by Joy Gipson
TRINIDAD — On December 2 the Trinidad Hispanic Las Animas County Chamber of Commerce held their 29th annual Community Award Banquet at the Holiday Inn in Trinidad. They honored eight deserving recipients with plaques for their excellence in serving the community.
Kay Bazanele, owner and operator of the Trinidad Greenhouses was honored with the Women In Business award. Bazanele is a lifelong resident of Trinidad who started her first business as a seamstress and later in life changed her direction to horticulture and flower arrangement when she bought her current business.
Julie Mattorano of Southern Colorado Family Center, a nonprofit group that focuses on bringing families and the community members together, won the Civic Award. She is a native of Trinidad and a passionate member of the community. Mattorano is the owner/Director of Stepping Stones LLC, an educational and preventive based organization working with juveniles and adults involved in the criminal justice system, giving them opportunities to change their behavior and become productive members of society.
The late Thomas Martinez, a native of Colorado, was honored posthumously with the Education Award for his decades as an educator and sports coach at Trinidad High School and Trinidad Junior High School. Even in his retirement he continued to coach at Trinidad Catholic school and Primero High School. His daughter, Jeannie Velasquez, accepted his plaque.
Dr. Joseph Jimenez, M.D. was presented with the Hispanic Leadership of the Year Award. Dr. Joe, as he is affectionately referred to in the community, is a physician at Mt. San Raphael Hospital Clinic and Hospital, and also for the Trinidad State Nursing Home. Jimenez has also been a classroom instructor and coach for Trinidad High School, Holy Trinity Academy, and Trinidad Catholic School.
Bob Butero, owner of Stay-Fit Family Center, was honored with the Business Award. Butero started his business in 1988 and moved to his current location, 231 W. Main street in 1990. Butero stated, “We have tried, over the years, to run a clean facility at the lowest rate possible. Over the years I have been blessed with family and a good group of people who have supported my business. Hopfully, we have been able to make Trinidad a little bit healthier.”
The First Responder Award went to the City of Trinidad Fire Department and was accepted by Captain Anthony Trammell and Engineer Matthew Comden for their service to the community.
Shianne Armijo and Joseph Archuleta, two students from the Primero RE-2 School District received the Rising Star Award for excellence in academics.
The evenings guest speaker was, retired Judge Jesse Manzanares, who was a local district court judge, and a trial lawyer. He also taught law in the subjects of civil procedure, evidence, municipal law, real estate law, trial tactics, torts, ethics, and federal jurisdiction.