Carson's brightest lights honored

Seven community members and one local nonprofit organization were honored at the 2005 Community Awards luncheon at the Carson Nugget on Friday.

It's the sixth year the Nevada Appeal and Carson Access Television have partnered to honor local citizens who've made a difference in the community.

Those recognized came from a gifted and hardworking group of students, professionals, volunteers and public servants.

Educator of the Year - Coach David Hart

Topping off a 25-year career coaching football and teaching physical education at Fernley High School, Hart was recognized for his dedication to the school and for the character he inspired in his students and players. Hart said he's worked with more than 5,000 students during his career, noting that getting a chance to be a part of so many young lives has been both the toughest and the best part of the job.

Student of the Year - Collin Kamholz

After scoring 1,540 on his SAT and leading the Douglas High School academic team to three consecutive Nevada Academic League Championships, this student athlete is on his way to Washington University in Saint Louis, Mo. where he says he plans to pursue pre-med degree.

Artist of the Year - Benjamin Victor

The 25-year-old artist from South Dakota attained national recognition and critical acclaim when his sculpture of American Indian activist and celebrated early Nevadan Sarah Winnemucca was unveiled in the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C. The Northern State University student is the youngest artist to have his work displayed in the fabled hall. First Lady Dema Guinn accepted the award on Victor's behalf, whose work she said truly honored the state. She encouraged people to come to the Capitol, where an identical statue is on display, to see Victor's work in person.

Athlete of the Year - Kyle Bacon

Carson High School's Kyle Bacon set an example as starting quarterback on the football field, point guard on the basketball court and as a clubber on the greens for the golf team, all while keeping up a 3.75 GPA. He thanked his coaches and his mother, Kim Riggs, for nominating him.

Boss of the Year - Laurel Terry

As principal of Seeliger Elementary School, Laurel Terry supervises a staff of 50 and oversees more than 700 students, whom she credits with helping her "shine like a bald light." The San Diego State graduate began her career in education as a fifth-grade teacher in 1978 at Fremont Elementary School.

Employee of the Year - Darlene Gregory

The Douglas High School receptionist of 27 years was modest about being named Employee of the Year. Head secretary Barbara Hamilton said that Gregory's success comes natural to her. "Darlene really cares about people," she said. "She's got such a good attitude and is respectful to those who come to her for help. Plus, she has a great laugh."

Citizen of the Year - Sheriff Kenny Furlong

Since being elected sheriff in 2001, the U.S Air Force veteran and Carson City native has become a recognizable and strong symbol of department revitalization. In April, he bravely shared his tough-love story with the Nevada Appeal of having to arrest his own daughter, a recovering methamphetamine addict, and having to refuse to bail her out of jail. Sheriff Furlong said he was honored to receive the award, then quickly went back to his job.

Organization of The Year - DAWG

"We haven't had to euthanize an animal since we began," said DAWG president, Sherrie Harcourt. The Douglas Animal Welfare Group is made up of a core staff and about 50 volunteers who do everything from walk the dogs to clean up the pens. "Sometimes you see a dog whose been in there for two years get adopted," said Harcourt. "You do get attached to these animals, but you just get so overjoyed when something like that happens."

Special Recognition - Citizens of Carson City

The people of Carson City were lauded for their benevolence; for being the kind of community that comes together to raise money for the Asian tsunami disaster recovery efforts; the kind of place where an anonymous donor comes forward and gives money for a new bicycle for Glenn Lucky or a prosthetic leg for gifted dancer, Alicia Karau. The kind of town where people regularly practice random acts of kindness.

"Carson City is a wonderful place," said Community Awards host and publisher of the Nevada Appeal, John DiMambro. "I've lived in four different states ... I hope everybody really appreciates what we have here."

- Contact reporter Peter Thompson at or 881-1215.


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