August 1 – Hobbs, NM. New Mexico Junior College honored student-athlete Brian Flores with a reception Tuesday for his most recent accomplishment as National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) David Rowlands Athlete-of-the-Year. Flores and his family, who are from Carlsbad, joined approximately 65 NMJC campus and community dignitaries as Hobbs Mayor Monty Newman proclaimed Tuesday, August 1, 2006 as “Brian Flores Day.”
The 5’11”, left-handed pitcher for the Thunderbirds is the overall winning NMJC pitcher with a two-year mark of 26-4. He pitched a perfect game and two no-hitters during his tenure at NMJC and has been drafted twice by the White Sox (2004 and 2005). He has signed with and will continue his collegiate baseball career at Arizona State University.
“On campus, he was the ideal student athlete who, by his example and leadership, inspired others to give their very best at all times; off campus, his commitment to community service was both impressive and heartwarming as he consciously strove to represent New Mexico Junior College well while living up to the same high standards he set for himself,” said NMJC Athletic Director Richard Morris.
Throughout his freshman and sophomore years, he regularly volunteered at the Hobbs Boys and Girls Club, where he refereed football and basketball. He also volunteered at a local school where he read to elementary students and encouraged them as part of one of the many reading programs in Hobbs Schools.
When the area department of Children, Youth, and Family Services of New Mexico needed assistance to provide local children with a Christmas party and gifts, Flores was one of the leaders from the NMJC Thunderbirds baseball team who immediately stepped up to the challenge and rallied the team not only to provide gifts but also to give up their time to ensure that these kids had a truly special event.
Flores’ personal standards are no less impressive. In the classroom, he consistently maintained good grades even while juggling several part-time jobs. Not surprisingly, on the playing field, Flores was so eager to play that he was generally the first player on and the last player off. And in between, according to Morris, he was considered “a warrior ready to do battle” on the baseball field, dynamically motivating, inspiring, and leading “through fearless example.”
NMJC President Steve McCleery describes Brian as a deserving role model. “NMJC has seen talented student-athletes, but Brian is a talented student-athlete in a league of his own who exemplifies through his actions—on and off campus—the ideals of the College. Brian is a genuinely outstanding young man who makes us extremely proud.”
At the event, Flores thanked his parents and family for their support, sharing a story of how his mother, whom he called “the most wonderful mother in the world,” had surprised him last year by attending the Junior College World Series Championship playoffs in Grand Junction, Colorado, even though she said she wouldn’t be able.
When asked about what the NJCAA’s Athlete-of-the-Year award meant to him, Flores, true to form, modestly admitted that it was “a great honor.”
All of New Mexico Junior College would have to agree.
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