2016 Volunteers of the Year Announced

El Rancho de las Golondrinas is proud to announce that for 2016, there are two Volunteers of the Year. They are Barbara Rudolf and Richard Gonzales. The announcement was made at this year’s invitation only volunteer luncheon, held at the Hilton Hotel in Santa Fe on Saturday, March 4th.

2016 Volunteers of the Year
Barbara Rudolf and Richard Gonzales, Volunteers of the Year, 2016

Over ten years ago, Barbara Rudolf started coming to visit Las Golondrinas with her mother, Nancy Flint, who is a 20+ year volunteer. Barbara has interpreted the Museum at various buildings, but her true joy is doing crafts with the children and adults who visit the Ranch. She began working with Becky Dickens making corn husk dolls and then introduced the making of Harvest wreaths about four years ago. She also heads up the building of fairy houses at the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair, enlisting her neighbors to help collect materials for the houses.

Barbara volunteers at Las Golondrinas because she loves the sheer beauty of the place and the esprit de corps of the volunteers. She has met interesting and intelligent people from all walks of life at the Ranch.

Barbara feels that El Rancho de las Golondrinas is a national treasure. It instructs and depicts a lifestyle and culture which few Americans understand. The depth of the roots people have in New Mexico is unique and Las Golondrinas exists to depict that history of the region in so many ways.

One of Barbara’s greatest contributions has been creating and maintaining a new website for Las Golondrinas. Beginning in 2015, Barbara started imagining the site from the ground up, working on color palettes, typefaces, navigation and content. The whole process took about a year and Barbara contributed countless hours to the project. She feels that the website is one of the strongest tools Las Golondrinas has to tell its story and engage the public. The Ranch is such a visual treasure and photographer, Richard Gonzales, provided her with wonderful material.

Barbara is the Creative Director at Griffin & Associates in Albuquerque. This year’s addition of a News Section to the Golondrinas web site greatly enhances the site, as it allows the content generated by the Las Golondrinas staff to be easily added. These additions increase interaction on the site and its standing by web browsers. Barbara’s firm is also adding postings to Facebook and Instagram. Social media provides an interactive way to inform the public, across many demographics, about upcoming events, volunteer opportunities and more. It has proven to be an increasingly effective and efficient arm of an overall marketing plan.

Barbara stated: “I am so honored to win Volunteer of the Year in 2016 and I look forward to many more years at the Ranch!”

Thank You Volunteers

Richard Gonzales has been interested in history since he was 11 or 12 years old. He got interested when he read the book Great American Pilots of WWII by Robert Loomis. The book spurred an interest in WWII that he still has to this day. In 2001, he had the great honor of befriending some of the pilots and other veterans he had read about. Richard’s other hobby is building plastic models and he has been able to build models for his veteran friends of the airplanes they flew.

Currently, Richard is the Secretary/Treasurer of the 352nd Fighter Group Association. He has attended reunions of many veteran groups which have taken him from coast to coast across the United States and to several countries in Europe. At all the reunions, he has become the unofficial photographer, putting together videos for the veterans.

Richard’s interest in history led him to become a volunteer at Fort Union National Monument in 2006 and at El Rancho de las Golondrinas in 2011. His volunteer work at these sites allowed him to put his hobbies of photography and videography to good use as he attends special events and documents them with photographs and videos. He feels it is very important to document these events, festivals and lectures so that the history can be passed on to future generations. At Fort Union, Richard has also been digitizing their photo collections and assisting in their Heritage Project. This was a special project where military records for the soldiers who served at Fort Union were downloaded and preserved. When he finished, he had downloaded over 100,000 pages of documentation!

On any given festival weekend at Las Golondrinas, Richard can be found snapping pictures of our wonderful volunteers as well as the activities themselves to help preserve the history of the Ranch. He truly enjoys the whole Ranch and says that it is fun for him to roam around and photograph the volunteers, visitors and re-enactors.

Richard believes that Las Golondrinas provides a great experience for the community as it helps to preserve and teach both locals and visitors the history of northern New Mexico!

Congratulations to both of our 2016 Volunteers of the Year!