Governor Susana Martinez announced today that the New Mexico Tourism Department opened nominations for the 2017 New Mexico True Heroes program. The initiative has recognized 13 New Mexicans since its inception in 2014. Honorees will be recognized at the 2017 Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, December 16.

“The New Mexico True Heroes program is such a special way to recognize and honor New Mexicans across the state who have shown exceptional dedication and service,” Governor Susana Martinez said. “This program allows us to highlight those in our community who are doing such amazing things.”

The New Mexico True Heroes nomination form opens today at The nomination form asks two key questions: “What makes this person a New Mexico True Hero?” and “How have the nominee’s efforts made a difference in his or her community?”

“The New Mexico True Heroes program gives us an amazing opportunity to say that yes, we have beautiful natural wonders in our state, but that our people are what make us truly special,” Tourism Department Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Latham said. “We are blessed to have so many kind and warm-hearted individuals who make up this state, and who make visiting New Mexico such a one-of-a-kind experience.”

The 2016 New Mexico True Heroes were: Nicole Chavez-Lucero (Albuquerque) for her work to make New Mexico safer from violent criminals, Michelle and Clay Schroff (Albuquerque) for advocating for and serving children in need, Kenneth Riege (Gallup), a U.S. Air Force veteran, for his dedication to serving his fellow veterans, and Dr. Kathleen Ramsay (Española) who founded both the New Mexico Wildlife Center and the Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation.

Nominations remain open through Friday, September 22. A panel of judges from around the state will determine the top ten finalists, and four New Mexico True Heroes will be named this fall. 

"Meeting the True Heroes and learning their stories the past few years has been nothing short of amazing,” Jeff Siembieda, Gildan New Mexico Bowl executive director said. “We are honored and excited to once again partner with the New Mexico Tourism Department to recognize and showcase some of our state's magnificent people at the Land of Enchantment's premier annual sports event.”

Gildan New Mexico Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN.