2017 Honorees

2017 Inductees

The Senior Hall of Fame represents an elite and unique group of seniors who share many years of commitment to volunteerism and public service. Using their considerable skills, life experiences, and energies, each years of  inductees have worked tirelessly to improve quality of life for people of all ages. They function as role models of caring and selfless dedication, leaving their helping and creative mark on our schools, hospitals and social agencies. They have protected our environment, enriched our cultural life, provided guidance for our young people, and brought hope and meaning to the lives of the lonely, disadvantaged and elderly.

Cathy Elliott

Cathy Elliott is a lifetime resident of Albuquerque, and a 1971 graduate of the University of New Mexico.  Her most favorite jobs are being a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and dental hygienist. In the summer of 2016, at the age of 67, she went to Ghana, Africa to do some volunteer preventive dental care for 300 people in very remote villages in the Volta Region of Ghana.

She founded Dental Care in Your Home, Inc. in 2010 and became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit to provide the access to dental care for homebound and special needs people of all ages in their own home or care facility.  These vulnerable individuals are basically neglected by our dental community.  When they have oral pain, infection or loose teeth or dentures, it effects their overall health and enjoyment of nutritious food, and also makes them more isolated as their ability to talk, eat and smile goes away. Their quality of life is compromised

Our professional services help the patient as well as their family and care providers. One such patient had Stage 4 lung cancer, and while in the hospital, his dentures were accidentally thrown out.  His daughter could not get his regular dentist to go to the hospital to make new dentures.  She found our website and called to see if we could help her father.  We went to the hospital to take impressions of his mouth and delivered his new dentures to his home a week later.  We continued to adjust the dentures until he could eat the foods he wanted to eat comfortably.  He passed away four months later, but his daughter was so grateful that he enjoyed his last months.  She is passionate about everyone deserving a healthy smile.

Debbie Johnson

Debbie Johnson, founder and CEO of TenderLove Community Center (TLCC) is an immigrant African-American who experienced winter homelessness in Indiana State shortly after arriving in this country. As a direct result of her experience, Debbie recognized that there are as many reasons for homelessness as there are individuals, and the need must be met by more than simply feeding and housing people.  She brought like-minded individuals together to incorporate TenderLove Community Center as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to help homeless and low-income women achieve stable, self-supporting lives for themselves and their families.

Debbie possesses a Bachelor Degree in Science and is currently studying for a Master Dual Degree in Public Health/Social Work.  She is a tireless, impassioned, and collaborative leader, much-loved by the students in TLCC, able to work with very diverse clients and staff, and inspire others to volunteer and donate.

Debbie currently serves on the board of Near North Valley Neighborhood Association and Albuquerque Continuum of Care {CoC}.  In 2015, she received a Leadership of the Year Award, Honorable Mention, from the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness and the Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Award for Achievement in Business and Community Services from National Congress of Negro Women Albuquerque Chapter.  She received the “Priceless award from Steelbridge, Albuquerque, in August of 2017, and a Finalist for a 2017 Stevie Award, for Female Innovator of the Year Government or Non-Profit10 or Less Employees”.

Joan Punt

I came to New Mexico in 2000 by way of Michigan, St. Louis, Los Angeles and Phoenix, but i’m here to stay. With all these relocations, as a single woman with no children or pets, volunteering has been the one consistent activity I would do to make friends and give value to my non-working life. Over the years, I’ve ]been involved with many non-profits here in Albuquerque: American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, Soroptimists International, and the Albuquerque Rotary Club (with which I am still involved). Silver Horizons, however, is where I found my home. I became a part of Silver Horizons in 2009 when my friend, Maralee Self, a Silver Horizons board member, asked me to help them with their Senior Hall of Fame silent auction  That was a special activity for me and soon I, too, was a board member.

Silver Horizons’ mission of serving low-income seniors really resonated with me. I grew up in a very low-income area of Northern Michigan where food pantries were essential to many seniors survival. At Silver Horizons, I could be a part of that and give back with the same kind of help that my own family needed back then. Although our Silver Horizons Senior Food Markets are substantially better than the prepackaged box of staples we had received!

I find great personal fulfillment in working with the many other dedicated volunteers we have at Silver Horizons, especially Ron Hidalgo, our executive director who takes us to new and exhausting heights in our work with New Mexico seniors.

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