ENMU’s Lee wins top volunteer award

By Clarence Plank: PNT Staff Writer

Eastern New Mexico University FM News Director James “Jim” Lee received the New Mexico Volunteer of the Year award on April 16 for his work.

The award was given to Lee for his efforts working with the Roosevelt County Teen Court program the past eight years.

Lee said the award was a surprise and he didn’t know what was going on when organizers sat him at a table up front at the 12th annual Governor’s Spotlight on Volunteerism Conference in Albuquerque.

“The biggest award for volunteerism that you get is the reward of actually doing it,” Lee said. “It is its own reward.”

Lee said he received an e-mail about being the guest of honor for the conference and every year they honor people who do volunteer work within their community.

“The people are selected by the New Mexico governor and lieutenant governor and the state commission for community volunteerism,” Lee said. “People are nominated by other people and Roosevelt County Probate Judge Barbara George nominated me.”

George said Lee often helps teen juries stay on task and work their case.

“He guides them through the cases and helps them with any questions they might have,” George said. “A lot of time the questions are about if they could have charged somebody with something else or sometimes he’ll walk them through a case.”

George said Lee also serves as a judge once a year and sometimes as a backup if another judge can’t make it.
Lee was a member of the Roosevelt and Curry counties Habitat for Humanity committee for two years. He also actively promotes teen suicide awareness and prevention. Past president for the Portales Kiwanis Club.

He served as the Kiwanis District 4 Lt. Governor and Southwest District Governor, making him the first person from eastern New Mexico to serve in that position since 1974. Currently is a member of the Roswell Community Little Theater and volunteers for the Portales High School Drama program.