New Mexico Distinguished Public Service Awards 2012
Recognizing Those Committed to Making a Difference
Marilyn Stoops
Marilyn Stoops is a woman who has devoted her life to serving others, and the N.M. Distinguished Public Service Award program is honoring her for a lifetime of volunteer work. Ms. Stoops is actively involved in the mission work of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, but her volunteer service extends far beyond the church walls.

She began her work as a young woman volunteer tutor in the New Mexico prison system, teaching inmates basic education skills in reading and writing. She also participated as a volunteer in the New Mexico Newgate program, a college preparatory course for prisoners who planned to enter college after their release. After a successful legal victory for equal educational opportunities for male and female prisoners, she taught coed classes in the prisons.

Some five years later, Ms. Stoops returned to the college classroom, earning a bachelorís degree at Eastern New Mexico State University in 1979. She then transferred to New Mexico State University, where she earned her masterís degree in public administration in 1981. While she was at NMSU, all five of her children were in college, four of them at NMSU with her. Ms. Stoops in time relocated to Albuquerque where she spent the next 20 years in administration, before retiring and devoting herself full-time to public service.

Starting in 1963, Ms. Stoops spent 50 years working with Church Women United (CWU), an ecumenical Christian womenís group that started in Los Alamos just before the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. CWU promotes peace, justice, health and well-being for all peoples. She has served CWU in many capacities, and is currently communications coordinator for both the Albuquerque and New Mexico chapters.

Since 1993, Ms. Stoops has played a leadership role in the Albuquerque Interfaith Program, a broad-based ecumenical community organizing effort. She serves on the programís executive team, and on the core team for St. Andrew Presbyterian Church. In this role, Ms. Stoops organizes people, including herself, to spend the night with homeless families in volunteer churches, to help give shelter and food for families seeking to find jobs and get themselves off the homeless rolls.

Ms. Stoops has served as coordinator of the Presbyterian Habitat Coalition since 2004, recruiting workers and meal providers for each Saturday work day, in addition to raising the $75,000 Habitat sponsor fee. Eight Presbyterian churches partner with eight Catholic churches to build a Habitat for Humanity house annually.

Recently, she was named President of the Casas de Vida Nueva Board, a proposed transitional, residential, farm community for adults with a diagnosed mental illness. Her job is to develop a business plan so the organization can get funding. Ms. Stoops has been described as a quiet but effective leader, a highly skilled public service volunteer who does her work with humility and a generosity of spirit.