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 brought together wonderful people 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 Nogales International, Green Valley News and Sahuarita Sun will honor people in the region who are spark plugs in communities including Nogales, Rio Rico, Sonoita, Patagonia, Tubac, Tumacacori, Arivaca, Amado, Green Valley and Sahuarita.

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.

You can find an online slideshow honoring them all at, and a special section published for the event at, under the menu button, “Special publications.”

It’s simple to get the nominations process rolling. Just submit 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’s most influential people. We’ll dig in and do more research. The deadline to nominate somebody is June 30.

Send your nominations to me 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 folks, 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 makes 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!

(Coppola is publisher of the Nogales International.)

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