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NMJC Dean, Local Businessman Earn National Caving Awards

NMJC Dean, Local Businessman Earn National Caving Awards photo 11/5/2008 9:39:33 p.m. - Hobbs, NM. .

The national Cave Research Foundation (CRF) has recognized two local volunteers with the prestigious CRF Fellow Award at their annual meeting held November 1 at the Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

Kelly Holladay, Dean of Math and Sciences at New Mexico Junior College, and Bryant Bullard, Manager of Copies, Inc., both of Hobbs, were honored for their volunteer service through CRF at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

Holladay, who has been a volunteer member of CRF for the past ten years, enjoys using her skills to help out whenever she can, which includes volunteer opportunities every Memorial Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and President's Day holiday weekends.

Holladay's work has been as varied as it has been rewarding. She has worked on survey teams as the geologic inventory person, who records all the various types of cave formations and minerals present in the passages throughout the cave. She's also been a "cave maid," meaning that she cleans algae, mud, lint, and footprints off formations, along with other mundane but critically needed chores, such as picking up trash along the trail. Holladay has also led geologic tours in the natural entrance and the Big Room of Carlsbad Caverns for various groups of visitors. And she has worked with microbiologists conducting research on certain species of microbes found only in caves in hopes of coming up with pharmaceuticals that might possibly lead to a cure for breast cancer or leukemia or such.

Barbe Barker, CRF Southwest Regional Director, of Guthrie, Oklahoma, and Scott House, CRF President, of Joplin, Missouri, bestowed the honor on Holladay and Bullard Saturday night. The two Hobbsans are among only eight people from across the nation who received the award.

For Holladay, to be so honored was a pleasure, but the ability to help make a difference is the true reward. "The award was a surprise for me because I don't do this for the recognition; rather, I do it for just the pure joy and satisfaction of knowing that I'm helping to preserve one of the most spectacular areas of the underground world," she said. "I feel privileged to be allowed the opportunity to enter 'off trail' locations of the famous Carlsbad Caverns that few people get to see, as well as a few of the hundreds of backcountry caves in the Guadalupe Mountains -- all in the name of protection, conservation and research of these amazing caves."

The Cave Research Foundation is primarily a non-profit organization run by and for volunteers, who work on cave mapping and research in geological, biological, hydrological, and anthropological aspects. The Foundation is recognized worldwide for its members' work in the mapping, restoration, research, and preservation of caves. Members work in caves throughout the world, including China, Russia, Europe, and many other countries.

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