ASC Foundation presents Willis Fassett, Jr. Award to Alamosa State Bank

(11-03-2008)

A fixture of the community for more than a century, Alamosa State Bank has a history of generously supporting Adams State College and its students. In recognition of those contributions, the Adams State College Foundation will present the bank with its Willis Fassett, Jr. Award at the college's annual Donor and Student Recognition Dinner, Nov. 7.

Named for a founding member of the Foundation, the award honors individuals and organizations with an exceptional record of support for the college's educational mission.

Bank President Russell Achatz noted the Alamosa State Bank, its directors, and employees have contributed their time to the ASC Foundation, Grizzly Club, and Alumni Association, in addition to creating several scholarship endowments.

The bank established two scholarships in memory of former director/owners Ove Nielsen and Clyde Helms in 1996 and 1997, respectively. Each awards two full-year tuition and fee scholarships to San Luis Valley high school graduates annually.

The bank has supported the Grizzly Club "forever," Achatz noted. "There are a million other things we've contributed to," he added, such as band uniforms and financing for the athletic bus. "We bleed green. Adams State is one of the most important economic pieces in the San Luis Valley. Without ASC, Alamosa is probably not on the map. And the students and the education provided represent all our futures. So, it's hard not to support ASC."

In addition, Adams State alumni comprise half of the bank's current management team: Achatz, Class of 1985; Dennis Ortiz, Class of 1979; Joe Martinez, Class of 1999; and Angelica Heredia, Class of 1999. Achatz and bank director Izora Southway (ASC Class of 1966) serve on the ASC Foundation board; Ortiz and Martinez belong to the Grizzly Club Board of Directors; and Heredia is vice president of the Adams State Alumni Association.

Alamosa State Bank is indirectly responsible for additional support by its owner/ directors. This group includes Henry (Butch) and Izora Southway, Paul (Bud) and Pat Nielsen, Leroy and Rosalie Martinez, and Tom and Donna Ford.

The Southways, in fact, are this year's recipients of the college's Billy Adams Award. They received the Willis Fassett, Jr. Award in 1995. In 1974, they created the Southway Construction Scholarship, which provides two full-tuition and fee scholarships for Adams State students each year. Izora Southway, a 1966 alumna of Adams State, has served on the Adams State Foundation for more than 20 years, including terms as president and treasurer.

The Martinezes established the L&M Auto Scholarship in 1999, awarding $1,000 to a business major from the San Luis Valley each year. Rosalie Martinez is also an alumna, Class of 1986, and previously taught business at the college and served as associate vice president. She formerly served on the Adams State Foundation, as well. In 1997, Adams State named its library in honor of the Nielsens' support of the college.

Tom Ford is chairman of board for Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, which partners with the Adams State Foundation to fund the Adams State Spud Bowl Scholarships.

By Julie Waechter