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THROUGH IT ALL one thing has remained constant: our goal to celebrate the people doing the work to make Taos and Taos County a better place.

As the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic grip our community and our local businesses, we’ve teamed up with Taos Community Foundation to ask for your individual gift.

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We didn’t get to have our usual community gathering for Tradiciones this year. No mariachi band. No mingling with our friends and leaders. But we did keep the legacy alive. Last Wednesday, October 8 we hosted a private dinner and live broadcast of our 20th Annual Tradiciones where we honored our Unsung Heroes and Citizen of the Year. The event was beautifully produced and emotions ran high in the romantic setting. Special thanks to Taos Community Foundation for their title sponsorship and continued support of our community.

Watch the event video, view the photo galleries, learn more about our 9 Unsung Heroes, and read the 4 editions of this year's Tradiciones series!

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Ted Wiard, a former Taos tennis coach and avid player of the sport, stepped onto a court this summer for the first time in 24 years.

He was more than a little nervous. 

“First it was super awkward.

I was afraid I was going to fall on my butt,” Wiard said. “But really my fear was, I was waiting for a phone call. I worried if I picked up the racket, someone was going to die.”

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For nearly 30 years, Nickie McCarty has been either a teacher, a coach or, most recently, an athletic director. 

Born in Ratón, New Mexico, over the decades McCarty has lent her talents to innumerable students and families in Taos County. 

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For years, people from Taos Pueblo and visitors to the historic village have enjoyed the aroma of freshly baked bread as they walk to the pueblo’s central plaza.

Often the smell comes from a simple house on the corner of the main road, across from the Taos Pueblo government offices on Veteran’s Highway. 

There, Mary Romero spends hours heating up a traditional adobe horno with cedar and baking perfectly rounded loaves. Some she sells as Mary’s Baked Goods at a table set outside the gate to the home she shares with her partner of 34 years, Rodney Concha, a jeweler, and where they raised their daughter Megan, and son Jon Paul. 

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Luzita Trujillo stands comfortably in the yard of her cozy adobe home, and runs her hand along the fine exterior wall surface flecked with straw.

“This was my grandmother’s home,” she said, “and my father grew up here. I actually stuccoed this myself. I did it by hand to make it look like mud,” a practice she said she perfected from the two weeks she once spent volunteering at the annual enjarré (mudding) of San Francisco de Asís Mission Church in Ranchos de Taos.

It’s just one of the many skills and talents that define Trujillo, whose diminutive presence belies her giant heart. Teacher, fabric artist, community activist, dancer, volunteer, tutor –  the list goes on, as noted by Ernestina Córdova, who nominated Trujillo to be one of the 2020 Unsung Heroes project of the Taos News 

 

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In mid-August, David Maes was down in the Ranchos Valley, tending to a 100-tree apple orchard that’s been in his family for generations.

The fruit on the branches blushed with color, signaling the final days of summer and the start of the fall harvest. This year’s is special – as it marks the 100th anniversary since the first tree was planted.

 

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Lots of people want to help homeless, hungry and hurting kids in Taos, but they don’t know where to start. That’s where Florence Miera steps in. Because of her unstinting effort on behalf of Taos youth and families, she was chosen by this year’s Taos News focus group to be one of 2020’s Unsung Heroes.

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When Kathleen Branchal Garcia was growing up, Taos to her was a small place of community, tradition and celebration, a place where neighbors gather with friends and those friends become family. 

It has been her work and honor over the years, she says, to maintain all of what used to be, what is and what will be Taos. 

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The year 2020 has unquestionably brought community to the forefront with its extraordinary challenges and tests of faith and good citizenship. In such trying times there are many who rise to the top, like cream, and enrich the lives of those around them.

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David Anthony Mapes opened his eponymous fine art gallery in November of 2011. The space served as both a showroom for his New Mexico Furniture Company and an art gallery. He has revitalized the Taos Gallery Association, while helping create more community between the artists themselves. 

Longtime Wilder Nightingale Fine Art gallerist and artist Rob Nightingale (a 2019 Unsung Hero himself), said he’s happy to hear Mapes is being recognized. 

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Every year, the Taos News and its generous advertisers shine the light on the folks doing the good in our communities. This year’s smaller, socially-distanced ceremony was live streamed from Cooking Studio Taos, where nine Unsung Heroes and the Citizen of the Year were celebrated. Reverend Dr. Ted Wiard was named the 2020 Citizen of the Year.

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Every year, the Taos News and our generous advertisers shine the light on the folks doing the good in our communities. Over four weeks and four unique issues (LeyendasRaicesArtes and Heroes), we recount stories of tireless effort and selfless work helping others, concluding with our Citizen of the Year.

 

We invite you to join us for a special livestream event on the Taos News Facebook page and Taos News website home page on Wednesday, Oct 7, 2020, at 5:30 PM MDT to honor 9 Unsung Heroes of Taos, and to name the 2020 Citizen of the Year!  There is no cost to attend this virtual event!

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Every year, the Taos News and our generous advertisers shine the light on the folks doing the good in our communities. Over four weeks and four unique issues (Leyendas, Raices, Artes and Heroes), we recount stories of tireless effort and selfless work helping others, concluding with our Citizen of the Year.

Heroism represents the best of human nature no matter the perceived severity of a situation or need. Acts of kindness and courage are born from reaction and action. Such deeds, however, can often go …

It doesn’t take long for Francis A. Córdova to make people around him laugh. He has a gift for levity, poking gentle fun at himself and those around him. 

 
 
 
 
 
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