Former Lyon official might have center named after him

Chet Hillyard

Chet Hillyard

Described by both contemporaries and his constituents as a "man of the people," long-time Lyon County Commissioner Chet Hillyard, who is locked in a battle with cancer, may be honored with a building dedicated in his name.

That is, if several current commissioners and residents get their way.

"I guess I helped start the movement," said Tom Blomquist, a Lyon County resident. "Chet's not doing so well healthwise from what I understand. Naming a building and even a street after him (in Lyon County) seems like a no-brainer."

Hillyard, who was upset in 2006 by Larry McPherson, for the District III commissioner seat, is a rare character with political experience in both the Golden and Silver states, Blomquist said.

"It is my understanding that even though he's been a long-time leader in Lyon County, he was in politics from way back," Blomquist said. "He was showing me around his (house) one day and let me see the PA system that was used the day he arranged Ronald Reagan and Caesar Chavez to use during a meeting.

"That's just one example - he's always been a man for the people."

Blomquist said he plans to come in front of the commissioners at their next meeting, this Thursday to discuss the dedication of the new community center in Silver Springs to Hillyard.

The commissioner's agenda suggests the possible name for the center will be "Hillyard Hall."

Though it may be a formality in the eyes of some, the dedication of the new building will still be left to a commissioner's vote.

But that doesn't mean Hillyard, whom Blomquist said was "unlikely to attend" won't have plenty of support at the meeting Thursday.

"There's no question that Mr. Hillyard has been a long-time leader in the Silver Springs area,' said Donna Kristaponis, former Lyon County manager. "He's served the area for a long time. He's actively supported seniors.

"I think the to name the building for him would be appropriate."

Blomquist, who describes Hillyard as "dapper, a David Niven-type" said he implores all Silver Springs and Lyon County residents to turn out for Thursday's meeting - to take place at 9 a.m. at the commissioners' meeting room on 27 South Main Street in Yerington.

"During the last election, I helped him put up campaign signs," Blomquist said. "He was past 80 and he was running up a hill near Yerington like a mountain goat. I asked him where he was going and he said, deadpan, 'I've been up this hill before. That's who he is. He's just someone with a big heart - a difference-maker here."

Hillyard served four terms as county commissioner for District 2. During those 16 years, he worked to create the Silver Springs wastewater treatment project and general improvement district, organized the county business license office and the county government substation office in Dayton.

He worked on issues related to the Sheriff's Office, library system and successfully pushed for a new senior citizens center in Silver Springs.

He also served on the Nevada Commission to Reconstruct the V&T Railway.

Prior to coming to Silver Springs, Hillyard was a trustee on the Vallejo, Calif., Sanitation Board.

• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.


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