LAS CRUCES >> Late last week, on the third floor of the Stan Fulton Center, a golden anniversary was celebrated.

Like most markings of 50 years of commitment, glasses were raised as guests took a moment to salute too-often unsung heroes who have mentored countless hopeful business owners as they start out on the road to success.

Some 50 current and past mentors of the Las Cruces SCORE chapter gathered to receive a well-deserved pat on the back along with their spouses and several business owners who have benefited from the organization's guidance that has, for 50 years, paired business executives, both those still working and those who have retired, with those trying to break into their respective fields or launch businesses in Las Cruces.

As I mingled with the retired business folks, who usually work behind the scenes, quietly mentoring the next generation of southern New Mexico business leaders, one thing above all struck me. Of the 20-plus mentors currently active in the Las Cruces chapter, none are from Las Cruces.

Depending on how you look at this fact, it could be a good or bad thing. Obviously, the group would benefit from more local business people stepping up to the plate and fostering the next wave of innovation and development, Cathie Fern, told me.