SANTA FE – On Thursday, November 16, 2023, New Mexico Magazine partnered with KOB 4 to showcase the New Mexico True Heroes 2023 honorees in a special YouTube Premier Live broadcast

This event featured 11 exceptional individuals who have distinguished themselves as beacons of light in their communities in the areas of advocacy, restorative justice, education, volunteerism, culture, and more.  

Below is a complete list of the 2023 New Mexico True Heroes: 

Carmen Baca  

Author and legacy High School Teacher 

Cañoncito de las Manuelitas  

The longtime West Las Vegas High School English teacher and author crafts stories that celebrate and preserve her community’s special culture.  


Holly and Noelle Chavez 

Community Caregivers 

Belen | H2 Academic Solutions & Adult Resource Assessment Center 

This mother-and-daughter team built a center in Belén where they connect struggling youth and adults with resources and support.  


Nancy De Santis 


Santa Fe | Horses for Heroes 

Nancy De Santis and her husband, Rick Iannucci, strive to improve the lives of veterans and active military through the healing help of horses.  


Leba Freed 


Albuquerque | Wheels Museum 

The founder of the Wheels Museum honors the past while fueling the revival of the \ Albuquerque Rail Yards. 


Mattee Jim 

Social Justice Activist 

Albuquerque | First Nations Community Health Source 

This activist creates change that paves the way for members of the LGBTQ+ community to thrive. 


Carolyn Olson 


Carlsbad | Special Olympics New Mexico 

For more than half a century, the Special Olympics coach has won gold in the hearts of her athletes and everyone else who knows her.  


Elizabeth Potter 


Ruidoso | Food 4 Kids 

The founder of Ruidoso Food 4 Kids stepped up to the plate to feed the children of Ruidoso and beyond. 


Dr. Shawn Secatero 


To'hajiilee | UNM Native American Leadership in Education 

The founder of Native American Leadership in Education empowers students to inspire others. 


Lynda Spencer 


Bloomfield | Blanco Elementary School 

The Blanco Elementary School principal doubled down on teacher development to improve student math scores. 


Richard Sturgeon 


Los Alamos | Jemez Riders 

The founder of the Jemez Riders motorcycle club promotes safety awareness throughout New Mexico.  


The December issue of New Mexico Magazine will feature all 11 New Mexico True Heroes and KOB 4 will showcase the honorees during special broadcast segments throughout December. Read more about the 2023 New Mexico True Heroes here.