Last September, we had an overflow crowd at the Desert Diamond Casino events center to honor those along the Interstate 19 region who have made their communities a better place to live, play and build a future.

The event was an overwhelming success, bringing together wonderful people from Nogales to Sahuarita to celebrate what the community has done and to get energized as we head toward the future.

The event title says it all: AZ-19 Region Most Influential People.

We’re doing it again this fall, and want to hear from you this month. The Green Valley News, Sahuarita Sun and Nogales International will honor people up and down Interstate 19 who are spark plugs in their communities — Nogales, Rio Rico, Patagonia Tubac, Arivaca, Amado, Green Valley, Sahuarita and more.

We’re looking for those who are standouts in their personal lives, not just on the job. People who volunteer, who look in on their neighbors, who make others a priority. People who care, people who take action.

Last year’s winners included Annette Mesa, a dance instructor who has led many fundraisers in Green Valley and Sahuarita; Jorge H. Jimenez, who founded a truck club for youths in Nogales; and Deborah Morales, whose love for kids and families has changed lives in Sahuarita and beyond.

We had a group of four win an award for their work along the border region in Nogales, and a couple — John and Peggy McGee from Sahuarita — who are involved in a variety of worthwhile causes.

You can find an online slideshow honoring them all atwww.gvnews.com/gallery, and a special section published for the event atgvnews.com, under the menu button, “Special publications.”

It’s simple to get the nominations process rolling. Just send us the name, email address and phone number of your nominee. (You can nominate yourself.) Also, include a line or two about why the nominee is among the AZ-19 Region Most Influential People. We’ll dig in and do more research. Deadline to nominate somebody is June 30.

Send your nominations to me, publisher Dru Sanchez, at:

Remember, the nominee doesn’t necessarily have to be high profile in the community or have a job that touches hundreds of lives — though we’d welcome those, too. But let’s not overlook the everyday good neighbors who make others’ lives better.

We’ll honor the winners at an evening reception Sept. 10; tickets will go on sale in August, and everybody is invited to celebrate the people whose influence make us a better community. Chambers of Commerce in Green Valley, Tubac and Nogales are helping out with the voting, and we have sponsorships available — I can answer any of those questions.

Last year’s event was exciting and successful. We’d love you to be part of this year’s celebration. Let us hear from you by June 30!

— Dru Sanchez

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