Longtime Roosevelt County residents honored

Jared Tucker

Bluegrass music and an array of food followed the presentation of this year’s Roosevelt County Pioneer Awards at the Roosevelt County Fair.

Lifelong Roosevelt County residents Joe Blair and Melvin and Marie Littlejohn were all chosen as this year’s award recipients.

Blair, a WWII veteran and recipient of the 2008 Portales citizen of the year award, said he feels honored to win the award, but feels like there are other people who could have won it.

“It’s quite an honor to be named pioneer of the year. I like these people, I like to work for them the best I can,” Blair said.

In his 85 years as a resident of Roosevelt County, Blair was the Portales city clerk from 1947-1948. For 36 years he owned B&B Radio & TV Lab, and co-founded the Roosevelt County Sheriff Reserve.

Melvin Littlejohn said he remembers watching people receive the pioneer award when he was younger. The 84-year resident, born 12 miles south of Portales, said he enjoys the small-town feel of Portales, and the sense of community that comes with the people.

“To live in Portales, in this community like we have lived, it’s something you don’t find in a lot of places,” Littlejohn said, adding the people are his favorite thing about Roosevelt County.

Littlejohn told a story of some neighbors while growing up in Dora who helped his family pull broom corn. Littlejohn said that kind of help from a neighbor is just one reason why he enjoys the people of Roosevelt County.

“They didn’t get rich, but they made some money pulling broom corn,” Littlejohn added.

Roosevelt County Pioneer Association Vice President Bill Prater said requirements for a Pioneer award nominee are few and simple. A candidate must have lived in the county for at least 40 years, and must have some tie or association with the city or county.

“Just some kind of worker in the community,” Prater said.

Prater said the six candidates nominated this year were discussed among the 12-member committee, and Blair and The Littlejohns were the ones chosen.

The Triple L band entertained the crowd with bluegrass music.