By Casey Peacock: Freedom Newspapers
T.Z. Duncan, who came to Roosevelt County in 1936, was named Pioneer of the Year during a reception held Friday evening at the Memorial Building in Portales.
Local musician Chris Harrell kicked off the festivities with a medley of songs that celebrated the pioneer spirit of nominees Duncan and Irene Harth.
Harrell, who served as master of ceremonies, wrote a song for each of the nominees and during the final verse of the last song performed, he announced that Duncan had been chosen to receive the Pioneer of the Year award.
“I think it’s one of the greatest honors a person could receive in this county,” said Duncan on receiving the award. “I feel really humbled.”
Duncan, who farmed and had a dairy in the Causey area, was surprised to have won the award.
Several years ago, Duncan had received the award but was unable to attend the reception due to a death in the family. The award was accepted on his behalf by his daughter-in-law, he said.
The winner was chosen by a panel of judges, who were given the information that was submitted, though the names of the nominees and other pertinent information was blacked out. Choosing the nominees is done strictly on merit, said Sharon King, executive director, Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce.
“Both of our nominees have helped make our county what it is today and we can all be grateful for that,” King said.
It’s so good to have this happen to him,” said Duncan’s sister, Helen Jones.
Jones is a younger sister to Duncan and one of three remaining siblings left in the family.
During the reception, the pioneering lives of the two nominees were shared with the audience through song and video. The video was a recollection of past times, stories and challenges that the nominees faced over the years.
“I think it’s a neat deal. It’s a special treat to have a family member be Pioneer of the Year,” said Duncan’s grandson, Jason Queener.
2007 Heritage Days schedule
8 a.m. — MainStreet Fun Run, Yam Theater, 219 S. Main St.
9 a.m. — Antique, collectible and classic car show, City Park
10 a.m. — Parade, Second Street to Abilene
11 a.m. — Geocachers Gone Wild at the Oasis, Oasis State Park (must be pre-registered)
3 p.m. — Music in the Park
3:30 p.m. — Car show ends
6 p.m. — Booths close
9 p.m. — Music ends for the day
11 a.m. — Church services in the park
Music in the park all afternoon
Food vendors will be open