Grace Mainvil, NABO Bizi Emankorra Award
Grace Mainvil was honored with North American
Basque Organizations' Lifetime Achievement Award, Bizi Emankorra in
For Photos of Award Ceremony click here.
Grace was born in San Juan
Capistrano, California in 1934. She is the daughter of Basque
immigrants who settled in California. Her father, Jean Pierre Lacouague,
arrived in San Juan Capistrano,
California from Ainhoa, Lapurdi in 1910. Her mother, Bonifacia Mujica, came
to Fullerton, California in 1912 from Maya in the Baztan Valley
of Nafarroa. Grace spent her early years on her parentís ranch where she
grew up with traditional Basque life and culture. After marrying John
Mainvil in 1959, they settled in Riverside, Califormia. Where they were
involved in the Southern Californian Basque community of Chino. In 1972,
they moved with their four daughters to Weiser, Idaho.
After retirement, they moved in 2002 to Eagle, Idaho
where they currently reside.
In 1987 Grace was elected to the office of N.A.B.O.
Treasurer, a position of great responsibility that she has retained for many
years. Always looking out for the best interests of our federation, Grace
has done a thorough and impeccable job in this office. She pursues with
equal vigor matters of cents and those of thousands of dollars. Her
professional attitude and detailed treasurerís reports reflect her
dedication to our organization. For eighteen years Grace has provided
continuity at the head table at N.A.B.O. meetings. Over the years many
presidents have come and gone while Grace has quietly served as our trusty
anchor. She has become an invaluable resource for all of us regarding our
Grace has been active in Basque communities
her entire life. Over the years she has been a member of Euskaldunak, Inc of Boise, the Basque Museum, and The Society of
Basque Studies. Currently Ontario,Oregon Basque Club is proud to count her
among its members.
Grace joined Ontario, Oregon Basque Club
in 1973. She has held several offices in the Ontario club including
President, Vice-President, and Secretary. She was selected to be Ontarioís
N.A.B.O. delegate in 1982. Because of her desire and passion to contribute
to Basque culture, she has represented Ontario at N.A.B.O. for over 20
years. Through the enthusiastic and detailed N.A.B.O. reports that Grace
gives at the Ontario meetings, it is evident that she truly believes in and
is dedicated to the mission of N.A.B.O..
2003, Grace was chosen to represent N.A.B.O. at the Third World Congress on
Basque Communities held in Gasteiz, Araba. She was an ideal ambassador for
our federation because of her in-depth knowledge of N.A.B.O., her interest
in Basque culture worldwide, and her friendly manner and ease of
communication with other participants. Her experiences were personally
enriching, but have also had a positive impact on the N.A.B.O. and its
relationship to other institutions.
nominated Grace for the Bizi Emankorra Award because of her
tireless devotion and service to Basques and our culture throughout the
decades, especially her long-term dedication and countless hours of work as
N.A.B.O. treasurer. Her life-long passion to be involved in and promote
Basque culture in communities surrounding her makes her a strong candidate
for this honor. Above all, however, we felt that Grace deserves this award
because she truly embodies the ideals of N.A.B.O..
When N.A.B.O. began over three decades ago, Basque America
was quite fragmented. The divisive notions of French or Spanish Basque that
emphasized or even created differences among us, were all too common, and
individual communities were much more isolated from one another than we are
today. N.A.B.O. has bridged the gaps that once divided us. Grace has been
an active participant in building these bridges. She transitioned from the Southern California
communities to Ontario, Oregon where she learned the Bizkaera dialect
dominant there. Although she was a newcomer, she dove right into all
activities, contributing her unique knowledge and talents. She introduced
her fellow members to new friends and ways from other Basque regions.
Working with the youth in Ontario she also helped bridge a generation gap
and inspire younger generations to take pride in their heritage. Grace has
been exemplary as a bridge between Ontario, Oregon Basque club and N.A.B.O.
and between N.A.B.O. and Eusko Jaurlaritza as well as other Basque
communities worldwide. Wherever you see Grace she is engaged in
conversation with people from various clubs and different ages and always
has a smile and a kind word for everyone.
In her quiet way, Grace has played an indispensable role in
helping N.A.B.O. fulfill its mission. She has done this directly by serving
as treasurer for nearly two decades and indirectly through her work for Ontario, Oregon
Basque Club, representing our views at the N.A.B.O. level. She is committed
to the success of N.A.B.O. and works with all member clubs whenever they