2021 Distinguished Victim's Rights' Week Award Winners

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Navajo County Distinguished Judicial Award

Judge Michala Ruechel

 It is with great pleasure that the Navajo County Victim Services Department awards Judge Michala Ruechel, Judge for the Navajo County Superior Court, the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Judicial Award.

Being a Superior Court Judge is no simple task. The job of a Judge is to remain fair and impartial to both sides while rendering Justice and protecting the safety of victims and our community. A Judge’s words and their decision can be crucial to a victim’s road to recovery. A Judge, if not careful, can overlook the victim and their need to be heard. This year’s award recipient knows all to well what it means to manage a busy and fast-moving courtroom.

This year’s Judicial recipient obtained their law degree in 1985 from ASU and then returned to Northern Arizona to practice law in 1986 as a Prosecutor for the Navajo County Attorney’s Office. In 1990, this Judge began working for Navajo Superior Court as a judicial law clerk. From there this Judge worked serving Navajo County until 2006 when they were appointed by Governor Janet Napolitano as the Superior Court Judge of Division IV. This Judge not only keeps a full court calendar but, has mentored New Judge Orientation for more than 5 years and held the title of Presiding Juvenile Judge for the last 7 years

This year I have the pleasure and distinct honor of presenting this years Distinguished Judicial Service Award. As a seated Judge, Michala Ruechel’s case assignments include Juvenile Dependences; Juvenile Delinquencies; Guardianships; Domestic Relations and Civil cases. Within all these types of cases, there are victims. Types of victims include; domestic violence, theft, assault, property damage to name just a few. Making sure that victims are heard and have a part in the courtroom can sometimes be a challenge.

Judge Ruechel manages the courtroom with confidence, ease and the ability to hear and keep straight all parties involved. She takes recommendations from the victim graciously; she advises juvenile defendants of their actions and how negative actions effect everyone around them. She can talk with juveniles and their parents in a caring manner and get them to understand that actions have consequences. Ultimately at the end of the day, it’s about caring and compassion for the community that she serves.

Please help me in honoring Judge Ruechel’s 30 plus years of service to the community and congratulating her as a well-deserved recipient of this years Distinguished Judicial Service Award.

It is with great pleasure I respectfully nominate Judge Ruechel for the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Judicial Award. 

Navajo County Distinguished Law Enforcement Officer

Detective Mike Butora

Show Low Police Department

It is with great pleasure that the Navajo County Victim Services Department awards Mike Butora, Lieutenant with the Show Low Police Department, the 2022 Distinguished Law Enforcement Award.  Each year, Victim Services Department awards an Officer in our area who has demonstrated excellence and goes above and beyond to support victims in our community.  Lieutenant Butora was nominated for this award by the Navajo County Victim Services Department. Below is nomination letter:

I have had the pleasure to work with Lt. Mike Butora on several cases and have witnessed firsthand his dedication and commitment to supporting the victims he works with. 

Lt. Butora was tasked as the lead investigator for the Officer Reed homicide case.  This was a tremendous undertaking for him.  Lt. Butora suffered the loss of a dear friend and colleague which emotionally impacted him.  This case not only impacted him, but the whole agency.  Many of the officers witnessed this event were all considered victims of this tragic event.  He had to push that aside and remain objective and impartial while performing his duties as an investigator. Officer Reed’s family were suffering and fearful.  He assumed a supportive role, attending court appearances with the family so they would feel safe, attending and arranging meetings between the victims and the prosecutor to assist with their victims’ rights.  He kept them informed and provided emotional support every step of the way.  This support gave the victims courage and helped them to participate actively during the prosecution.  His efforts on that case where instrumental to the successful conviction of several defendants associated with this horrific event. 

He is the presently the lead investigator on an open case that is currently being prosecuted. He reached out to advocates right away so the victims could receive critical support that they needed.  He took place and arranged meetings between prosecutor’s and law enforcement when the victims were struggling.  He attended those meetings, so the victims felt safe with a comfortable face present.  He constantly kept them informed and coordinated resources for them when they expressed a need for help.  He always made himself available to them when they felt unsafe or just needed communication.  He work’s tirelessly to secure Justice for his victims and goes the extra mile to support and protect them through their recovery.

I witness this same level and dedication from Lt. Butora on every case.  He regularly attends and actively participates in our Multidisciplinary Taskforce meetings each month, working with each agency to strengthen the coordination of the services we provide as a community to child abuse and sex crime victims. 

It is with great pleasure I respectfully nominate Lt. Mike Butora for the 2022 Distinguished Law Enforcement Award.

 

Navajo County Distinguished Victim Service Award

Cindy Reinholtz

Volunteer Secretary for the Family Advocacy Center Board 

It is with great pleasure that the Navajo County Victim Service’s Department awards Cindy Reinholtz, Secretary of the Navajo County Family Advocacy Center Board, the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Victim Service Award. Each year, Victim Services awards a victim service provider in our area who has demonstrated excellence and gone above and beyond to support victim’s in our community.  Cindy was nominated for this award by the Navajo County Family Advocacy Center. Below is nomination letter:

Cindy Reinholtz has been a volunteer board member for the Navajo County Family Advocacy Center (FAC) for 10 nearly years.  In 2012, she was appointed the FAC Board secretary role. To date Cindy is the longest standing FAC Board member to date. 

Cindy has been instrumental to the advancement of the FAC’s throughout the years.  In 2013, she coordinated and established the first annual “Put it on the Tee for the FAC” Golf Tournament Fundraiser.  This fundraiser to date has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the FAC and remains the greatest source of revenue for the center. 

