BELEN — A longtime Belen pharmacist was recognized for his outstanding service to the community.

The New Mexico Pharmacist Association presented Wilfred Chavez, the owner of

Jesse Jones | News-Bulletin photo
Wilfred Chavez, owner of Share n’ Care Pharmacy in Belen, was presented with the Ernie Welch Award for his outstanding pharmacy and public health service and for contributing to the welfare of New Mexicans.

Share n’ Care Pharmacy in Belen, with the Ernie Welch Award for his outstanding pharmacy and public health service and for contributing to the welfare of New Mexicans.

“It’s a real honor; its real humbling,” says Chavez of his recognition.

The New Mexico Pharmacist Association honored Chavez at its 94th annual convention in Albuquerque. The award is named for Ernest C. Welch, the first president of NMPhA.

“The workday does not end when the pharmacy closes,” the association said of Chavez. “He takes deliveries on his way home and has been known to open the pharmacy in the middle of the night to fill prescriptions for an individual in need.

“His customers are not only his patients; they are an extension of his family. You may walk into his pharmacy unknown, but you will walk out with a new friend.”

Chavez was nominated by current NMPhA members, Mona Ghattas with Duran’s Central Pharmacy and John Castillo with Victor’s Pharmacy. Ghattas presented Chavez with the award.

Prior to his 54 years of working as a pharmacist, Chavez grew up in the south valley of Albuquerque and attended the University of New Mexico. He originally planned on becoming a dentist but dental school was too costly. He changed his degree to pharmacy and the rest is history.

When asked what makes a good pharmacist, Chavez said, “somebody who cares for people and serves people. That’s what it’s all about; it’s all about trust, and giving back to people, basically, that’s what I enjoy.”

Chavez has worked in Belen as a pharmacist for more than 50 years. Before he opened his own business, he worked at the Buckland Pharmacy for three years.

The Share n’ Care Pharmacy was originally called the C-1 Pharmacy until Chavez sold it to Horizon Pharmacy. He bought it back and changed the name to the Share n’ Care Pharmacy two years later when Horizon went out of business.

It is one of the state’s few compounding pharmacies outside of Albuquerque. If doctors prescribe medicines that pharmaceutical companies do not make, compounding pharmacies will make custom medications for patients.

They specialize in hormone replacement for men and women and also do wound care for people who have trouble-healing wounds. They also do veterinary compounding sometimes as well.

Besides Chavez’s day-to-day job of running his company, he contributes his time and knowledge statewide.

He has been a consultant pharmacist for more than 30 facilities and organizations around the state, including Valencia County, Belen, Rio Communities and the Bosque Farms fire departments. He also donates his time to the Boy’s and Girl’s Ranches.

For about 40 years, Chavez has been a preceptor for UNM pharmacy students learning to put into practice the techniques and theories they learned in college. Once a month, UNM will send a student for one month to train and learn about retail and compounding.

Besides Chavez and his pharmacy technicians, his daughter, Desiree Chavez Hodges, also works at the pharmacy. She is a doctor of pharmacy and has a business degree from the Anderson School of Management at UNM.

“She is knowledgeable in business, and she’s knowledgeable in pharmacy and she’s really well recognized in the pharmacy field,” Chavez says of his daughter. “She is a very brilliant girl.”

He hopes that his daughter will take over the pharmacy whenever he decides to retire.

“I’ll probably just continue on doing my work as long as I can, and probably continue to do a little part-time work for her just to help her out and stuff. But God willing, she’ll take over the whole business.”

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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.