NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A Sandia Pueblo member is being honored by one of America’s biggest companies for all of the work she did to keep her community safe during the pandemic. Clarice Sanchez works for the Sandia Pueblo’s Emergency Management Department and spearheaded the pueblo’s response to COVID.
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“When you think of Sandia, everyone just thinks about the resort and casino so, there are people here too,” Sanchez says. People who truly banded together throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic thanks to some extra help from Clarice. “Your cousin’s not your cousin, that’ slike your sister. I think that mindset and how we were raised and taught to care for everyone and do what you can for other people, that’s the reason we were so successful.”
She helped establish their testing system, still up and running today. “We distributed any kind of information that our tribal government wanted distributed by way of paper memo, door to door,” she says. Sanchez also created a food pantry for any pueblo member in need. “It was very, very rewarding to see people as thankful as they were.”
Her now year-and-a-half of non-stop work is now being recognized by one of America’s biggest companies. “I am super proud. Oh my gosh, I’m just very grateful,” Sanchez says.
She has been named one of Disney’s “Magic Makers,” a program highlighting people who share qualities with their classic heroes. “I just really wanted to be there for my community, like I said because I didn’t want to have to think about losing somebody,” says Sanchez.
Sanchez is honored by the recognition but says her daughters deserve some too. “I’m being recognized but I really think my kids are being recognized for their.. they sacrificed a lot and they never ever complained,” for holding down the fort at home and helping their mom keep their community as safe as possible.
“One of the biggest things for me is just knowing I can set a good example for them,” says Sanchez. As a further gift for being a Disney “Magic Maker,” Sanchez gets to go on a trip to Disney World to celebrate its 50th anniversary.