The Jean Baker Community Ally Award
Richard Elías has represented District Five on the Pima County Board of Supervisors since February 2002. He works for and is a vocal advocate for the Sonoran Desert, for affordable housing, for eliminating health-care disparities, for nurturing the development of our youth, for quality education, and for social justice and equity. He seeks to bring everyone together in a spirit of community cooperation to enhance our quality of life.
Richard, a Democrat, entered public office after a lengthy career in the government and non-profit development of affordable housing. He earned a degree in History, with a minor in Mexican-American Studies, from the University of Arizona. He is married to Emily Velde Elías and they have a daughter, Luz.
The Godat Award
Kent Burbank has worked in the fields of human services and social change for the past couple decades. He currently serves as the Director of the Victim Services Division of the Pima County Attorney’s Office where he oversees a staff of 28 employees and more than 100 volunteers who provide crisis intervention and criminal justice advocacy to victims of crime and trauma. In recognition of his work on behalf of crime victims, including those impacted by the January 2011 Tucson Tragedy, Kent was honored with the 2011 Arizona Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award and the 2013 National Crime Victims’ Service Award.
Previously, Kent served as the Executive Director of Wingspan for six years, helping grow the organization by strengthening existing anti-violence and youth services, while creating new a new health and wellness program, services to seniors, and political advocacy. For his work at Wingspan, Kent was recognized by the Arizona Human Rights Fund (now Equality Arizona) in 2006 and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona in 2014.
Kent holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Chicago, as well as a Master’s of Divinity from Meadville/Lombard Theological School in Chicago. Kent is an occasional faculty associate for Arizona State University’s School of Social Work and has participated in numerous community organizations, including the Arizona Coalition for Victim Services, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona, Child and Family Resources, and the University of Arizona LGBT Advisory Council.
Kent has been in a committed relationship with his husband, Vicente Talanquer, for the past 20 years. They adopted their sons, Martín, age 15, and Daniel, age 13, over six years ago. Kent and Vicente were plaintiffs in the Lambda Legal successful lawsuit challenging Arizona’s ban on marriage equality.
The Steve Hall Award
My father was a jeweler/watchmaker who owned his own business and mom joined him after her family-raising years were over. I graduated in 1969 from Macalester College in St. Paul, MN with a BA degree in Russian Area Studies (language, history, culture, etc). I spent all of my life in Minnesota except for some travel during college years which included trips to Western Europe, mainly Italy, and then a trip to the Soviet Union in January (brrr!) of 1969. After college I spent 4 years in the Air Force which included a 13-month tour of duty in South Korea.
My work career began as a computer programmer in 1975 and lasted for 10 years when I moved laterally into more office support functions. I moved to Tucson in 2004 after being ‘downsized’ from Honeywell in Minnesota after 12 years of employment there.
My greatest interests in life are classical music and foreign language studies. Here in Tucson, I belong to a Meetup Group called Italians in Tucson since my Italian is in the best working order of the languages I’m familiar with.
I became involved with Wingspan almost immediately by teaching Saturday morning computer classes in basic computer skills such as email and word processing, mainly to seniors and others who were unfamiliar with computers. And that, I guess, has led to my involvement with Senior Pride over the ensuing years. After the economic downturn in 2008, Senior Pride was forced to become a completely volunteer program which is how it began in the first place. Hopefully, someday there will be a chance to restore it to a major Wingspan program with a staff member in place.