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Leaders and volunteers recognized

Teri Vance
Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal April Hyatt, 19, congratulates her mother, Rose Marie Painter, after Painter was named Volunteer of the Year during Thursday's Community Awards Banquet at the Carson Nugget.
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Rose Marie Painter retired two years ago from Indian Education with the Washoe Tribe. She wanted time, she said, to go fishing and camping.

Since then, she’s only been fishing once and hasn’t camped at all. Instead, her time has been consumed with volunteer work, for which she was recognized Thursday at the annual Community Awards presented by the Nevada Appeal.

“As any volunteer knows, when you want to retire that never happens,” she told the audience upon receiving her Volunteer of the Year award at the luncheon at the Carson Nugget.

“I almost fainted,” she confessed when she got back to her table, where she was met with a hug from her tearful daughter April Hyatt.

Among the duties she performs as a volunteer is cooking Christmas dinner for 400 bikers who come across the state bringing presents for underprivileged children.

Painter lives on the same land her grandparents lived, and has dedicated her life to making the community better. As an tribe educator working in the Carson City School District, she helped American Indian students succeed.

“Whether it’s teaching kids about the dangers of drugs or the value of an education, Rose Marie has changed many lives,” said Helaine Jesse, a vice president at Western Nevada College, who emceed the luncheon with Sen. Mark Amodei, R-Carson City.

Winners were selected from three finalists in each of 11 categories by the Nevada Appeal’s reader panel.

“These awards reflect the amazing amount of good work that’s done in our community,” said Peter Kostes, Nevada Appeal interim publisher. “The people and organizations responsible for those efforts are truly inspiring. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners.”

Ruth Gordon, director of the Mentor Center of Western Nevada, said she will plan a special outing for Larry Messina, who was named Mentor of the Year, and the 12-year-old boy he mentors.

When Messina received the award, he said, “The real credit goes to my mentee because he does all the work.”

Several of the winners deferred credit to those working with them.

“I am deeply honored,” said Florence Phillips, as she received her award for Humanitarian of the Year. “However, it really belongs to the 73 tutors who are teaching 130 students to read, write and speak English.”

Phillips set up a free, in-home, one-on-one program tutoring English as a second language.

Several of the winners deferred credit to those working with them.

“I need all of you because I have 105 people on a waiting list,” she said.

Special recognition was given to Dr. Mary Pierczynski, who is retiring after seven years as superintendent of the Carson City School District.

She was given a standing ovation as she walked to the stage.

“This woman is remarkable,” Jesse said. “She will truly be missed.”

• Contact reporter Teri Vance at tvance@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1272.