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SAN JUAN COUNTY – West States Energy Contractors Inc. was named Business of the Year at the Bloomfield Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet Friday night at SunRay Park & Casino.

Chamber President Janet Mackey praised the company for its support of the community.

"They are truly good stewards of the community," Mackey said.

While accepting the award, Keith Burnham, West States' president, said the award was a honor, though he joked about his company's philanthropy.

"It's kind of ironic because my accountant came by yesterday and said, 'Keith, I think you better be backing off a little bit with these donations,'" Burnham said. "Kind of funny that it happened now. I told him, 'We still have a lot of kids out there to take care of, so you're just going to have to deal with it and keep me out of jail.'"

The chamber's Citizen of the Year award went to Mayor Scott Eckstein, who was commended for the various roles he fills, including his service on more than a half dozen boards in the community. Eckstein, who has been the town's mayor for 10 years, is also the San Juan County Commission chairman.

"I love my community, and I'd do anything that would be the right thing to do," Eckstein said. " I don't deserve it. I'm very honored to be a citizen of Bloomfield and to be able to help Bloomfield grow in any way that I can."

Damon Lynch, a coach in the Young America Football League and other sports in Bloomfield for 35 years, was honored with the Christine Donisthorpe Excellence in Leadership Award.

Kerney Taylor, a State Farm insurance agent, was honored for a lifetime of giving to the community with the Judge James L. Welsch Award.

Bloomfield Planning and Zoning Director Donica Sharpe was named Public Employee of the Year. Sharpe served as interim city manager for about three months after David Fuqua left to become city manager in Altus, Okla.

Laura Ryan, a vocational rehabilitation counselor for the Bloomfield School District, was named educator of the year.

Ayme Vigil, Bloomfield Fire Department office manager, was presented the chamber's customer service award by Fire Chief George Duncan.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

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