ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Albuquerque has its struggling neighborhoods, but some a lucky enough to have people working hard to clean things up and make life better for the neighbors.
On Thursday the city recognized two of those people. And you can truly call one of them -- a hero.
"A little bit everyday," is how David Farrelly described his approach.
For Farrelly that's been the key to making his once-difficult neighborhood a nicer place to live.
"It goes up and down like most neighborhoods do," Farrelly said. About 10 years ago it was really scary. It was a bad neighborhood."
After years of organizing neighborhood walks and drug marches the area around Farrelly's apartment complex near the Albuquerque Sunport is better now.
He is one of the city's first We Can Awards recipients for going above and beyond to improve some of Albuquerque's toughest neighborhoods.
Property manager Veronica Dominguez also was recognized after her efforts to save tenants from a June apartment fire proved heroic.
"My neighbor came and knocked on my door and told me there was a fire going on in one of the apartments across the street," Veronica Dominguez said.
Veronica was quick to react knocking on doors and running into apartments to get her residents to safety.
But there was one woman who wouldn't budge.
"I said, 'You need to leave now. The apartment's are already on fire. We need to get out of here,'" Dominguez said. "There was smoke already all over everywhere. I literally drug her out onto the other side of the pavement."
Veronica ended up collapsing and finding herself in the emergency room.
"We got out just in time because the windows had popped open," Dominguez said.
Veronica is grateful for her award although she said it's part of her job to take care of her residents and keep them safe. That's part of Farrelly's philosophy, too.
"I think it's because I care," he said. I want to live there. The worst thing you can say as an owner or a landlord is my opinion is, 'Well I'm not living there, so what do I care?"
This was the first year for the city of Albuquerque's We Can Awards.
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