Though it has been a decade since his sudden loss to cancer, the life and influence of juvenile probation officer Ron Wood are felt by many in the community just as powerfully today.
"I still have a lot of his friends and people who played sports with him come up to me and just start talking about him, telling the most wonderful stories," says Sharlea Payne, executive director of the Ron Wood Family Resource Center.
Wood's passing left a wanting void in the community, but his legacy and spirit inspired the formation of the key community resource for children and parents that bears his name.
The Ron Wood Family Resource Center celebrates 10 years of service today with a dinner and silent auction fund-raiser at the Piñon Plaza Resort at 6:30 p.m.
From humble beginnings as a collaborative effort put together through The Boys and Girls Club of Western Nevada, the center has grown to be a self-sufficient resource for approximately 1,500 people per month, housing services from anger-management classes to the WIC program.
"We've come a long way, baby," said Payne, who says that she's absolutely proud to work for such a great organization.
In August 2004, the Center joined forces with Family to Family Connection to offer even more services under one roof.
"We expanded our services to include the entire family," Payne said.
While the center's assets and capabilities may have increased in the past 10 years, Payne says the mission has remained true to Ron Wood.
"Ron was known as the kind of guy who never ever gave up on a child," Payne said. "He was always willing to offer a second chance and always believed in the children. We try to build self-esteem through things like tutoring, after-school programs and special-needs counseling."
Though Payne says she wasn't fortunate enough to know Wood during his lifetime, she says she's one of the lucky people who have gotten to know him through his legacy at the center.
"What I'm hoping to do on Saturday is to feel like we really made him proud," she said.
The Ron Wood Family Resource Center and Family to Family is located at 212 E. Winnie Lane and is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.
Family to Family operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday.
n Contact reporter Peter Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1215.
If you go
What: Ron Wood Family Resource Center's 10-year anniversary commemoration dinner
Where: Piñon Plaza Resort
When: 6:30 p.m.
Cost: Tickets $100 per person or $700 for table for eight. RSVP to Sharlea Payne at 884-2269. Donations also accepted at 212 E. Winnie Lane.
Proceeds benefit: Programs at the center.