Entering the corridors of the well sized and dimly lit room that held many finely dressed gentlemen and dozens of dazzling ladies of all ages, the room was filled with a vibrancy that only one type of music would produce in almost any situation; and that would be Jazz. The Essentially Ellington Jazz Band that consists of many talented young ladies and gents from high schools from around the country, with a few familiar faces from our very own Nogales High School performed. The Jazz music filled the air and enshrouded the atmosphere with a nostalgic feeling hinting at how the 50’s might’ve felt when the military troops would host their elegant dance gatherings in great ballrooms.
A subtle respectful introduction by the well disciplined Law Enforcement Color Guard initiated as they marched with dignity in silence while holding the colors of our very own country and state; all the way to the passionate singing of our National Anthem sung by Ms. Maria Martinez; to Father Pat Maitrejean’s words of peace and comfort that spoke about gratitude towards the brave men and women that serve to protect our community with such sincerity that was felt throughout the room . The speech then continued with Mr. Rudy Piña, giving the entire introduction to what led onto a gracious evening dinner as a very warm welcoming start for the entirety of the celebration itself. As the appropriate brief introduction speech ended, the microphone fell quiet to turn over the floor to the live music and chitter chatter of all the people that attended the evening in honor of the Rotary Club.
The appetizers and drinks began to roll in with poise as the waiters and waitresses slithered throughout the white tables and chairs laying down small plates of mouth-watering salads. As the people quenched their thirst and filled their stomachs with hearty food, the raffle started as two gentlemen went around choosing random individuals to reach into the hat and blindly pick out a number to then offer a prize to the chosen one. As laughs complimenting humor broke out, the feast concluded and opened the curtains to the main part of the event. With a total of twelve award recipients that consisted of multiple branches from Nogales Police Department, U.S. Border Patrol, County Sheriff’s, DPS Officers, Customs, and Nogales Fire Department, the crowd smiled and clapped as each brave soul would walk up to shake the hands of the gentlemen up on the stage, receive their award, and then stand in front of the rest to be recognized and photographed. Not being able to mention the outstanding achievements of these designated dozen of law enforcers and protectors of the community, it was a thrilling moment in itself to be present on such an occasion to witness these men and women behind a uniform and badge mingle like anyone else you see out in public. It gave a broader perspective as to it not being a popularity game to the ones with blind eyes but an appreciation and feeling of respect to those badge holders that truly serve without expecting anything in return.
Like everything in life, you have your well-known individuals, your well-connected squads of multiple people, and the lone warriors that have the drive to always do the right thing no matter the opposition. We must remember that just because a man or woman may have a glistening badge and outfitted to lay down the law, not all strive to be the best and not all are true warriors of justice. It must be within their hearts, souls, and minds to offer such loyalty to a just cause, and the majority in this room, during this event, exhuberated that very heart I speak of, and I was proud to have witnessed that. Thank you for a lovely evening. Congratulations to the 11 public officials honored for the extraordinary work: Special Agent Brandon Lesky was nominated by the Drug Enforcement Administration, The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office nominated Sgt. Santiago Gonzales, Deputy County Attorney Kimberly Hunley, Volunteer Michael Young was nominated by the Patagonia Marshal’s Office, The Nogales Police Department nominated Officer Oscar Mesta, Jr., The Nogales Fire Department nominated Fernando Urias, Special Agent Brian McNulty of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection nominated Officer Andres Garcia, Agent Jacob Stukenberg was nominated by the Border Patrol, The Arizona Rangers nominated Capt. Richard Clifton of Sierra Vista, Trooper Cosme Ibarra was nominated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety.
-Daniel Grambs Jr.