Sara Lewis Montoya

Shipping & Receiving Supervisor

Sara Lewis Montoya, 67, was born in Crownpoint, New Mexico and grew up north of Church Rock, New Mexico. Her clans are Meadow People Clan and Red Streak Clan.

She attended elementary/middle school at Standing Rock Boarding School and Crownpoint Boarding School. Montoya graduated from Gallup High School.

Now employed as Fire Rock Navajo Casino’s Shipping and Receiving Supervisor, she said she loves having a job that allows her to work with new materials, become more creative, make mistakes, and learn from her mistakes.

“Working with Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise is extremely exciting because it’s the first casino on the Navajo Reservation and it’s very special to be a part of a historical development for our people,” Montoya said. “Colleagues who have helped and guided me along the way are Cecelia Au, Steve Hoskie, Mary West, Lori Ortega, Felicia Chee, Jeremiah McCabe, and Lionel Livingston. They all made a great impact on my job status. They encouraged me with a smile and helped played a big role when issues needed to be resolved.”

She said during her time at Fire Rock Navajo Casino, she learned a lot and attended many training sessions with colleagues.

“I’ve met colleagues that have the same outlook as I do,” Montoya said. “I appreciate that Fire Rock Navajo Casino is not too far from home and less stressful to drive back/forth to work daily.”

She has been married to her husband Ted R. Montoya for 42 years and has two children, son Randy Monty Montoya (deceased) and daughter Rachel Nadine Montoya. She has three pet dogs, Rouger, Oreo and Ginger.

Montoya said her late parents Tom Abel Lewis Sr. and Jennie Benally Lewis were amazing and always encouraged their children to do will in life and finish school.

“I have seven brothers and two sisters,” Montoya said. “We all grew up close and reside at the homestead and work in surrounding areas. Five of my older siblings are retired, which is amazing. We all tend to the ranch home and gather together for family time.”

In high school Montoya joined a DECA program, an organization for high schoolers to complete and receive exposure to the business world.

“The DECA program offered me a job while in school,” she said. “I attended school half a day and worked evenings during my sophomore through my senior year. I graduated in December and walked with my classmates during graduation in May.”

Montoya’s first job was with Standing Rock Chapter and was later hired part-time by a bank where she worked in the afternoons. She was offered a full-time position when she graduated high school and worked in the banking industry for 28 years.

“I’m proud to be employed with Fire Rock Navajo Casino for over 15 years,” she said. “I was initially hired as an inventory clerk, but later transferred to Shipping & Receiving and have been there since 2008. I’ve applied all the basic fundamentals learned from past work experience and have been very successful in the workplace.”

She said she feels rewarded for her job at Fire Rock Navajo Casino as she works towards their Mission Statement daily.

“The benefits from my job are so positive,” Montoya said. “It has provided my family and I a beautiful home, new vehicles and allowed my children to attend local schools, college at the University of New Mexico at Gallup Branch and UNM main campus in Albuquerque. I’m able to provide for my family financially and have a lovely warm home to go back too.”

She said she felt very welcome on her first day on the job.

“I walked into the old bingo hall and the first person I met was Steve Hoskie,” Montoya said. “Hoskie gave me my first task to take inventory of all the received purchased items/equipment delivered to the casino. I had to get all items/equipment delivered to the appropriate departments, obtain signatures on receiving reports/purchase orders and input for payments. I completed the task in a timely matter which rewarded me to be placed in Shipping & Receiving. Every day is a challenge and very rewarding.”

Montoya loves sports.

“My favorite teams are the LA Dodgers baseball team, the LA Lakers basketball team, the Dalla Cowboys football team, the Duke Blue Devils college basketball team and the New Mexico Lobos,” she said. “My favorite local high school basketball team is the Gallup High School Bengals, plus I enjoy cross country and track. Also, I enjoy rodeos, PBR Bull Riding and Tour De France Cycling.”

Montoya said they have a strong and wonderful Human Resource Training Team that works closely with Villena Johnson. At times she’s gone off property to train and always gain new knowledge.

“I’m appreciative during my 15 years here at Fire Rock Navajo Casino I have also earned Employee of the Year, Supervisor of the Quarter, Employee of the Month and collected Perfect Attendance incentives,” she said.

Montoya said she would like to thank Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise for allowing her to come to work and experience all the challenges that allowed her to find a new solution to resolving issues.

“Allowing me to enjoy quality time with my family and being able to afford nice items due to a good paying job is terrific,” she said. “I love my jewelry and having a good meal with my family. I apply myself positively daily, gain more new knowledge, develop new goals, always asking questions to be more productive and successful.”