Showing posts with label New Mexico. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Mexico. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Glenna Goodacre, Vietnam Women’s Memorial creator passed away

Santa Fe sculptor found national prominence

Santa Fe New Mexican
By Jennifer Levin
Apr 14, 2020

Glenna Goodacre, an internationally acclaimed figurative sculptor who lived in Santa Fe for more than 35 years and whose work adorns a U.S. coin and is featured on the National Mall, died Monday after a series of illnesses.

She was 80.

Goodacre was best known for designing the face of the U.S. Sacagawea dollar that entered circulation in 2000 and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. But her work is prominent from coast to coast, including a portrait of President Ronald Reagan at the Reagan Presidential Library in California and one of famed U.S. Military Academy head football coach Earl “Red” Blaik at West Point, N.Y.

Goodacre’s large-scale bronze sculptures are displayed in numerous public and private collections, and they cast familiar shadows in Santa Fe, where she is represented by Nedra Matteucci Galleries on Paseo de Peralta near Canyon Road.
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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Veteran not allowed at Heroes Hall...because he is a dog?

Veteran military dog not allowed at Heroes Hall at VA Hospital

by: Jeannie Nguyen
Feb 21, 2020
Singh says as part of the contract she signed with the Department of Defense to adopt Puma, she’s not allowed to turn him into a service dog.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former bomb-sniffing Army canine belonging to a veteran isn’t allowed at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albuquerque, even though the dog is a veteran too.

Puma was an explosive detection canine that served two deployments in Afghanistan.

“Puma served seven years in Fort Leavenworth and that’s where he retired from,” says Lani Singh.

Now he’s living the retired life with his handler, Lani Singh, an Army veteran herself, who’s going through chemo-treatments at Heroes Hall for breast cancer.

Originally from Northern New Mexico, Singh rented an Albuquerque apartment to avoid the long commute. Now, Singh is struggling with the rules of the hospital when it comes to bringing her fellow vet to her appointments.

“He is a veteran, but because he’s a dog veteran and not a human veteran, he’s not allowed at Heroes Hall,” she says.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Body of missing veteran found in ditch

Body of missing Marine veteran found in ditch in New Mexico, suspect in custody

By: The Associated Press
August 20,2019

Authorities say a body found south of Belen, New Mexico, has been identified as a Marine veteran missing since July and a suspect in his murder case is in custody.

Valencia County, New Mexico, Sheriff’s officials says detectives located a body in a ditch Friday night.

On Saturday, the Office of the Medical Investigator positively identified the body as that of 32-year-old Matthew Gurule, who was last seen on July 27 at the Isleta Resort and Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Sheriff's officials won't say what led them to the body or how Gurule died.

Belen police say 37-year-old Francisco Gomez of Los Lunas, New Mexico, was arrested Aug. 10 for allegedly using Gurule’s credit card.
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Monday, May 27, 2019

John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker passed away

WWII Code Talker and longtime NM lawmaker dies at 94

The Associated Press
By: Morgan Lee and Mary Hudetz
May 26, 2019
An unassuming appearance and manner belied Pinto's political determination that carried him through 42 years in the Legislature. Laurie Canepa, the senior librarian for the Legislative Council Service, said that made him the longest serving senator in state history.
In this Feb. 2, 2018, file photo Democratic New Mexico state Sen. John Pinto talks about his career as a lawmaker on American Indian Day in the Legislature on in Santa Fe, N.M. (Morgan Lee/AP)

SANTA FE, N.M. — John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker in World War II who became one of the nation’s longest serving Native American elected officials as a New Mexico state senator, has died. He was 94.

Senate colleague Michael Padilla confirmed Pinto's death in Gallup on Friday after years of suffering from various illnesses that rarely kept him from his duties.

After serving as a Marine, Pinto was elected to the Senate in 1976 and represented a district that includes the Navajo Nation for more than four decades. The region is one of the poorest in the country.

"Words cannot express the sadness we feel for the loss of a great Diné warrior," said Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, using the indigenous word for Navajo. "He dedicated his life to helping others."
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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Army veteran-mailman killed helping protect woman

Mailman fatally shot by teen was father of four, Army veteran

Kay Dimanche
Jozelyn Escobedo
Digital Editor
April 23, 2019


A U.S. Postal Service mailman was gunned down Monday afternoon and police believe a 17-year-old boy is the one who shot him. According to an arrest warrant, 47-year-old Jose Hernandez was trying to intervene in a fight between the teen and the teen’s mother at the time of the shooting.

Hernandez's Bishop tells KOAT he was an Army veteran, husband and father of four.

The shooting happened in the 700 block of Terracotta SW, which is near Tower Road and 98th Street.

Xavier Zamora's mother told police Hernandez was trying to help her, but Zamora became "aggressive" with the mailman because he tried using Mace on the teen.
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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Veteran thanks officer for saving his life during crisis

Military veteran living with PTSD recalls night APD officer helped save his life

KOAT 7 News
Shellya Leggett 
April 19, 2019
"When it was going on, that was like, that was really intense and scary for me. So, it was just like, in hindsight thinking about it, you know, that guy was really, really patient and really cool with me." J Freeman

Albuquerque police and other agencies across New Mexico are requiring officers to get training from psychologists on how to deal with people with mental illnesses.

A man who said that training helped save his life spoke to KOAT. J Freeman is a six-year Army and Air Force veteran who lives with post-traumatic stress disorder. He said without the help of Albuquerque Police Department officer Phillip Meier, he might not be here to tell his story.

Freeman said he spent some time overseas in Kuwait and Iraq but has been home since 2003 and lives every day with PTSD.

"It's not always easy to have a conversation with someone, and when it's a police officer or anyone, especially when they have weapons on them, it just makes you all the more defensive and agitated," Freeman said.

About a week ago, he had a PTSD crisis.

"If I was agitated, if this were two years ago, this would have been a completely different ending," Freeman said.

He needed help, and two-year APD officer and five-year Navy veteran Phillip Meier was there.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Vietnam Veteran and PTSD Service Dog Kicked Off Bus?

Veteran, dog kicked off city bus highlights service animal policy
By: Jackie Kent
Posted: Jun 26, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) - ABQ Ride says one of its drivers did not follow its policy when he kicked a veteran and his service dog off a city bus.
"They treat you different because you have a service animal and I don't think that's fair," said Jesse Gordon about his latest ABQ Ride experience.

The Vietnam veteran said he tried to hop on a city bus on June 18, with his service animal, Jackson, to get to a doctor's appointment. Yet, bus surveillance video shows he never got past the bus stop at Eubank and Central.

"The driver of the bus looked at the animal and says, 'That's not a service animal.'" Gordon said.

He said the bus driver claimed Gordon's PTSD was not a recognized disability that would allow him to have the vested dog.
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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Army National Guardsman had to sue for justice because of PTSD?

State spends millions on settlements, often silently
Santa FE New Mexican
By Phaedra Haywood
May 12, 2018

Phillip G. Ramirez Jr., an Army National Guard veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait, filed a lawsuit against the state of New Mexico in 2008, claiming his supervisors in the state Children, Youth and Families Department harassed and discriminated against him when he returned from more than a year of active duty.

They refused to make accommodations for his diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, Ramirez claimed in the lawsuit, then tried to push him out by mandating what he called unreasonable job requirements that made it impossible for him to fulfill his role as a community support officer monitoring at-risk juvenile offenders.

Fired by the department in 2008, Ramirez claimed the department violated a federal law that protects the employment rights of service members deployed for more than 30 days.

“I felt betrayed,” said Ramirez, who had received positive performance reviews by CYFD for nearly a decade before his deployment, according to his suit. “I was fighting the enemy overseas and when I returned I was fighting the enemy, too,” he said. “Coming home should be peacetime and I felt the fight was still on my hands.”

In 2011, a Gallup jury found in Ramirez’s favor. He was to receive $36,000 in back pay. But rather than write the check and make accommodations for him, the state appealed the state District Court’s decision to the New Mexico Court of Appeals — a move that sparked a yearslong legal battle that eventually prompted a second lawsuit and ultimately concluded with the state Supreme Court ruling in favor of Ramirez.

In the end, the costs to the state were $598,857 in legal fees for the first lawsuit; $36,000 to satisfy the judgment in the case; $235,000 to cover Ramirez’s legal expenses; $74,108 to fight a second lawsuit; $115,000 to settle that case out of court.

Total bill: $1,058,965.
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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

National Guardsman Saved Mother and Daughter

Police: Good Samaritan saved mother, daughter Web Staff
February 20, 2018

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Police say the man who opened fire in a deadly southeast Albuquerque shooting, likely saved the lives of a mother and daughter.
A 12-year National Guard veteran stopped to help and told police the man pointed his gun at him, so he shot him.

Police say the mother feared what would have happened if that veteran had not intervened.

"She said, 'He saved our lives,'" Drobik said Monday evening. "I mean, that's how much she was in fear of getting killed by this guy."

The Good Samaritan is not facing charges. The district attorney is reviewing the case.
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Friday, September 29, 2017

Air Force Tech Sgt. Gets Diesel For PTSD

Rebuilding Warriors presents Air Commando with service dog
Cannon Air Force Base
By Senior Airman Luke Kitterman, 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Published September 28, 2017
“Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the anxiety never really leaves.”  Tech. Sgt. Michael Farthing


Eastern New Mexico University’s football team won their third game of the season September 23, 2017, with the Greyhounds beating Angelo State 31-21 and improving their record to 3-1. Accurate passes, long runs and big hits highlighted the rain-soaked match; however, the biggest play of the night didn’t happen during the game. It happened before the first whistle was even blown.
Tech. Sgt. Michael Farthing, 16th Special Operations Squadron aerial gunner on the AC-130W Stinger II, embraces his new service dog “Diesel” before the start of the Eastern New Mexico University’s Greyhounds football game September 23, 2017, at Al Whitehead Field in Portales, New Mexico. It was through Rebuilding Warriors, a program that provides service dogs with military members who have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injuries as well as amputees, that Farthing was able to receive Diesel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Luke Kitterman/Released)
Tech. Sgt. Michael Farthing, 16th Special Operations Squadron aerial gunner on the AC-130W Stinger II, received a service dog during a ceremony before the start of the military appreciation game at Al Whitehead Field in Portales, New Mexico. He was joined by family, friends and colleagues to support him in the big moment.

“I was extremely nervous,” Farthing said. “Dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the anxiety never really leaves. I was worried more than anything that everything would go smooth. The rain put a damper on things for a while but my family who are a major support system for me helped keep me grounded and calm.”

Farthing stood on the track at the 50-yard line as the announcer spoke of his accomplishments and dedicated service during his time in the Air Force. Then, his service dog, “Diesel,” was brought out to him as the crowd erupted in cheers.

“Receiving Diesel and seeing my Gunship family in the stands, along with my family and commander behind me, was very emotional,” Farthing explained. “Happiness, excitement, humility – all these things were rushing through me. Seeing the support of my squadron members in those stands was unlike anything I can describe.”

Farthing has flown 1,400 combat hours on more than 10 deployments including 270 combat missions, where he faced the threat of manned portable air defense systems and anti-aircraft artillery. Through Rebuilding Warriors, a program that pairs service dogs with military members who have been diagnosed with PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries as well as amputees. Farthing was able to receive Diesel.
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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Angel Fire's Chuck Howe Planning War on Terror Memorial

Veteran planning War on Terror memorial in Angel Fire
KOB 4 News
Morgan Aguilar
July 05, 2017
At his wellness and healing center, Howe wants to create a space for veterans with PTSD along with programs for vets who have experienced sexual trauma while in the military. He'd like to eventually offer programs for first responders too.
ANGEL FIRE, N.M. -- It looks like New Mexico will have a War on Terror memorial long before Washington, D.C. A Vietnam veteran living in Angel Fire is spending his retirement turning a northern New Mexico property into a place for veterans from all over the country.
Chuck Howe has big plans for the site, an 18-acre plot right across from the Vietnam veteran's memorial. He said he plans to build the War on Terror memorial, a wellness and healing center for veterans and a hotel.
"One of the things that we always talk about with any war memorial or museum is how do you keep it relevant in the future? So many of our Vietnam vets are going to be gone, so what's going to keep people coming here?" Howe said.
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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Angel Fire Capel Stood Up When No One Else Cared About Vietnam Veterans

Angel Fire chapel honors lives lost in Vietnam
KOB 4 News
Joseph Lynch
May 26, 2017
For some veterans, every day is Memorial Day. Some are haunted by all they've experienced, by who and what they lost. In some wars, they came home as heroes. That was not the case for Vietnam veterans. Many now suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
ANGEL FIRE, N.M. -- U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Victor David Westphal III died in May 1968. After Westphal's death, his parents began the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Peace and Brotherhood Chapel in Angel Fire.

The chapel was built to be an enduring symbol of the tragedy and futility of war, and it has become a place where people come from near and far to look for peace.

Earl Watters came from Rio Rancho. For him, this place is personal.

"Well, the first thing that comes to mind is all those who lost their lives," he said.

Nearly 60,000 servicemen and servicewomen lost their lives fighting in Vietnam. The memorial in Angel Fire was the first of its kind in the country to honor those Americans.

Allan Ford and his family came from Pensacola, Florida to Angel Fire. He remembers those who gave so much, and especially those who gave everything.

