By Clarence Plank: PNT Staff Writer
Paul Benoit couldn’t figure out why everybody was keeping the Floyd Citizen of the Year award a secret.
He found out Saturday night.
The Floyd superintendent and Floyd Lions Club
president received the honor during the performance of the 60th Floyd Lions Club Country Jamboree.
“Wow,” Benoit said about receiving the award. “Every year we establish a committee with the Lions Club and I go through my mind (to see) who deserves it.
“There are a lot of people who have lived here their whole lives that deserve this. That is why it is such a humbling honor to receive this award from this group of men.”
Once his hometown of Houma, La., was mentioned, Benoit said he knew.
Joe Essary, the Floyd Lions Club member who announced the award, said Benoit has done more for the community than many lifelong Floyd residents.
“In the short time he has been here,” Essary said, “he has helped, volunteered, worked and I’ve never seen anything like him. He’s just a go getter. I don’t know when he has time for himself.”
After Houma, Benoit was constantly on the move as part of a military family. He graduated from high school in the Philippines in 1982, and graduated from College of Santa Fe in 1986.
Benoit earned a master’s degree in education administration from Eastern New Mexico University while teaching in Tucumcari. He moved up the ranks for 12 years in Estancia, as a middle school principal, elementary principal and assistant superintendent. He and his family moved to Floyd after spending two years in Animas.
Robert “Dink” Miller, a member of the nominating committee, said some previous superintendents would leave town when it was jamboree time.
“He’s in there sweeping floors and singing with them and doing whatever it takes to make it work,” Miller said. “He’s not above being out there setting up tables or doing it all.”
From a musical standpoint, Benoit sings in the Saint Helen Catholic Church choir and jams with the Back Porch Pickers. He and his wife Lucia have been married since 1986. They have one son, Matthew, and two daughters, Alexis and Hannah.