The planned veterans service building will be named in honor of a lieutenant colonel who flew 246 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
Miguel Encinias, a Las Vegan who now lives in Albuquerque, was shot down, wounded and taken prisoner in World War II. He also was shot down in Korea, rescued by a helicopter and returned to duty.
Gary Ludi, a member of the committee planning the building, recommended the City Council last week name the building in honor of Encinias.
“Lt. Col. Encinias is a decorated war veteran and hero. He broke the barrier for Hispanics and allowed soldiers of the Hispanic race to be proud and placed in leadership positions,” Ludi said in a statement.
The council voted unanimously to name the building after Encinias.
The city is planning to renovate the old armory at 917 Douglas Ave., which was gutted by a fire in 1993. Officials recently broke ground for the project, saying that once finished, it will serve as an education, training, housing, medical and social services center for veterans.
“We will definitely have a museum that will contain the history of the building and of the veterans from this area. We want something that we can call our own,” said Victor Cordova, chairman of the Northern New Mexico Community Development Corporation, in a recent interview.
The project has enough money for the first phase, and officials will be seeking money from the state during the month-long legislative session that began last week.