “When the community helps you, you want to give back,” he said. “To me, that’s the least I can do. When the community supports you, you appreciate it and you hope they continue to support you. That’s why I will continue to give back.” Robles says living in Douglas is special because of its culture and the family atmosphere that goes along with it. “There is nothing like living in a border community, it’s a lot different than living in a big city” he said. “Border town living is something different that nobody understands until they have lived here for a while. Even though we get some bad press once in a while there is nothing like living in a border community. I’m here to influence the people of Douglas to be positive and believe that one day we will come back to relevance like we used to. I push the hashtag positive Douglas because I want people to see the positive aspect

that we have. I want the people in this town to do everything we can as a community to make ourselves better.” Robles’ wife Leslie says she is very proud of her husband and all that he does to try and help make Douglas a better place to live. “He’s always doing something somewhere in the community whether it be with the kids or volunteering somewhere,” she said. “This has been a very long journey. He’s always been self motivated. He gets things done in the community. He really wants to see Douglas thrive and be a safe place where our kids can grow up and come back to after they move away. He wants Douglas to be a proud place his kids can call home.”


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ina Rowley has served the Cochise County community for almost eight years in her work with Care Net Pregnancy Center, her nominator Cristy Felix told Herald/Review. “She has moved to building stronger families in our community by encouraging the parenting classes at the center,” Felix said. Rowley helps clients receive diapers, formula, baby food, and other essentials, but has an even larger responsibility as a compassionate member of her community. “She is always a shoulder for them to cry on and a listening ear for them to talk about their problems,” said Felix. “She has done so much for the community and has never once asked for recognition she just wishes to serve.” Rowley told Herald/Review that the non-profit helped her when she needed guidance and she continues her work during the COVID-19 pandemic with her experience in mind. “My heart for this organization is outreach,” the executive director of CareNet said. “I am truly blessed to work in a field that is able to create positive changes for people in this community.”




Rottweiler S

ince becoming president of Cochise College in mid-2009, J.D. Rottweiler has been making an impact on Cochise County and its residents. Multiple members of the college’s staff sent in and signed letters of support for Rottweiler’s nomination for Citizen of the Year because of his dedication to the college, its students and the community. Rottweiler said in a statement to the Herald/Review that he is honored to be nominated for the recognition. “My wife and I have come to love Sierra Vista and all of Cochise County,” he said in his statement. “We have chosen to make this our home and as such believe it our responsibility to be civically minded and active in our communities.” Rottweiler has worked to expand programs at the college for not only local residents but military personnel as well. With the COVID-19 pandemic looming over the county Rottweiler loaned 10 ventilators to local healthcare facilities and designated the Downtown Center to be a facility for patient overflow. “Citizenship is about being engaged in activities that enhance the quality of life for others,” he said. “Our communities are about people and their opportunities to live the American Dream. It takes all of us to make that a reality.”








nown for her “tireless volunteerism,” Carol Welsh has been actively involved in the community since her arrival in the area 25 years ago. “Carol wears multiple hats and is constantly doing volunteer work for numerous organizations,” said good friend Diana Wilcox, who nominated Welsh for the Citizen of the Year award. As a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) volunteer, Welsh serves as the voice for abused and neglected children in the court system. She is active with Cochise Serving Veterans (CSV), an advocacy group for veterans and their families. Through CSV, Welsh serves on the Veterans Resource Fair committee and chairs the S3, or Special Support Services committee. She also is the board chair for the local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) affiliate and serves on the SEABHS (Southeastern Arizona Behavioral Health Services) governing board. “Carol assists the Salvation Army food distribution at different sites in the area,” Wilcox said. “She is an amazing example of a caring individual and is deserving of this recognition.”

aptain Carlos Souza of the Salvation Army made a large impact on the Sierra Vista community during his time serving in the area. Although Souza has since been reassigned to a mission in Los Angeles, his contributions over the last three years have earned him recognition as a nominee for Citizen of the Year. “I was impressed by his passion for the work of the Salvation Army and the communities they serve, not only Sierra Vista but the surrounding communities as well,” said nominator J. O’Neall. Souza worked to improve the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign, expanded food programs for those in need and procured a new refrigerator truck in order to make deliveries and bring food distribution to outlying areas. “We now have drive-thru service in Huachuca City and Sierra Vista, and a walk-thru in Hereford,” said nominator Eva McElroy. “The outreach to those communities, with no close access to groceries, has been a huge blessing to those in need.” Souza fondly recalled his time in Sierra Vista earlier this year. “We fell in love with Sierra Vista the moment we arrived,” he said. “The people here are amazing, the support they give the Salvation Army is incredible … ” “Serving alongside the kind of people we have here is something I’ve never experienced before,” he said. “We’re so well supported and respected. It’s a good feeling to be part of a community like this.”


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Congratulations to all the nominees for Citizen Of The Year 2020! Promoting Population Health and Community Wellness Throughout Southeast Arizona

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20 Under 40 - 2020.pdf  

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