Teri Vance: One person can make a difference | NevadaAppeal.com

Teri Vance: One person can make a difference

Teri Vance
Jason Gardner competes in the newspaper toss during the End of Bike Week Party on Friday evening in McFadden Plaza.
Randy Gaa

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the significance of one person. In a way, you could argue we’re all insignificant in the big picture — the world continues to turn despite the happenings in our lives.

But on the other hand, we each have infinite significance. My cousin died a couple of weeks ago, and this week a well-known local photographer Tim Dunn died, too.

Neither of these men were famous, but they leave waves of grief in their absence. Their influence will be felt for a lifetime, if not generations.

I’ve noticed an urgency among the people who knew them to reach out more, forgive, ask forgiveness and embrace life — both the highs and lows.

And it’s made me take note of how one individual can make changes, sometimes in the entire world and other times in the world around them.

Last week, I wrote about a Trash Mob taking place at 10 a.m. today at the East Silver Saddle Ranch.

Donna Inversin organized it through Muscle Powered, the volunteer organization dedicated to creating a more walkable and bikeable community.

I’ve interviewed Inversin over the years, and learned she decided to retire to Carson City because of its outdoor opportunities. Through Muscle Powered, she’s invigorated the walking and hiking community, spearheading development of new trails including a new project to create a trail from Carson River Canyon to Virginia City.

She’s one of many in the trails community who has made a big impact on the quality of life and economy of Carson City through volunteerism.

Last week, I attended the Knowledge Summit as part of National Library Week, featuring best-selling author Milton Chen.

As a panelist, Mayor Bob Crowell told a little more of his story than I had heard before.

Born in Tonopah and raised in Carson City, he built his law practice here and Las Vegas. In the early days, he spent much of his time in the southern office, he said.

In 1996, he joined a committee to pass a bond to build a second high school in town. The bond was soundly voted down.

In the process, Crowell said, he heard a lot of unsettling opinions. People were telling him the schools didn’t need to expand as Carson City was a retirement community resigned to a shrinking population.

He remembers telling his wife, Susan, “This is nuts, man.”

He told her he didn’t like what was happening to his hometown. He stopped traveling, and ran for the school board.

That’s where I met him, and I was always struck by his fairness and dedication to principle over politics. I remember him getting teary eyed when elementary school kids came to a school board meeting to sing patriotic songs.

Since then, he was elected as mayor and is serving his final term.

It all started with that one commitment to get involved.

I could probably write hundreds, thousands even, columns about everyday people who set about to make a certain thing happen and ended up making a big difference.

Death is a grim teacher. But its message is simple: Live.

Teri Vance is a journalist, freelance writer and native Nevadan. Contact her with column ideas at terivance@rocketmail.com.