"A lot of my buds, Army buds, were all Vietnam veterans," he said. "They got nothing when they got home, so something like this it's very meaningful to them, very meaningful."

The Angel Fire chapel was created 11 years before the memorial in Washington. But surprisingly, it's only been in recent years folks have come to acknowledge that war. All those years ago, Watters remembers coming back with no welcome home at all.
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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Airman Killed in New Mexico Training Accident

Air Force base: 1 killed, 1 injured in New Mexico training
FOX News
February 1, 2017

A pair of F-16 jets struck two members of a ground-control party -- killing a civilian contractor and wounding an Air Force service member -- after a training exercise went awry on Tuesday night, officials said in a Wednesday statement.
The F-16s were using unspecified munitions when the incident occurred at a range that's part of the White Sands Missile Range complex near Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico.
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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Lost Home For Christmas...and Dogs

Veteran loses home, dogs to Christmas fire
The New Mexican
By Tripp Stelnicki
December 31, 2016

In the early hours of Christmas morning, Fred Vigil lost everything he had.
Fred Vigil, 68, from Santa Fe, a Vietnam Veteran who served in 1967-68, stands over the remains of his home on Friday, December 30, 2016. Vigil’s home caught on fire on Christmas. He also lost his two dogs Paco and Loca. Luis Sánchez Saturno/The New Mexican
A fire, possibly started by a wood burning stove, consumed Vigil’s trailer parked off Rabbit Road, just after midnight Sunday. The fire might have taken Vigil, too, were it not for a miraculously timed beer run.

Vigil, 68, was showering, unaware, as the flames spread through his home. Nearby neighbors, celebrating late on the holiday evening, noticed the blaze when one stepped outside to grab beers from a parked car. They leapt into action, broke a window to enter the fiery trailer and pulled a disoriented Vigil to safety.

Meanwhile, Vigil’s old photographs, the fatigues he wore in Vietnam and his savings burned to the ground with the rest of his trailer in a matter of minutes.

“All my worldly things,” Vigil said. “It’s all gone.”

Worse, the two beloved dogs that helped Vigil cope with post-traumatic stress disorder — Paco, a boxer, and Loca, a German shepherd — did not escape. Because they didn’t bark or otherwise react to the fire, they were victims, Vigil believes, of smoke inhalation.
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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Native American Veteran: “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country."

New Mexican veteran heading back to Standing Rock
KOB 4 News
Joy Wang
November 25, 2016

Protesters aren't taking any holiday breaks as they continue demonstrating against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

There are a number of New Mexicans up at Standing Rock to help fight for that cause.

Many, including New Mexican and Veteran Jason Joe, are saying what's happening up there is unconstitutional

Joe was in Iraq about ten years ago. Joe says he sees a lot of similarities with what’s happening in North Dakota and what happened while he was in the military.

He says it's his duty as a veteran and an American to protect this land.

In September, Joe traveled 16 hours with his girlfriend from New Mexico to North Dakota.

“I am a Native American Veteran,” said Joe. “As a soldier, it's our duty to protect the people of this country. I took an oath just like many of my brothers and sisters took that oath.”
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Sunday, September 18, 2016

WWII Veteran Swindled Out of Money Finds Hope From Real Friends

WWII veteran has new hope after losing almost everything
KOB 4 News
Brittany Costello
September 16, 2016

Hundreds of thousands of dollars gone, two savings accounts drained. Now a World War Two Veteran is just trying to get by after he said he was scammed out of all that money by his two so-called caretakers.

It's a story we first brought you in July: Caregivers accused of scamming 95-year-old Santa Fe man. But, Friday, Sept. 16, KOB sat down with 95-year-old Dennis Ferk, who has had to make some huge changes, including selling his home.

He is a former army sergeant who was awarded three Purple Hearts, two Bronze Stars and two presidential citations for his service.

But now, he’s fighting a much different battle. He spends most days trying get his finances back in order. He said at first, the two helped with yard and house work, and then took over his finances.

“I thought they were my friends but what they were after was taking care of themselves,” said Ferk.

He said over two years they took around $340,000 of his money. Money that was set aside, not for vacations or shopping sprees, but to care for his disabled daughter whose brain never fully developed.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Vietnam Veteran Called To Report A Suicide, His Own

Troubled Nogal man calls in his own fatal shooting
Ruidoso News
Dave Tomlin
July 19, 2016

“There is a suicide,” he told the dispatcher who took his last call. The dispatcher reported that “when asked where and who, he advised his address and that it would be him in about five minutes.”
A deeply troubled Nogal man made a chilling call to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office early this month in which he told a dispatcher he was going to shoot himself, then hung up and pulled the trigger before deputies could reach him.

