AUSTIN – The Texas Historical Commission (THC) recognized El Paso’s Prestene M. Dehrkoop with an Award of Merit during the agency’s quarterly meeting this week.
Presented by THC Vice Chair John Crain, the award honors Dehrkoop’s 40-plus years of volunteer service preserving El Paso County’s cultural and historical resources.
Crain commended Dehrkoop for her work with the THC’s Magoffin Home State Historic Site, an 1875 adobe house museum in downtown El Paso. Dehrkoop serves as the board president for the site’s Friends group, the Casa Magoffin Compañeros, which supports the site through fundraising and special programming.
In the early 1990s, Dehrkoop successfully advocated for legislative funding to save the Magoffin Home from closure; in 1992, she founded the Compañeros as a nonprofit volunteer organization.Under her leadership, the Compañeroshas remained an active organization that continues to support the historic site.
“Today, the Magoffin Home stands as a testament to the power of advocacy and leadership,” said the THC’s Community Partnerships Coordinator Angela Reed, who spoke at the event. “It’s a beautifully restored historic gem in the heart of El Paso that welcomes visitors from across the world, in large part due to Prestene’s efforts.”
Dehrkoop’s long list of civic engagement projects were also highlighted during the award presentation, including her work with the El Paso County Historical Commission, El Paso Preservation Alliance, El Paso Heritage Tourism Advisory Committee, Harvey Girls of El Paso, and Tom Lea Institute.
“Every day we walk in footprints left for us with knowledge of how important history and preservation is,” Dehrkoop said. “The final question is, ‘What footprints are you working on to leave behind for future generations?’ THC staff and our volunteers work hard, but it’s not just a job for them. It is a labor of love.”
For more information about Magoffin Home State Historic Site, or the Casa Magoffin Compañeros, contact Site Manager Jeff Harris at 915-533-5147 or go online.