Contact: Noelle Bartl at 505.562.2412
PORTALES—Eastern New Mexico University presented its ENMU Foundation Awards during the ENMU Foundation 31st Annual Homecoming Breakfast on Saturday, Sept. 30.
Don and Gertrude Davis of Portales, owners of Valley Furniture, received the Business of the Year award; Roy and Leona Isler of Roswell received the Philanthropists of the Year award; and Bill Joy of Portales received the Volunteer of the Year award.
Below are profiles of each recipient:
Business of the Year
Don and Gertrude Davis opened Valley Furniture in 1957. Starting out repairing and selling used televisions, Don later expanded the product line to include other electronics; in 1965 they added appliances, and in 1970 a full line of furniture. In 1999, their son, Scott, moved back to Portales to help with the store. Scott has been managing the business for three years.
"You have to give back no matter what size community you live in," explained Scott. "The University is extremely important to Portales, not just economically but socially and culturally, too." The Davis family firmly believes that Portales and the public school system would be very different if ENMU didn't call Portales home.
Valley Furniture believes in supporting the community. The family has been consistently generous to ENMU for many years supporting KENW-TV, Bench Club, Friends of Music and ENMU. Valley Furniture is a Charter Member of Foundation Flagships (a corporate giving club for the ENMU Foundation). They enjoy supporting various projects for both the public school and ENMU student organizations. "The decisions we make at the store affect many families," stated Scott. And the contributions they have made to the community have had a dynamic effect on even more families in the region. "Where would KENW and ENMU be," asked Scott, "if it wasn't for the additional support from the community?"
The family is also dedicated to volunteering. Scott is a deacon at Brazos Street Church of Christ in Portales, and is a member of the Portales Rotary Club and president of Crime Stoppers. Don and Gertrude spend most of their year helping to rebuild churches and homes hit with disasters via the New Mexico Men's Baptist Association. Don has been to New Orleans six times and has recently been helping to rebuild a church in Las Cruces and homes in Hatch, N.M.
Philanthropists of the Year
Roy and Leona Isler
Roy Isler of Roswell was raised on his parents' farm eight miles northwest of Grady. He has always had a strong commitment to education. After graduating from Grady High School in 1938, Roy attended ENMU for two years before transferring to Texas Tech to earn a BS degree in 1942. After graduation, Roy joined the Air Force and was assigned to the South Pacific where he spent more than two years. He was discharged in December 1945. In 1957, he later returned to ENMU to earn a Master of Arts in education administration and secondary education.
Before going to the South Pacific, Roy taught pre-flight to aviation cadets in Santa Anna, Calif. It was there that he met Leona who was working for Douglas Aircraft in Long Beach. They were married June 11, 1943.
In 1946, Roy accepted a teaching position at San Jon, N.M. He was there two years before he left to become the managing partner in the concession store at Conchas Dam. He and his family were there for nine years.
Roy worked in the Tucumcari and Estancia schools before moving to Livermore, Calif. There he became the administrator of the Regional Occupational Program for Eastern Alameda County. This encompassed three cities with a school population of over 25,000 students. He enjoyed this position until his retirement in 1978.
Leona worked at Conchas Dam as reservation clerk for the lodge and cabins, cashier in the coffee shop, clerked and cashiered the stores, ordered supplies and merchandise, and did the bookkeeping. In Tucumcari, she owned a ladies dress shop. Leona started her passion for oil painting while in Tucumcari. In Livermore, she owned and operated a successful employment agency. Leona presently teaches oil painting for the city of Roswell at the Adult and Senior Center. She has paintings at The Gallery and on loan to the Chamber of Commerce in Roswell.
Their son, Reid Allen, was born in 1947. He was killed in the line of duty in Vietnam in 1968. Reid was rendering aid and assistance to a wounded Marine under heavy fire. He was posthumously honored with a Bronze Star Medal for his heroic achievement. In 1972, the couple decided that their commitment to education was so strong that they would include ENMU as the sole beneficiary of their estate. In 2005, the couple made a generous gift to the ENMU Foundation establishing a Charitable Gift Annuity. Their philanthropic generosity will establish the Reid Allen Isler Memorial Scholarship Fund for education, fine arts and pre-med students.
Roy speaks highly of his former professors and administrators including Dewey Langston, Leroy Pinnell, C.B. Wivel, Ira Ihde, Carl Parker, Thelma Mallory, P.M. Bailey, Henry Hahn, Dean Cole, Dean O'Donnell, O.M. Williamson, Warren Watkins, Guy Wade, and the list goes on. They attribute their "reasonably successful" life to ENMU. They both adamantly stated in unison, "It is time to give back."
Volunteer of the Year
Bill Joy started his years at ENMU in 1966 as the head athletic trainer and equipment manager. He and his wife, Marilyn, have enjoyed their years in Portales and being involved with ENMU athletics. Bill also spent years teaching physical education classes to ENMU students while he continued to be the head athletic trainer until his retirement in 1991.
Bill has been an active member of Bench Club since the beginning, as well as the former rodeo sponsor/coach for three years. Many ENMU sports fan will know Bill as the guy with the loud air horn at football games. He purchased the Bangkok Taxi Horn in New Deli, India in 1960.
Bill was in the Navy for four years assigned to the military air transport service crew as an electrician. After the Navy, he went to college at Humboldt State University in California to earn his B.S. in physical education. Later, Bill earned his master's at ENMU in 1973.
As a volunteer, Bill has helped prepare the beef with Buck Wilson for over 28 years for the annual ENMU Foundation "Burying of the Beef." Bill provides the metal box he built to cook the beef and collects the mesquite wood for the pit beforehand. Buck and Bill use their magic hands to prepare and season the beef before lowering it in the ground to cook for 24 hours. Those who attend know that this is the best beef anywhere and return to enjoy the event every year.
Bill has served on the Roosevelt County Fair Pioneer Board for the last five years. He and his wife, Marilyn, have a daughter, Lori Roberts, and two grandsons, Tyler Roberts and Kodi Joy. They live in Portales on their three acres with their two horses, Poco and Wayno. Bill loves to play golf (every day if possible) and he attends all the high school and university games.
Recently, Bill and Marilyn established the Myrtle Joy Sports Medicine Scholarship in memory of his mother.