Congressman Lujan Tours HOY Recovery Campus in Velarde

HOY Congressman visit 1
On the HOY campus (left to right) Gilbert Serrano, Espanola Valley School Board Member;  Alex M. Naranjo, Rio Arriba County Commissioner; Ambros Baros, HOY Recovery Programs Executive Director; Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. Courtesy photo

Congressman Lujan Tours HOY Recovery Campus in Velarde

At the invitation of Rio Arriba County, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan spent the better part of Monday morning touring the County’s expansive 31-acre campus managed by HOY Recovery Programs Inc.  Here consumers undertake an intensive but compassionate ninety day treatment program developed from evidence-based models as well as traditional healing approaches.  The Congressman heard directly from County leaders, HOY staff and most importantly from resident consumers themselves during his visit.

Commissioner Alex Naranjo emphasized that addressing our community’s substance abuse problem remains both his and the County’s number one priority.  The Commissioner spoke passionately on the issue from his experience as Magistrate Judge, County Commissioner but most of all as a long-standing member of the community where he has witnessed the direct impact on our families.  “When I became Commissioner and first met with Ambrose (HOY’s Executive Director) and learned we were serving between 20-30 people at the facility, I let him know that I wanted to work closely with HOY to get the number up to 75 before I left the Commission.”

Indeed, under the leadership of Ambrose Baros, a proficient Board of Directors and a most capable and passionate staff, HOY Recovery has made inspiring advancements over the past several years operating the County owned facility in Velarde.  The numbers of individuals served has increased substantially and current and future investments by the County and HOY Recovery should assure that the growth continues in order to meet the essential needs of our community.  The Congressman learned that “when detox services were discontinued in our region, HOY Recovery took the lead and filled the void providing these critical services on their own without identified reimbursement of costs at the time.”

Ambros Baros explains the traditional healing programs to Congressman Lujan in front of sweat lodge (left to right) Ambros Baros, HOY Recovery Programs Executive Director; Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. Courtesy photo

County Health and Human Services Director pointed out that New Mexico and rural communities are often ineligible to apply for federal opioid grants due to restrictions placed on population, on evaluation requirements, or other arcane language. Congressman Lujan agreed to have his staff work with her to identify ways these funding streams could be opened up to communities in Northern New Mexico.

JR Sandoval showcases raised flower beds built by HOY consumers with material donated by Lowes  (left to right) Commissioner Congressman Ben Ray Lujan; JR Sandoval; HOY Senior Manager; David F. Trujillo, Rio Arriba County Deputy Manager. Courtesy photo

Congressman Lujan took great interest in HOY’s current efforts to add a one year program in addition to the current ninety day program along with plans to institute educational and job training opportunities on campus in order to better meet the long-term needs of consumers.   Currently, the County is completing essential upgrades to the buildings and infrastructure thanks to capital outlay investment provided by our local legislative delegation.   

HOY Board Member and Treasurer, Dennis Carter, emphasized the importance of introducing education and training. “Too often the program gets our consumers cleaned up only to have them go back into the very environment that got them in trouble in the first place, we must set them up with proper career opportunities if we ever want to break this intolerable cycle.” Gilbert Serrano with the Espanola Valley School Board also attended and spoke on a number of existing job opportunities from trades to professional career paths and the need for all of our institutions to work closely together to develop the right pathway for each individual. 

By far, the most meaningful exchange took place when Congressman Lujan extended his visit to have lunch with two individuals currently in the program.  They spoke well of the overall program methodology, staff, facilities and one could observe that the treatment was indeed taking root by their thoughtful description of the overall experience.  They did stress, however, the need for educational and training opportunities along with the ability to fill voids of time with “artistic activities based on the interests of each individual.”


HOY Recovery Programs offer multidisciplinary treatment including individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, individual treatment plans, access to vocational/rehabilitative services, support group meetings, assistance in re-integrating into the community, and referral to outpatient services upon completion. For more information visit their website at or call 505-852-2580.