CEDA recognizes community members for their contributions

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The Churchill Economic Development Authority recognized community members Wednesday for their contributions to Churchill County.

When the Merton Domonoske Award first came into existence, Paula Domonoske graciously allowed CEDA to name this award after her husband Mert, who served our community for many, many years.

The past recipients of this award were deserving of the distinction and this year’s winner is certainly no exception having succeeded Domonoske as Fallon’s mayor. In addition to eight years as mayor, Bob Erickson has served as on the Fallon City Council with his current term ending this spring, and he acted as a pillar in the business community by greeting so many movie goers for so many years at the Fallon Theatre.

Thanks in no small part to Virgil Getto and the like-minded individuals, the county’s great agricultural industry’s contribution to the local economy is second only to that of Naval Air Station Fallon, but those in that industry strive to be sure our agricultural community second to none.

The Virgil Getto Award is for dedication to the promotion of the agriculture industry.

More than a decade ago as part of a research experiment to develop high-value, drought-resistant grains, John Getto and Dave Eckert of Desert Oasis Teff and Grain began growing teff, a gluten free ancient grain from Ethiopia. Today, they have become one of the largest teff growers in the United States, and their operation includes harvesting, cleaning and just recently celebrated the launch of their new brand and website to facilitate their own direct retail sales

The Carl Dodge Award is for believing big and taking great risks to improve family, industry and community. State Sen. Dodge was a man with great vision for this community that was reflected in his service at both local and state levels, extending far beyond title alone. This year’s honor goes to the Fallon Cantaloupe Festival and Country Fair, has been putting on this event since 1985. The event has gone through many changes since its inception, but it is still the heart of our community.

Many dedicated people devoted hundreds of hours to ensure its success. They are dedicated to providing the paramount opportunity for all ages to learn about agriculture in community. Drawing both locals and friends from neighboring communities, its success this year far surpassed previous years.

Newell Mills was an innovator in the dairy industry his entire life and assured our community’s place on the map. The Newell Mills Award for innovation in industry that improves the economic viability of the entire community recognizes Innovation in Industry that improves the economic viability of the entire community.

Huck Salt and Sons, a family-owned business, is the oldest, continuously operating mining operation in the state of Nevada, having recently celebrated their 80th birthday. Beginning in 1938 with a shovel and wheelbarrow, the fourth generation of this family is now involved with the operations covering 960 acres and harvesting over 25,000 tons of salt a year.

Although now able to benefit from the use of more modern equipment, the fact that every employee is a certified welder ready to adapt technology to meet the need of their unique business shows why CEDA recognizes Huck Salt and Sons for its innovatively sustained contribution to the community’s economic viability.

Kelli Kelly’s service has led directly to increasing the health and wellbeing of our community. While her hands are certainly well known for preparing a tasty meal, the work they’ve completed behind the scenes are evident in two major community projects.

She is this year’s recipient of the Stuart Richardson Award for working behind the scenes to silently save and support the community.

A resident of Churchill County for just over a decade, Kelly’s involvement as an actively working board member on the Fallon Youth Club has led to its sustained growth resulting in the construction of a brand, new center at Venturacci Park. Those energies have also now been applied to the Fallon Food Hub, stepping down from as board president and assuming her role as executive director just over a year ago and facilitating its growth in service to our region’s agricultural producers, leading in no small part to her election as Fallon’s Cantaloupe queen this year. We honor the Queen herself, Kelli Kelly, for her tireless efforts continuing to build a healthy and happy community.

CEDA honored Mike and Michele Berney whose contributions measure up to those given by Shirley Walker in her time of service to this community and will guarantee its vitality for years to come. The couple received the Shirley Walker Award for building beautifully the civility, culture and collaboration in the community

The Berneys have has dedicated their lives to this community through service in many board positions and in many hours of their time. From the hospital to the museum, PEO to Kids Helping Kids, the list of their contributions is almost too long to list. They volunteer at the Fallon Theater on most Thursdays.


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