El Paso Honors UN’s Richardson
Nearly 600 people gathered at a $100 per plate dinner in El Paso, Tex., to celebrate the centennial of Salvation Army service to that West Texas community. Principal speaker and honoree at the event was United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations Bill Richardson.
Ambassador Richardson was presented with the first Ambassador Raymond L. Telles Humanitarian Award by the El Paso Advisory Board for his work to free hostages from Iraq, North Korea and Sudan.
The award is named after the first Hispanic mayor of a major American city and former ambassador to Costa Rica. Telles is a noted El Paso community volunteer and Salvation Army Advisory Board member of long standing. Before his appointment as U.N. Ambassador, Richardson was an eight term U.S. congressman from nearby New Mexico.
Despite the urgency of the international crisis in Iraq (this was the same weekend U.N. officials were in Baghdad attempting to avert war), Richardson kept his long standing commitment to celebrate this evening with the Army in El Paso and shared his thoughts on the current problems in Iraq, as well as his vision for the United Nations.
Also joining in the evening’s special events were U.S. Congressman Sylvester Reyes, Acting Secretary of the Army Robert M. Walker and other local officials and dignitaries.
The Salvation Army World Services Organization (SAWSO) also honored the ambassador with an award for his “services to the world,” presented by SAWSO Executive Director Harden White, who traveled from National Headquarters in Alexandria, Va., for the event.
The special musical guest was noted composer, conductor and trombonist William Broughton, who composed a march to celebrate the Army’s century of service in El Paso.
Entitled “Borderland,” the march was premiered at the dinner by members of the 62nd U.S. Army Band, under the leadership of Salvationist Bandmaster (and U.S. Army musician) Sgt. First Class Roger Ridenour, led by the composer.
All funds raised by the dinner will be matched by the Border Fund, a fund of Chicago-based McCormick Tribune Foundation, and will benefit the operating budget of The Salvation Army in El Paso.
“God has richly blessed El Paso over the past century, and this is such a fitting way to honor those who were his instruments of service here in Far West Texas,” remarked current County Coordinator Captain Michael Olsen.
“We are honored that we could share this celebration with Ambassador Richardson,” he added, “who was twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian acts and concerns for others. We hope and intend that this will be an annual event.”