Serviceman gives county medal

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

Curry County Commission Chairman Ed Perales accepted an honorary medal on behalf of the county from Lt. Richard Benavidez on Tuesday.

Benavidez, who is employed at the Curry County Adult Detention Center, recently spent 15 months serving in Washington, D.C., with his National Guard unit. The native New Mexican, who has been a Clovis resident since 1986, said he performed clerk duties from his station in Alexandria, Va.

The 44-year-old county employee said the bronze medal was a gift from the New Mexico National Guard to his employer for allowing him to serve his country. “I think it is a great symbol of unity,” Benavidez said. “It lets everyone know we are a team.”

The large medal’s blue velvet case featured the phrase “Peace and freedom will prevail.” Benavidez received a standing ovation from the commissioners, elected officials and other attendees.

Additional agenda items discussed:
• Doug Bowman, undersheriff, reported Sheriff Roger Hatcher is in transit to Clovis after successfully completing 12 weeks of FBI training. He added three employees of the sheriff’s department are part of the team investigating the Laura McNaughton murder.

• Rhonda Bookout, county treasurer, reported her office has collected approximately $6 million in property taxes, which is over half of the total billed amount.

• Danny Davis, road superintendent, requested approval for a buried sewer line to be placed in the north ditch along CR8. He added CRK will be closed for through traffic for two to three weeks once construction begins. He said a public announcement would be made before the road is closed. The commissioners unanimously approved the request.

• Miranda Chavez, grant facilitator, reported the county will receive $50,000 in grant money for the Curry County Health Council. According to Chavez, the money will be utilized for health fairs, health summits, postage, to hire speakers and media campaigns.

• Dick Smith, county manager, reported a groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for January on the special events center at the Curry County Fairgrounds.

• Lance Pyle, indigent administrator, was granted approval on 10 indigent medical claims totaling $14,420.57 from Plains Regional Medical Center.