UNR honors Carson couple for years of service at FISH
Longtime Carson City FISH director Monte Fast and his wife, Billie, will be honored Friday as Distinguished Nevadans at the University of Nevada, Reno’s advanced degree commencement ceremony.
“Since arriving in Carson City in (1984), the couple has helped the 31-year-old organization become one of Northern Nevada’s most impactful charities,” the program for the event states. “Working though private donations, volunteers and a minimum paid staff, they have provided to needy families and individuals food, clothing, shelter, medical services, counseling, education, job opportunities, tax preparation services, social and support services, utility bill help, a thrift store, as well as love and spiritual guidance.”
Fast said he knew University Regent Ron Knecht had nominated him for the honor, but was surprised to have been selected.
“It’s kind of overwhelming, really,” Monte Fast said. “I’m amazed by it. My goodness, I didn’t think I was doing all that much.”
The Fasts will be recognized during the ceremony, then again at a reception following at 6:30 p.m. Friday in the university’s Morrill Hall. Another ceremony will be held in June to inscribe their names in the Honor Court.
Fast said he was pleased his wife was included.
“I can’t imagine any of this would be possible without Billie,” he said. “She’s a brick.”
Fast, a pastor from Oregon, moved to Carson City to work with the First Presbyterian Church. He was chosen as FISH’s third executive director in 1988.
He went on to help establish the only free medical clinic in Northern Nevada, named for Dr. Charlie Ross.
“Through the work of volunteer doctors and nurses, it helps hundreds of patients each month,” the program reads. “In addition, FISH provides more than 100,000 free meals each year.”
FISH was awarded a Best Practices Award from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2000. Fast was also named Citizen of the Year by the Carson City Board of Supervisors, and served on several boards and committees in the community.
A scholarship was endowed in his name in 2008 for students attending Western Nevada College.
The ceremony will be 4:50 p.m. Friday in the University Quadrangle.