It’s fitting that Gail and Dale Armstrong have been named as the Grand Marshals of the 2021 Socorro County Fair Parade. For the past 24 years, the couple has been a part of the Socorro County Fair community.
Gail and Dale made the decision to move from Bosque Farms to Magdalena in 1997 to raise their four children on a ranch and in a small country town. At the time of the move, neither could’ve imagined the county fair changing their lives, and their kids’ lives, for the better.
They both served on the Socorro County Fair Board for many years, and continue to support the local 4-H and FFA programs as well as the fair. Their children Kelly Kern, Kayla Kersey, KC Armstrong and Kameron Rung, have all exhibited animals in the county fair, and now three of their eleven grandchildren are participating in the fair as well.
Born in Socorro and raised in Catron County, Gail attended Datil Elementary School and Quemado High School, but turned down a collegiate basketball scholarship to marry, according to her father Dale Gallaher, a “wild cowboy.” That wild cowboy was Dale Armstrong.
Dale was born in Albuquerque and went to school in Quemado, working on ranches and at the local gas station during weekends when he was growing up. While Dale and Gail went to high school at the same time, it wasn’t until a dance held in Catron County where Dale “snuck a kiss from Gail” that they started dating.
They got married in 1984, having their reception at the Eagle Guest in Datil. After a few hardships, Gail and Dale made the risky decision to start TLC Plumbing and Utility in 1986, simply to put food on the table. Dale was the plumber, and Gail was the receptionist wrestling two children.
Dale still runs TLC Plumbing & Utility, acting as its CEO. That business and the other companies that the couple has started provides employment for over 600 families. Seeing their employees and customers happy and making an impact on the lives of people in the community are what continues to motivate Dale and Gail. If they see a need in the community or someone willing to work hard to meet it, they are always willing to help.
TLC has been a major sponsor of New Mexico Future Farmers of America for 10 years, appreciating the dedication to hard work and the belief in raising up the next generation of leaders in agriculture.
Since 2017 Gail has represented about 30,000 people in New Mexico as 49th Legislative District Representative. She says “being a mom and grandma” are some of her favorite things, but being a State Representative is a close second.
Moving their family to Madalena in the early 1990s may have been a risky decision at the time, but it has grown into one of the best decisions they have made. Dale gets to help with the family ranch and Gail gets to do what she loves, which is helping others.
The fair board recognizes the Armstrongs as folks who truly care about the communities around them, preserving the western way of life, and devoting their lives to making New Mexico a great place to live for the countless individuals they love and care for.