Getting to know your neighbor

Los Lunas Municipal Judge Avilio Chavez enjoys spending his free time with his grandchildren.

Q: What do you think about when you’re alone in your car?

A: “Like most everyone, I have a series of thoughts. What must get done throughout my day. As a former driver education instructor, my primary thoughts are on my driving. Most of my commutes are short and in heavy traffic.”

Q: What’s a myth about your profession you’d like to bust?

A: “There is a misconception that this is simply a place that administers punishment. It is a place that treats all cases in a fair impartial manner. This is evident in disputes between two different parties. You need to listen to both sides and arrive at a fair and impartial decision.”

Q: What were you like in high school?

A: “I was somewhat of a quiet individual. I enjoyed sports; I participated in football and track.”


Submitted photos 

Avilio Chavez has been the municipal judge in Los Lunas for nine years and was recently reelected.

Judge Avilio Chavez with his grandchildren, Ava, Emma and Carson, on Halloween.

Avilio Chavez and his son, Billy Chavez, in Denver.

Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received and from whom?

A: “My high school football coach, more than once encouraged me to go to college, which, at the time, was the furthest thing from my mind. It was not till I served my time in the United States Marine Corps that I felt college  and coaching was the avenue for me.”

Q: What did you want to be when you grew up?

A: “That was a moving target. I thought of road construction, other types of manual labor and the military. One of my best friends and I ended up joining the United States Marine Corps. Soon after, we both went on to college and became educators and coaches. He recently retired in Alaska as a high school administrator and currently is an administrator in Santa Fe. I also retired in the education field and currently serve as municipal judge.”

Q: Who inspires you?

A: “Everyone who goes to work and does their best, especially those fathers and mothers who work to make a living for themselves and their children!”

Q: If you could work any other job for one day, what would it be and why?

A: “In any field where I can work with young people and try to make a positive impact on their lives!”

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: “I try to stay active.  I have friends who participate in table tennis and corn hole. I do some light weight training at home, and I also try to spend as much time with my grandkids as possible.”

Q: What’s something about you most people don’t know?

A: “There are very few things people don’t know about me. I think that we will just keep it that way.”

Avilio Chavez with his grandchildren, Ava, Emma and Carson.

Avilio Chavez and his grandson, Carson, at a Kansas City Chiefs football game earlier this year.

Q: What three books would you to take to a deserted island? 

A: “My Bible, “Of Mice and Men,” “The Grapes of Wath,” and I would have to include a book of poems that I have. Some of my favorite excerpts are “Oh Captain my Captain,” “Charge of the Light Brigade,” “Nancy Hanks” and the “Soliloquy of Hamlet.”

Q: You find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do? 

A: “I would first try to figure out if I can find a way to remain anonymous. Then take my entire family on a spectacular vacation.  Invest so that I can leave legacy to my family. Set up a trust so my grandkids can pay for their education.”

Q: Who is your best friend and why?

A: “I have a couple of people I consider best friends. I take the one I’ve known the longest. That would be Bernie Gurule. He and I have been associated since our days in elementary school. We were altar boys, we were high school teammates, we joined the United States Marine Corps together, we taught and coached high school sports. He currently is still in education as an administrator in Santa Fe. To this day we remain the best of friends. (SEMPER FIDELIS0)”

Q: What’s your favorite song to sing when you’re alone? 

A: “‘North to Alaska’ by Johnny Horton.  It has a sentimental memory!”

Q: Where is your happy place, and why?

A: “Any place that I can be with my grandkids. I truly enjoy their company.”

Q: Have you had a life-changing experience that led you to where you are today?

A: “Absolutely! It was my time spent in the United States Marine Corps; meeting people from throughout the nation; people from different backgrounds, life experiences, educational backgrounds. I learned that I could compete with them both academically and athletically. It was the main reason for pursuing my college degree.”

Q: What teacher had the greatest impact on you?

A: “My coaches taught me a lot about dedication and hard work.  If I had to point out one person, it would be my social studies eighth-grade teacher, Mr. Stromei. He presented the subject matter in a manner that made me love and appreciate history, which to this day I still enjoy.”

Q: What is your favorite movie scene and why?

A: “I have many. Rhet to Scarlett in ‘Gone with the Wind,’ the song ‘If I were a Rich Man’ in ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’

But I must go back to my childhood for my favorite and that was the scene when Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man are confronted by the Lion (in ‘The Wizard of Oz). This movie would show on television once a year.”

Avilio Chavez, right, and his son Billy, left, in El Paso at the Sun Bowl football game. 

Q: If you could have dinner with one famous person — dead or alive —  who would it be and why?

A: “Benjamin Franklin. I would love to know what inspired him and be able to ask him about the ideas, method, and process he used.”

Q: What are you most proud of?

A: “My son, who has grown up to be a hard worker, a good provider and responsible father.”

Q: How would you like to be remembered?

A: “Someone who was fair, kind and honest. Someone who puts his faith, family and country first.”

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