New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2008
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Nella Bunny Guenther

From the time Nella Bunny Guenther moved to Belen, from China, in 1978, she became involved in several community activities. Among them, she established substance-abuse support groups in her area. She then pursued a career in counseling for well over 20 years. In 2007 as Bunny’s health failed she became a resident of the Senior Living Systems. She was an unforgettable role model for fellow residents with her energetic action-packed new way of life. She began a daily morning 3 mile walk, inspiring other residents to walk as much as they can and monitoring their distance. She engages many residents in a “coffeenews- chat” by assisting with breakfast preparation, greeting guests and pouring coffee and keeping current events exciting for all the residents.

Bunny has an amazing gift for making her fellow residents feel special, listening to them, joking, checking on a recent doctor’s visit, bringing them newspapers or fl owers. On her own she started 4 weekly activities programs – a literary hour where she purchases books and has invited authors; a Bible study, inviting a Bible scholar from a nearby church; a weekly ministry; and a Sunday afternoon Scrabble game.

In 2007 she began volunteering for the Literacy Council and received her ESL and BSL certifications. She wrote and managed a special class for 6 Spanish speaking staff members of the Center who needed to improve their English. She volunteers each week for the Director and the tutor Coordinator of the Literacy Council working in the offi ce. Currently she is tutoring 3 teenage Ukrainian orphans who are being adopted in the area. She designed a special learning program for each boy, coordinating her teaching with things they are familiar with from their country.

And Bunny plans to continue tutoring. She is researching in preparation of writing 2 books and is receiving requests from organizations and companies to write articles about her special tutoring modalities, her acute perspectives on aging and her incredible life history.