FARMINGTON — Miss New Mexico USA Kamryn Blackwood brought gifts for T. Greg Merrion at the Fifth Annual Celebrity Roast benefit dinner on Thursday evening.
Blackwood, who was the special guest roaster, adorned Merrion in a tiara and a sash that matched her own before she spoke about Merrion.
The more than 400 people in attendance at the Farmington Civic Center cheered, whistled and laughed.
"It's an honor to be asked to do something like this," said Merrion, the president of Merrion Oil and Gas Corp. in Farmington, during the dinner. "At the same time, it's a little bit nerve-wracking to be put on the spot like this."
The dinner was a fundraiser for the Four Corners Home for Children, a program of Navajo Ministries.
"It's great way to have fun," said Navajo Ministries Vice President Eric Fisher, adding that Merrion is a local celebrity because of his contributions to the community.
Fisher said the Four Corners Home for Children houses 28 children, ranging from newborns to 18-year-olds. The Four Corners Home for Children began in 1953 and operates three children's homes. The program has an annual budget of about $500,000 and relies on donations to operate, Fisher said.
Also at Thursday's dinner, people bid silently on items, such as a one-night stay at a local hotel or fly-fishing tackle.
The evening started with 19 children from the home reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in English and then in Navajo.
"I am fortunate to get to work with them (the children) every day," said Kelly Hargrove, director of children's services for Navajo Ministries.
The dinner also included a short tribute to long-time community leader Joyce Donald, who died last year. Donald was the roast's first honoree in 2010.Erny Zah is The Daily Times business editor. He can be reached at 505-564-4638.and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @ernyzah on Twitter.