Facundo Valdez (2013) is best known for his pioneering work in community health as the founder of the Social Work Program at New Mexico Highlands University and as executive director of Sangre de Cristo Community Mental Health Services. His leadership has been appreciated locally and nationally in his service to the Con Alma Foundation and as a founding member of the National Council de la Raza. Valdez has served on the NMAA Concilio for over 15 years and as commissioner for Acequia de San Jose along the Pecos River. Although he is retiring from the Concilio, he has been appointed as the founding member of the Consejo de las Acequias to advise on matters relating to acequia governance.
John Carangelo (2012) is a parciante of the Acequia de la Joya in Socorro County. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts to protect acequias in his region. One of his many accomplishments was a protest of a water transfer by Intel Corporation from the Socorro area to Río Rancho. He was also the lead protestant in Carangelo v. City of Albuquerque. As part of a coalition, Carangelo challenged State Engineer approval of a permit for Albuquerque to divert 96,000 AFY from the Río Grande, which would impair downstream water users.
Palemon Martinez (2010) is well known as a leader in the Northern New Mexico Stockmen’s Association and the Taos Valley Acequia Association. Prior to that he had a long, distinguished career with the Cooperative Extension Service. Martinez was one of several early founders of the TVAA and has served as president for over 30 years. He was instrumental in achieving legal recognition of historic water sharing customs in the water-right adjudication process. He also served as the lead acequia representative in negotiations that resulted in the Abeyta settlement with Taos Pueblo. Understanding that no party achieved all they wanted in the settlement, Martinez and his TVAA colleagues persisted by attending over a hundred meetings per year relating to water-rights adjudication.