Congratulations to all of the individuals and organizations honored during this week’s Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce banquet, especially outgoing President Clint Cone and incoming President Ekta Bhakta, as well as executive director Chad Ingram and the Chamber Staff. It was great to see such a large crowd. Congratulations to all of the other award recipients: Albertsons, Sendero, Clint Cone, Kathy Jones and Browning Garage Doors.
I had the honor of presenting the very first annual Janell Whitlock Lifetime Achievement award…to none other than Janell Whitlock.
Janell has previously served as a City Councilor, County Commissioner and Municipal Judge. As an elected official, she always voted her convictions and did all of the research she could before each and every vote. She has been highly involved in nearly every service organization in Carlsbad.
In her position with the Chamber of Commerce, she played an essential role in getting Carlsbad designated as an Age Friendly Community, which was the first such designation in the state.
It was a very extensive process – many cities have appointed teams of individuals and spent tens of thousands of dollars on achieving their Age Friendly designation. Janell Whitlock did it with a small team of volunteers, and she did it well – so well that other communities contact us regularly for advice on how to achieve their designation.
Under Janell’s watch, the Age Friendly effort has also continued after the designation has been achieved. An Age Friendly community is the type of place that builds Friendship Park – a playground that serves those with disabilities. An Age Friendly community holds seminars for families facing dementia, job fairs for seniors and forums to address suicide for veterans and teenagers.
On a more personal level, Janell always finds time to help, whether it is taking a friend’s dog to the vet or welcoming a new potential retiree to the community. She is one of the most community-minded individuals you could ever met. At any community event, she would typically look for any newcomers and join them to make sure they felt more comfortable. After the event, Janell would stay behind to help clean-up afterwards.
Janell Whitlock is the embodiment of class. She’s done a lifetime’s worth of good work for this community, for the state’s elderly and for the citizens of New Mexico as a whole. It is was an honor for me to present her with the Chamber of Commerce’s first of these awards, which has deservedly been named in her honor.
On Saturday, I had the opportunity to join the Rev. Ora Stearns Smith at Hillcrest Baptist Church to join in the annual “Woman of God Day.” This year, the following outstanding individuals were honored: Allison Gifford, Christine Williams, Ethel Hurd, Honesty Lopez, Leila Gomez, Patricia Jacquez, Renetta Fierro and Ronda Troyer. Of course, the Rev. Smith herself is another outstanding individual who does so much good for Carlsbad. Congratulations to everyone recognized this year.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway