Governor’s Points of Light Awards Ceremony | October 5th, Las Vegas
For exemplary volunteer service ranging from reading to youth to fundraising for end-of-life care, 19 individuals and organizations in Nevada were named as Finalists for the Governor’s Points of Light Awards sponsored by Nevada Volunteers, the Governor’s Commission on Service.
“…these points of light are the cornerstones of what makes Nevada great…Just as a cornerstone acts as the indispensable first stone, set to strengthen a foundation, Nevada’s cornerstone of service
strengthens our entire state and the lives of our citizens.”
The finalists represent individuals from northern, rural, and southern Nevada, Volunteer Managers, and Corporate and Nonprofit volunteer programs from across the state. These finalists were selected as a result of a statewide nomination process. Nominations received were screened for eligibility, had references checked and were ranked by a statewide judging panel. Finalists will be honored at the Governor’s Points of Light Awards Ceremony on October 5th in Las Vegas where the award recipient for each category will be announced.
The 2017 Governor’s Points of Light Finalists being honored are as follows:
• Finalist Individual-Northern Nevada Dr. Paul Brosy was one of the original dentists with Compassion Community Clinic (CC Clinic), which provides low-income adults in northern Nevada with free X-rays, fillings, extractions, dental cleanings, and dental health education. Dr. Brosy exemplifies skills-based volunteerism, contributing pro bono dental services to patients at his private practice and recruiting other dentists to volunteer at the clinic. He even advised the clinic in creating policies and standards that meet industry standards.
• Finalist Individual-Northern Nevada Donna Clontz took her role as a Senior Citizen Advisory Board member beyond committing her time to advise, to supporting cross-sector collaborations and program development. She organized “senior day” at the legislature which attracted 150 seniors for the last two legislative sessions. Donna also led the “Stuff-A-Bus” event during Older Americans Month, raising over $26,000 in supplies and cash donations for seniors in need in Washoe County.
• Finalist Individual-Northern Nevada Jenna Dewar leads an all-volunteer Board for Washoe CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Foundation, is responsible for recruiting approximately 95 CASAs in Washoe County, and has volunteered as a CASA since 2011. Jenna also supervises a group of interns from the Theta Chi fraternity at the University of Nevada, Reno who mobilize volunteers to educate, inform, and recruit people to advance the CASA mission.
• Individual Finalist-Southern Nevada Charlene (Char) Falkner and her mother Eileen started a sock drive for the homeless in southern Nevada in 1992 and quickly learned that a simple pair of socks made a huge difference for individuals in terms of comfort, health, and safety. Since Eileen’s death in 2002, Char has grown the family project into a highly successful valley-wide effort, growing to over 2,000 sock donations each year.
• Individual Finalist- Southern Nevada Flori Jacobs became a volunteer at Helping Hands of Vegas Valley (HHOVV) to assist senior clients in 2014. Flori volunteers three days a week and in 2016 alone she volunteered 790 hours. She takes their message to the community, speaking to community groups, local businesses, and at social events, which has resulted in recruiting additional volunteers. Flori makes sure HHOVV clients receive reminder calls, enters client data, and ensures the transportation and pantry offices function efficiently.
• Individual Finalist- Southern Nevada Edwin Kingsley, MD was one of four physicians who began the Serenades of Life – Doctors in Concert annual fundraiser in 1995. Since then the annual concert has raised over $500,000 to benefit Nathan Adelson Hospice, which provides end-of-life care to patients and emotional support for their family. Dr. Kingsley, also serves as a bishop at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where he supervises programs for kids and teens, mentors young men pursuing the priesthood, and directs community service projects.
• Individual Finalist-Rural Nevada George H. Gault founded Mesquite Works to provide workforce training in Mesquite. In his volunteer role, George recruits and supervises AmeriCorps VISTA members who train and support clients. George also co-founded Mesquite Regional Business, Inc. which relocated companies to Mesquite that have cumulative and projected capital expenditures over $14 million in the next 2 years, and will employ over 500 people by the end of 2017. George, knowing that economic development depends on adequate and affordable housing, helped create three new housing developments that provide lower income housing. He also saw a need to improve outdoor recreational amenities, and founded the Mesquite Opportunity Regional Fund.
• Individual Finalist-Rural Nevada Terry Palmitier has volunteered at CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Douglas County for over 16 years and actively recruited and trained CASAs for the past 10 years. In 2002, Terry noticed the lack of foster homes in Douglas County and in 2003, she helped form the Shelter Planning Committee (SPC). Today a 5,000square foot facility, known as Austin’s House, provides emergency shelter for abused/neglected children in rural northern Nevada. Terry devotes approximately 15 hours every week to the children of Douglas County.
• Individual Finalist- Rural Nevada Sable Shaw volunteers at Capital City C.I.R.C.L.E.S. Initiative, where she implemented a reading program for children. Data shows that if a child is not reading at grade level by third grade, their chance of graduating high school drops significantly. Sable recruits and trains tutors and evaluates the reading program’s efficacy. She collects books for a summer reading program to mitigate ‘summer slide’, when children regress in learning, and introduced the “Reading to the Dogs” program which encourages children to read to therapy dogs. Sable is also a certified harp therapist, and plays for patients weekly at Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center.
• Finalist Volunteer Manager Lisa Feller began working with Immunize Nevada in 2015, at that time, the volunteer program only engaged volunteers to support events, often underutilizing their skills. Under Lisa’s leadership, Immunize Nevada is nearing completion of becoming a Certified Service Enterprise and volunteer retention, volunteer hours, and return on volunteer investment have increased exponentially. Volunteer hours grew from 1,550 hours in 2015 to 4,551 in 2016 and is on track to exceed those volunteer hours in 2017. The improved volunteer program allows Immunize Nevada to expand its operations beyond what could be done without volunteers.
• Finalist Volunteer Manager Lindsey Panton began at Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) as a volunteer, later served as an AmeriCorps VISTA, and is now a staff member at KTMB, where she supervises AmeriCorps VISTA members. She was instrumental in planning and developing the Sensory Garden at Idlewild Park, which was once a vacant and neglected plot of land. Lindsey recruits individuals and corporate and community groups to maintain the garden and engages a more diverse population of volunteers, including the developing partnerships with summer camps and senior centers.
• Finalist Volunteer Manager Eva Secchiari founded Veterans Transition Resource Center (VTRC), which offers a “one start shop” experience for the Veterans community, including veterans, family members, active-duty personnel, reservists, members of the National Guard, employers, service providers, and the community. Eva partnered with Veterans Services across Nevada to collaborate on ways to establish VTRC and offer a range of services. Eva mentors and partners with other Veteran organizations to build their organizational sustainability. As the backbone of the VTRC and its volunteer manager, Eva inspires her volunteers with her infectious enthusiasm, producing happy, helpful, and dedicated volunteers.
• Nonprofit/Community Volunteer Program Finalist Metro Volunteer Program began in 1997 with the intention of providing clerical support to officers. Since then it developed into a model volunteer program to serve people, strengthen relationships in the community, and improve the quality of life for all. Last year MVP volunteers provided 158,177 hours of service across southern Nevada, providing services to the 50 nonprofit partners, the entire police department, the Las Vegas Strip, McCarran Airport and at about 20 special events each month.
• Nonprofit Community Volunteer Program Finalist Muscle Powered became a nonprofit in 1999 and has since focused on enhancing the quality of life in Carson City. Muscle Powered addresses a wide range of needs including: bicycle safety, trail building, trail and bicycle maps, Safe Routes to School, and more. Muscle Powered helped Carson City become a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community, engaged 150 volunteers to remove approximately one ton of trash from Carson City in 2016, built the Ash to Kings Canyon Trail (awarded the Coalition for Recreational Trails Annual Achievement Award), and designed and installed custom bike racks throughout Carson City.
• Nonprofit/Community Volunteer Program Finalist USO Las Vegas provides a “home away from home” and a sense of community for 11,112 active duty troops, National Guard personnel, reservists, and their families stationed in southern Nevada. The Volunteer Outreach Team (VOT) raises awareness for USO Las Vegas, and has signed up 1,303 potential volunteers and raised $21,567 for USO programs since its inception. The USO Volunteer Program has 306 volunteers, who logged 41,646 service hours, the equivalent of 20 full-time employees.
• Corporate Volunteer Program Finalist JBA Consulting Engineers (now NV5) employees volunteer once a week at Spread the Word Nevada’s “Books and Buddies” program, where community members mentor at-risk elementary students to increase their reading skills. The challenges for these volunteers are significant, including student absenteeism and lack of adequate mentoring space, among others. Such challenges do not deter the NV5 volunteers, and when Spread the Word Nevada moved to the “mentor center” model, more volunteers signed-up, including the President. NV5 volunteers are discovering that the “Books and Buddies” program truly changes the buddies’ lives one book at a time.
• Finalist Corporate Volunteer Program Patagonia believes every da y is Earth Day, and lives that mantra in their ongoing support of environmental volunteerism within their company and the community. Patagonia creates a corporate culture of caring for the environment, and supports their staff to volunteer in significant ways. Employees who have been with the company for at least one year can pick an environmental group to volunteer with for two months while Patagonia continues to pay their salary and benefits. Patagonia’s team also participates in community cleanups, planting trees, building bear enclosures, and helping restore wetlands.
• Finalist Corporate Volunteer program The Estipona Group celebrated its 23rd anniversary by giving back to the community during their #23Year23Deeds campaign. This campaign addressed unmet community needs such as a community diaper drive for the Women and Children’s Center of the Sierra, baking pies for the Brookdale and Park Place Assisted Living residents, helping the Nevada Humane Society on National Puppy Day distribute puppy popsicles, serving dinners to the Ronald McDonald House and Veterans Guest House residents, and collecting back to school essentials for Project 150. The Estipona Group is in its second year of giving back, and launched #24Year24Deeds campaign.
It’s a privilege to celebrate these finalist not only for outstanding volunteer service, but for the example they’ve set for everyone in Nevada,” said Amber Martin-Jahn, Executive Director Nevada Volunteers. “These finalists prove that one person or organization truly can make a difference.”
The Governor’s Points of Light Awards were inaugurated in 2001.
For more information visit www.nevadavolunteers.org.