Cannon commander honors Portales resident

Cannon Connections: Alisa Boswell Col. Albert “Buck” Elton II, of Cannon Air Force Base, left, shares childhood stories with local resident Marshall Stinnett on Tuesday afternoon at the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Luncheon. Stinnett was honored with two awards during the event, one from Cannon and one from the chamber.

By Alisa Boswel: Cannon Connections

Longtime Portales resident Marshall Stinnett received back-to-back honors Tuesday afternoon at the Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Quarterly Luncheon at Vines Italian Restaurant.

Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry presented him with an award for his years of dedicated service to the Portales Military Affairs Committee. Immediately following, guest speaker Col. Albert “Buck” Elton II presented him with an award on behalf of Cannon Air Force Base airmen.

“He’s worked here in Portales for five decades to ensure Portales thrived,” Terry told his audience before presenting the award. “He has been a businessman and employer in Portales most of my adult life.”

Terry said Stinnett has been the chair of the Military Affairs Committee since 1971 and was publisher of the Portales News-Tribune for 13 years, negotiating the contracts that started the Cannon newspaper during that time.

Terry said Stinnett has also been on the Eastern New Mexico Board of Regents since 2001 and has worked closely with the chamber for many years, along with being active on other city and county committees.

Terry said Stinnett has always realized the importance of Cannon and worked hard to make members of the base feel welcome within the community.

Elton presented Stinnett with an award honoring him for “sustained and enduring support.”

“It was really a great honor,” Stinnett said of receiving the award. “This is an outstanding group of patriotic defenders of our freedoms and it really was an honor to receive this award from them.”

His wife, Helen, said Stinnett was deserving of the award.

“Everything he does is always for the Portales community,” she said. “That’s always his first thought is Portales and making it a better place to live.”

Elton spoke to the room of more than 50 guests about present things happening with Cannon personnel.

“We’re 10,000 strong at Cannon,” Elton said. “We told you when we came here, we were coming strong and we meant it.”

Elton told the group about his upbringing in a small town environment and about following in his grandfather’s and father’s footsteps by joining the military.

“I’m very comfortable in a small-town environment,” he said. “We love it here. Cannon is the perfect location for AFSOC.”

Elton proceeded to explain to local residents that the Air Force Special Operations Command makes up only 4 percent of the Air Force population and that at any given time, 30 percent of the special operations personnel are deployed.

“Our priorities are the same as the rest of the Air Force’s,” Elton said. “We win tonight’s fight is our goal. We are trying to degrade the forces that are trying to harm us.”

Terry said he felt the first chamber luncheon was a great success and he feels positive about the luncheons continuing regularly.

“Everything I heard from the people I talked to today was very positive and we had the numbers we had hoped for,” Terry said. “We’re going to get even better at it but it was very successful this first time around.”