Lifetime Achievement Award named after the late Jim Sloan

The Valencia County Historical Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award will now be known as the Jim Sloan Lifetime Achievement Award.

The name change was announced at the society’s annual meeting last weekend, after the award was presented to Jim Sloan’s family.

“The space Jim has left behind is unfillable,” said Kathleen Pickering, society member and director of the Belen Public Library. “Because of Jim and his unrelenting dedication to historic properties and the history of Belen, he motivated me to get involved with all kinds of different organizations, including the historical society.

“His advocacy and just total commitment is what’s inspiring us to keep on today.”

Sloan’s son, Jason, accepted the award on behalf of the family, saying his father “loved doing everything history, being a part of the society.”

Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photos

Kathleen Pickering, Valencia County Historical Society member, presents the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award to Jason Sloan, who accepted the honor on behalf of his late father, Jim Sloan.

Also recognized by the society this year were Sandy Schauer with the Rio Abajo Award, Van Ann Moore with the Historic Preservation Award, Stephanie Williams received the Red Brick Award and Egan Ulbricht was named Educator of the Year.

The Rio Abajo Award is given to a society member for long-term service, said VCHS board of directors president Richard Melzer.

“Sandy has been directly involved in the operation (of the society) and a board member for many years,” Melzer said. “She has been a loyal member of the historical society for many years.”

Schauer, the board secretary, moved to Valencia County in 1971, taking a job as a cub reporter working under the late Carter Waid at the then Belen News-Bulletin. Her first assignment was a write-up on seven dead cows.

While gathered around a feed trough on a farm on N.M. 314, the animals were struck by lightening and killed, Schauer said, answering the question on everyone’s mind.

“Fifty-two years later, I’m still here, working as a cub reporter in my own business writing newsletters,” she said with a chuckle. “Things never change, do they?”

Richard Melzer, president of the Valencia County Historical Society’s board of directors, presents board secretary Sandy Schauer with the Rio Abajo Award.

Renowned opera singer and actress Van Ann Moore was given the Historic Preservation Award for her research, writing, directing and starring in her own one-woman musical theater performances, which often portray historical characters.

During her career, Moore said she’s created 25 characters and performances based around them, ranging from Jenny Lind to Sandra Bernhardt.

“Thank you so much for your support through the years,” Moore said to Melzer, who presented the award.

Moore has performed across the world, from Europe to Israel, New Zealand and Australia, he said.

“She’s traveling the world, preserving history for these next generations,” Melzer said.

Richard Melzer, president of the Valencia County Historical Society’s board of directors, presents actress and singer Van Ann Moore with the Preservation Award.

Los Lunas Library Director and society member Cynthia Shetter presented the Red Brick Award to Stephanie Williams, someone she called invaluable to the Friends of the Los Lunas Library organization.

“She is a founding member of the Friends. She helps order the things for the Friends that goes in a little store at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts and that’s where their money generating opportunity comes from,” Shetter said of Williams. “She puts everything out on display, helps during shows at the museum, volunteers at forums, helps get all the tax returns in order for the Friends. She is invaluable for the library and the museum.”

Williams gave thanks to Jim Rickey, the president of the Friends board, who is also a founding member, and to Louis Huning, “who is our leader at the museum. I am honored and proud to have been part of the organization … We have come a long way, and we do an awful lot to help, especially the children’s programs at the library.

“Our little museum shop is a wonderful opportunity to find inexpensive gifts that have all sorts of southwestern and New Mexico motifs. We invite you to come and see our shop and see our exhibits, which change often.

The museum is “right under the water tower” on Main Street in Los Lunas, Williams concluded.

Los Lunas Library Director and Valencia County Historical Society member Cynthia Shetter presents the Red Brick Award to Stephanie Williams.

The society’s Educator of the Year Award was given to Belen High School teacher Egan Ulbricht, who was unable to make the meeting, Pickering said.

“He teaches historical sculpture and historic painting. He gets the students excited about portraiture of famous people in history and has also helped them create amazing portraits,” Pickering said. “I feel like we’re very blessed to have such a teacher, who can combine the talents of artistic expression with the motivation and interest in history in students.”

The recognition also comes with $200 for the teacher.

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Julia M. Dendinger began working at the VCNB in 2006. She covers Valencia County government, Belen Consolidated Schools and the village of Bosque Farms. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists Rio Grande chapter’s board of directors.