They were awarded the Rotary International Club District 5520, Sonny Brown Business of the Year Award in the small business category.
District 5520 is made up of the entire state of New Mexico and West Texas. Angel Fire’s Rotary club is one of the strongest in the District. With awards like Medium Club of the Year and Gold Presidential Citation for 2015-2016 to prove it.
The Sonny Brown Award was established in 2005, Rotary’s Centennial Year, to honor Past District Governor Sonny Brown for his many years of service to Rotary International, District 5520, his outstanding leadership skills, and on-going support.
The Award recognizes businesses in District 5520 that exemplify The High Ethical Standards of Rotary. The business must demonstrate excellence in the following areas: a. Employee relations b. Quality of product and/or service representation
c. Community involvement by both management and employees.
The Small Business category is the largest of about 2000 nominees. The Hails said it was an honor just to be nominated. With such a large area they never expected to win. They feel Angel Fire is blessed with so many businesses that deserve recognition for their part in our great community.
Angel Fire Rotary President Debby Welker interviewed John and Wendy by asking guideline questions. Her synopsis of the interview is as follows:
Hail’s Holy Smoked Barbecue has been the venue for our Wednesday lunch meetings for three years. They conduct their business in a very ethical manner and have dedicated their main dining room to our meetings at no extra charge. We even hold our Board meetings there after lunch once per month and they have granted us storage space for our meeting supplies such as our banners, badges and meeting bell. About once per year they donate back to our club all proceeds from one of our lunch meetings. We even awarded them a Club Presidential citation after their first year of serving us so faithfully.
They deserve the Sonny Brown award for far more than their great service to our club. They only have themselves as full time employees but they hire from 3 – 5 part time employees to help them in the rush periods. Everyone who has ever worked for the Hails’ would applaud them for how well they are taken care of. They compensate their employees very fairly and they flexibly manage their work schedules around other priorities they may have – be it family duties, another job or other responsibilities they may have in the community.
Hail’s never says “No” when asked to contribute to worthy causes in the community. They give away at least $ 1000 every year in gift certificates for various fund raisers. In fact, they have donated a gift certificate for our District Conference auction. At our community’s annual “One Nite to Unite”, an evening of praise music put on by all the churches in the area, Hail’s donates, cooks and serves all the hot dogs for the event serving over 300 people for free. They also provide free meals for emergency purposes to individuals or families who have hit hard times, may have been involved in an accident, or suffered a death in the family. Wendy also prepares breakfast burritos every Friday morning for the Men’s Prayer breakfast at 7:00 AM.
Both Wendy and John are also personally invested in several community activities. John is on the Board for the Chamber of Commerce and Wendy serves on the Lodgers Tax Board. John is also an elder in their local church. They also host an annual “All You Can Eat Ribs” contest in memory of my deceased husband, Don Welker, a past Rotary President and Angel Fire Village Councilor. By the way Don still holds the record for the most ribs consumed in a single meal.
Hail’s has been the number one ranked restaurant in Angel Fire by TripAdvisor and Yelp for the past three years. They have also been awarded a Certificate of Excellence for three years in a row from TripAdvisors – a distinction that is only granted to two restaurants in the area each year. They have received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Girl Scouts. They were both the Peoples’ Choice award winner and the first place gourmet award winner at our Habla Tamale Festival.
John and Wendy realize that awards are giving for hard work and recognition. But they owe their success to God, the community of Angel Fire, loyal and faith friends and family, and of course the passion to service you! They thank each of you.