The New Mexico Business Coalition (NMBC) is privileged to continue our annual tradition of honoring military veterans in New Mexico who serve their nation and communities with honor, selflessness and distinction. Every year military veterans from across the state and from all branches are nominated by their peers and fellow citizens to be recognized for the tremendous contributions they make to our communities on a daily basis. The Veteran of the Year is selected from these nominations by an independent panel of former servicemen and women to highlight the career and continued dedication to others that is exemplified by the award recipient.
This year NMBC is honored to present our 2020 Veteran of the Year award to Roger D. Newall
Following Roger’s time in the US Air Force as a special operator in Vietnam, he went on to complete a bachelor’s and subsequent master’s degree in physical education for special needs individuals. Using his degree, Roger then began a program in Shrewsbury, MA for six years before working as a ski patrolman and examiner for 15 years. Roger then moved on to become the technical construction supervisor for the original Keck Telescope on Mona Kia, HI before his transition to New Mexico to be the system Manager at Pella Windows NM for 20 years. During the tenure of former Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, Roger served as the veterans liaison to the administration for 6 years, working diligently to provide benefits and create opportunity for other veterans. In his time as the Veteran’s liaison, Roger accomplished the following:
- He successfully changed the HR description of Veteran to be more inclusive and encompass recognition for all veterans service – Active, Guard and Reserve alike.
- He amended the job application requirements to guarantee an interview for veterans who possess the skills required for positions they applied for. When Roger left the position of liaison in late 2017, the hiring rate for veterans was 13%.
- Roger was instrumental in increasing veteran mobility across the city by turning the VA Membership Card into a CABQ Transit No-Charge Buss Pass. This critical change provided for any bus transportation needs including the “ABQ Sun Van”, and was quickly adopted by the NM Rail Runner system and incorporated into their existing veteran programs. Over 7% of the CABQ total ridership uses the VA Healthcare Card for transportation.
- Roger continued the time honored military tradition of creating Challenge Coins for Albuquerque military veteran employees. Over 700 Challenge Coins were distributed to military veteran city employees at no cost to the recipients.
- Working with the Albuquerque Senior Affairs Department, Roger was instrumental in the creation of “Veteran Honor Walls” in 11 senior centers throughout the city. The Veteran Honor Walls are prominently featured in each center as a means to recognize the service and sacrifice of veteran residents. To date there has been 290 frames hung in 11 senior centers to honor the service of veteran members.
Roger is currently involved with multiple veteran service organizations to include The Air Force Association, The Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH), and The Sons of the American Revolution. Through his work with The Military Order of the Purple Heart, Roger has assisted in organizing NM’s Annual Wounded and Fallen Warrior golf tournaments that raise thousands of dollars for the Fisher House Foundation and veteran housing support programs. Nationally within MOPH, Roger manages the ROTC/JROTC Cadet Leadership Award Program that involves tracking 3,700 high schools, universities, and colleges across the country to recognize outstanding leadership skills of cadets through the school year. in 2020 over 2,600 awards were sent to cadets across America.
Additionally, Roger is also the treasurer and very active within the New Mexico Veterans Business Advocates (NMVBA) organization. The NMVBA promotes the education, training, resources, outreach, support, and advocacy for veteran owned businesses across New Mexico. Via his membership and efforts on behalf of NMVBA and its sub organization NMVBExpo, Roger has helped provide workshops and events that bring veteran business owners together to improve opportunities and growth.
Throughout his life and career Roger has shown a constant and unwavering devotion to his fellow service members, as exemplified by his many selfless years of effort and outstanding results. NMBC is proud to recognize this local hero and the important work he’s done to uplift those around him with the 2020 Veteran of the Year Award.