Owen D. Blackman, 63, had been struggling with severe medical problems and overuse of pain medications in the weeks leading up to July 1, when he was found outside his home at the wheel of his parked truck with a single gunshot wound in his chest.

“He was a delightful person until he got sick,” said his grief-stricken wife, Judy Blackman, in a telephone interview Tuesday. “Fine and full of laughter and joy. He loved to fish, he loved to hunt. He was a sweetheart.”

But Blackman told the sheriff’s dispatcher on July 1 that he was in severe pain and wanted to make it stop.

“He then advised me he was going to hang up now so I don’t hear the shot,” the dispatcher wrote in her log report of the call.

Judy Blackman said her husband, a military veteran and retired U.S. Postal Service worker, was suffering from lingering medical issues that arose from injuries he suffered in Vietnam.
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Sunday, July 3, 2016

Bank of America Gave Foreclosed Home to Veteran

Bank of America gives New Mexico veteran new, free home
KRQE News 13
By Kim Vallez and Kayla Root
July 1, 2016

“You are so use to being told what to do, where to be at all times, then thrown into civilian world where you have to compete again with everyone, not given answers everything a gray area, very difficult for me.” Trevor Hileman
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A New Mexico veteran is getting some big help getting back on his feet.

On Thursday, Army veteran Trevor Hileman was handed the keys to a new home, thanks to Bank of America and the Military Warriors Support Foundation.

The program from Bank of America and the Military Warriors Foundation fixes up foreclosed homes and gives them to veterans.

A path of flags lead the way for Hileman to his new mortgage free home on Thursday. Inside the home, there were pictures on the wall of Sergeant Hileman during his time in the Army. He served one tour of duty in Afghanistan.

But transitioning to civilian life has been tough.
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Friday, April 22, 2016

Man Gets Probation for VA Fraud?

Albuquerque Man Sentenced to Probation for Submitting Fraudulent Claims to Veterans Affairs Medical Center
Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE – Tomas Jaramillo, 55, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court for his conviction for submitting false and fraudulent claims to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Albuquerque. Jaramillo was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $11,439.90 in restitution to the VAMC.

Jaramillo was charged by information on Aug. 18, 2015, with submitting fraudulent vouchers to collect payments for roundtrip travel to attend medical appointment. He was subsequently charged by indictment on Sept. 22, 2015, with submitting 173 fraudulent claims to the VAMC for travel beneficiary payments from June 2009 through July 2010.

On Dec. 11, 2015, Jaramillo pled guilty to a felony information charging him with making fraudulent claims. In entering the guilty plea, Jaramillo admitted that from June 2009 through July 2010, he travelled to the VAMC in Bernalillo County, N.M., to obtain medical treatment and falsely claimed that he traveled from Socorro, N.M., to do so. Jaramillo admitted that he submitted fraudulent vouchers to VAMC to receive payment for roundtrip travel which he did not actually make to attend his medical appointments. Jaramillo received $11,439.90 in travel reimbursements to which he was not entitled.

This case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigation Division and was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel A. Hurtado.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Combat Did Not Kill Iraq Veteran But Burn Pits May

Cancer forces veteran to fight for his life
Daily Times
Hannah Grover
April 16, 2016

Retired New Mexico National Guard Master Sgt. David Montoya hopes a clinical trial in Texas can help save his life

"I knew it was the burn pits," he said. Montoya is among dozens of veterans throughout the country who have sued Halliburton and KBR Inc., companies that were contracted by the military to dispose of waste in Iraq and Afghanistan.
FARMINGTON — After two combat tours in Iraq, a local veteran is now fighting a battle against cancer.
David Montoya, a retired master sergeant with the New Mexico Army National Guard, is battling lung cancer. He talks about the experience on Thursday at the home of his girlfriend, Summer Martinez. (Photo: Steve Lewis/The Daily Times)
And his friends and family are trying to raise the money necessary to help David Montoya, a retired master sergeant with the New Mexico National Guard, receive treatment in Houston.

Montoya, 44, was diagnosed with colorectal cancer in 2012 while serving at the National Guard Armory in Farmington.

"It happened so fast I had to have emergency surgery," Montoya recalled last week.

He said the tumor in his colon nearly caused the organ to burst. At the time, his prognosis was good. Doctors removed the tumor, and chemotherapy destroyed cancerous cells in his lymph nodes.

But at a cancer screening in February 2014, Montoya learned that the cancer was back, and, this time, it was in his lungs.
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