Developing a fundraiser that is as successful as hers is no simple task.  Cindy never takes a break, as soon as this event end’s, the next one begins.  She has brought and maintained a team of volunteers who help her and the FAC year after year. She maintains relationships with Golf Tournament donor’s and sponsors to secure continuing contributions.  Throughout the year’s she has grown this event with her strategic innovation that has strengthened this event each and every year, with last year being one of the most successful. 

Cindy has humbly volunteered her time so she can help support and bring services to the most vulnerable victim population, our children.  She has been crucial in establishing a consistent donor base for the FAC.

The money she raise’s every year, even beyond the Golf Tournament, help provide children with Forensic Interviews and SANE exams, victim specialists to work with families providing support and resources and has provided therapy programs that aid in our children’s healing.

Without her selflessness and dedication, the Family Advocacy would not be where it is today.  She has been its staple and biggest champion.  For her the FAC will always be grateful. 

It is impossible to put into word’s the gratitude we feel for her.  This award is long overdue and will never be enough.  For you Cindy, we will always be and thankful.   The children in our community are better because of the hard work that you do.  It is with great pleasure I respectfully nominate Cindy Reinholtz for the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Victim Service Award.

Navajo County Distinguished Business Award

Torreon 

It is with great pleasure that the Navajo County Victim Services Department awards “Torreon” the the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Business Award.

Each year, Victim Services awards a local business who has demonstrated excellence and has gone above and beyond to support victims in our community.  “Torreon” was nominated for this award by the Navajo County Family Advocacy Center. Below is nomination letter:

Torreon has been an exceptional partner and contributor to the Navajo County Family Advocacy Center (FAC) for nearly 10 years.  Every year in the fall, the FAC holds a golf tournament, “Put it on the Tee for the FAC”, to raise money for the center. To date, this fundraiser remains the largest source of revenue for FAC.

The golf tournament began in 2013 and has ran annually for the last 9 years.  This fundraiser, hosted by Torreon, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Family Advocacy Center. Torreon continues to maintain platinum sponsor level each year through their contribution.  Of course, it goes without saying, that without their generous donation, this fundraiser would cease to exist. 

Each year Torreon donates their luxurious golf course and facilities to host the FAC’s annual fundraiser.  What makes this so impressive is that Torreon donates the use of their golf course on a Friday. Friday is the day that is not normally available to other non-profit organizations for use.  Not only does Torreon donate the use of their course, they also allow the FAC to utilize their food facilities at cost. 

The money raised every year, even beyond the golf tournament, helps by providing children with Forensic Interviews and SANE exams free of charge. Victim specialists who are paid through some of these funds, are also able to work with families providing support and resources like, therapy programs which aid in our children in the healing process.  Continued generosity by Torreon has been instrumental to the development and advancement of the FAC.  We are grateful for your support and continued commitment to the FAC which enables the support of child abuse victims in our community. 

It is with great pleasure I respectfully nominate Torreon for the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Business Award.

 

Navajo County Criminal Justice Award

Deputy Prosecutor Clint Metheney

Navajo County Attorney's Office

It is with great pleasure that the Navajo County Victim Service’s Department awards Clint Metheney, Deputy Prosecutor for the Navajo County Attorney’s Office, the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Criminal Justice Award.

Each year, Victim Services awards a prosecutor in our area who has demonstrated excellence and gone above and beyond to support victim’s in our community.  Clint was nominated for this award by the Navajo County Family Victim Services Department. Below is nomination letter:

Clint is a seasoned prosecutor who has been seeking justice in Navajo County since 2014. He brings both knowledge and integrity to our team. When he’s not in the courtroom you may find him consulting with fellow prosecutors regarding their current caseloads. Clint is very approachable which makes it easy to ask for his opinion or guidance. From an advocate’s perspective having a resource like Clint is extremely helpful in being the bridge between the prosecutor and the victim. He never fails to express his appreciation for our assistance on each individual victim case. He manages his heavy, felony caseload with such ease victims assume their case is his top priority.

Without a doubt Clint is a proud American Patriot. Captain Metheny serves as a JAG officer (Judge Advocate General) for the United States Army. In this role he could be responsible to handle a variety of legal actions or proceedings. His current caseload, as a JAG, is representing victims of sexual assault within the military. Litigations of this nature can be a heavy burden. Clint handles these sensitive cases with both patience and understanding. Ensuring justice is upheld for SA victims is not his only responsibility as a JAG. He’s held to the same standard as any other enlisted member of the armed forces. To list a few, he must maintain his physical fitness to pass mandatory PT tests, keep up with firearms/weapons training, and be able to uproot his life at the call of duty. He does this honorably and without hesitation while juggling two separate caseloads.

Recently, I’ve had the privilege of working with Clint on a few victim cases. He has been more than efficient in making sure victims’ rights were in compliance. There is a continued Assault/DV case that I’m assigned to that is currently being prepped for a jury trial. On numerous occasions the victim has shown up unannounced to the office and Clint has gladly taken the time to meet with her and answer any questions she may have despite his overwhelming workload. He’s also explained in detail to the victim what she can expect during the jury trial. This case stood out to me because how patient Clint has been with the victim. He has taken into full consideration the victim’s side of the case. Our office is lucky to have such an understanding prosecutor. I have a friend named Bret who is a gambling man and his money would be on Clint every time! Although you don’t need the validation your work does not go unnoticed. Thank you, Clint, for your service to our country and community! It is with great pleasure I respectfully nominate Clint Metheney for the 2022 Navajo County Attorney’s Office Distinguished Criminal Justice Award.