Zoraida and Eulogio Ortega spent nearly 60 combined years in the education field. Zoraida taught at Velarde Elementary School, and Eulogio served as Dixon Elementary's principal. They retired in 1975, but for the couple, retirement merely signified the beginning of a new chapter in life.
Their love and talent for art flourished during this time. In the early 1980s, Zoraida became ill and promised Our Lady of Guadalupe that if she got well she would build a chapel in her honor. Her wish was granted, and soon after that, the chapel became a reality.
Today, people come from all over to visit the shrine, which is filled with hand carvings of saints, made by Eulogio, and weavings, courtesy of Zoraida. The two, who have been married for 56 years, were surprised to learn that they were the newest additions to the Living Treasures family.
"I was very happy, you know," said 80-year-old Zoraida. "Maybe we didn't deserve it."
The public certainly felt they deserved it. Eulogio has donated dozens of hand-carved figurines of saints and crucifixes to churches all over Northern New Mexico. And Zoraida usually finishes them with her paint brush. Last year the couple won the Masters Award for Lifetime Achievement, an annual award given to artists at the Spanish Market.