New Mexico's Pet Resource WINTER 2008


Eleven Honored at 2007 Milagro Awards
Event Draws Record Attendance

By Monica Garcia

The 2007 Milagro Awards event sponsored by Animal Protection of New Mexico (APNM) honored the exemplary accomplishments of eleven winners, ten human and one canine, at its sold-out banquet and awards presentation at the Eldorado Hotel in Santa Fe on October 6, 2007.

Primatologist Carole Noon, founder and director of Save the Chimps, was the event’s keynote speaker. The Milagro audience was captivated by her narration over a video that illustrated what some of her rescued chimpanzees had gone through a few decades ago as test subjects for the U.S. Air Force. Chimpanzees were also used as live crash test subjects when the effects of automobile seat belts were being studied. Noon has created the world’s largest permanent sanctuary, in the form of 12 four-acre islands, for rescued chimpanzees in Ft. Pierce, Fla.

Dedication to animals, like that of Dr. Noon, is a characteristic APNM believes is very important to publicly recognize in individuals.

First held in 2000, the Milagro Awards honors those nominated from all over New Mexico for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of animals.

The 2007 Milagro Award winners are:

Advocacy Award— Deborah James, Rio Rancho
Animal Award— Stubby Harris, Embudo
Board of Directors’ Award— Tamsin Faith Bemis, Albuquerque  (Posthumous)
Direct Animal Services Award— Jemez Valley Animal Amigos, Jemez Springs
Executive Director’s Award— Governor Bill Richardson, Santa Fe
Humane Citizen Award— Christopher Willett, Santa Fe
Humane Education Award— Lannie Alexander, Albuquerque
Lawmaking Advocacy Award— Rep. Justine Fox-Young, Albuquerque & Rep. Tom Swisstack, Rio Rancho
Mary Jane García Champion for Animals Award— Albuquerque City Councilor Sally Mayer, Albuquerque
Media Award— Sunny Aris, MTD Radio, Ruidoso

Two new, permanent Milagro Awards were presented this year.

The Mary Jane García Champion for Animals Milagro Award was created to honor exceptional leadership, courage and persistence in the face of opposition resulting in positive change for animals. A former Milagro Award winner, the senator was given a plaque engraved with the likeness of the sterling silver award medallion, to commemorate the creation of that award in her name.

The Humane Citizen Milagro Award was created to honor efforts by a private citizen to promote the humane treatment of animals using a variety of approaches and methods.

Before the program began, many of the almost 300 attendees participated in a silent, but enthusiastic, auction of animal artwork by students from Santa Fe’s Oz School. The auction was a great success, with sales totaling almost $3,000. Proceeds were split with the school.

The awards presentations included brief video montages, and interviews, that provided personal background on each of the award winner’s work on behalf of animals. Winners’ videos may be viewed at 2007/winners.php.

Each award winner received a sterling silver medallion created by a San Juan Pueblo silversmith, personalized with the hoof or paw print of the animal appropriate to the winner. The Animal Award winner, a young pitbull mix named Stubby, received a sterling dog tag.

For weeks before the event, Stubby’s human was nervous about how his pup would behave herself among so many people in a four-star hotel. This usually-rambunctious dog lives on the fringes of a village, sixteen feet from the flowing Rio Grande, and has a pasture for a front yard.

Every award winner had an “ambassador” assigned to him or her. Stubby’s ambassador summed up the little charmer’s behavior in terms that strongly suggested she comported herself like royalty of the 1940s.

Exactly one week later, we’re told, Stubby was agitated and restless on Saturday night. Her human thinks she wanted to do it all over again.

The next Milagro Awards will take place in 2009, the year of APNM’s 30th anniversary. For more information, please visit

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