Some 150 Carson City leaders turned out at the Governor's Mansion annex Tuesday night to express appreciation for the 20 years of tireless work by Monte Fast, former director of Friends in Service Helping, the city's major service organization.
Fast recently retired but already has stepped up to take a seat on the board of directors of CASA, another service organization.
"What am I going to do?" Fast asked. "Raise tomatoes." What had he expected when he signed on at F.I.S.H. 20 years ago? "Nothing like this. We did $1.3 million in serving the city's needy and homeless."
He also took time to write a book, which was on sale Tuesday night for $10.
He recalled the startup of F.I.S.H., the child of four local ministers, including Father Jerry Hanley, who was on hand. Two directors had preceded Fast, and he had to strive to make the organization a success.
Before the buffet dinner, Jeff Paul offered the opening prayer. He then introduced the presentation committee, Vicky Preston, Ron Knecht, Pat Quinn-David, Jan McCauley and Jeff Fast, Monte's son who took over his father's job at the agency.
Speakers included F.I.S.H. board chairwoman when Fast as hired, Midge Breeden; a reading of the governor's proclamation commending Fast; Jim McMullen, first paid employee of F.I.S.H.; Juan Delgrado, Thrift store supervisor; Dr. Rex Baggett, director of the Rose Medical Clinic of F.I.S.H.; friend and confidant Madison Preston; and Monte's brother, Casey Fast. Deputy F.I.S.H. director Reed Robbins was in the audience.
The final speaker was Monte Fast.
"None of F.I.S.H. would have been possible were it not for the tremendous community support," Fast said. "I can point out at least 20 people in this room who made F.I.S.H. come into its present successful format."
He mentioned his current political problem of "charity fatigue." People are tired of giving and almost all service agencies have suffered, Fast said.
"It's tougher all the time with new agencies in town, but we're holding our own, although the needs are greater than ever." He noted that F.I.S.H. provides more than 100,000 free meals each year as well as helping give classes in family finances and G.E.D. preparation.
He also mentioned F.I.S.H.'s microeconomics program, which has brought three families into home mortgages. He praised the medical clinic's work and said that there was always room for one more volunteer at F.I.S.H.
Monte and wife Billie have three sons and five grandchildren, which should make his retirement less retiring.