By Mike Cook
It was a big surprise for Heather Pollard on Wednesday afternoon, December 1, as one of Las Cruces’ most valued and valued “donors” became, for a moment, a “receiver.”
Along with friends, admirers and other volunteers, Pollard received the Gerald H. Deabel Volunteer of the Year Award from Deabel Foundation President Don Beasley for his long-standing service at the Mesilla Valley Hospice ( MVH) and many other Las Cruces nonprofits and causes.
In addition to the award itself, Pollard also received a check for $ 20,000 from the Gerald H. Deabel Foundation, which she said she and her husband Warren would quickly reinvest in the community.
“I believe Heather is the epitome of what Gerald Deabel envisioned for exceptional volunteerism when he created this award, not only because of everything she did for Mesilla Valley Hospice, but also because of everything. that she has done for this community as a whole ”, Nina Salmon, CEO of MVH. said. “She has given so much to our community.”
Pollard led a major fundraising campaign for MVH in 2014, and in 2015 helped found The Emporium, a Las Cruces gift and antique store. One hundred percent of The Emporium’s profits go to MVH, and Pollard is one of a dozen women from Las Cruces who volunteer their time to run it.
Pollard chaired the fundraising campaign to renovate the old Walnut Street Armory into a La Casa shelter for victims of domestic violence. She was the executive director of downtown in the movement to open Main Street and revitalize the downtown area. She has been president of the Amador Foundation to restore the historic Amador hotel for the past eight years. She was the first executive director of the Doña Ana Arts Council for 20 years.
The Deabel Legacy Society was founded in 2003 by Gerald H. Deabel (1934-2017). The Deabel Legacy Society chooses one volunteer from MVH, Salvation Army Las Cruces, or Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico to honor each year.
Deabel, originally from Chicago, had a distinguished career in real estate and moved to Las Cruces in the early 2000s. Upon his death in December 2017, Deabel donated most of his estate to charity, including a $ 10 million donation to MVH.
Those in attendance for the December 1 award show included Salmon and other MVH staff, including CFO Christine May and MVH Foundation Executive Director Lorraine Padilla, as well as Captain Michael Evans of the Las Cruces Salvation Army and Southern New Mexico Community Foundation President and CEO Terra Winter. .
Salmon, Evans, Winter and Las Cruces attorney Dana Kyle is director of the Gerald H. Deabel Foundation.