Chamber Gala recognizes Valley honorees | RecordCourier.com

Chamber Gala recognizes Valley honorees

Six honorees of the Valley accepted their awards at the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce's 70th Community Recognition Awards Gala on Saturday at the Carson Valley Inn.

"I love this event because we know we live in a special community," said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Chernock. "This event gives us a chance to recognize those who make this community great."

Starting off the ceremony was the staff of Family Support Council, who were named employees of the year.

In the past year, they continued their programs of confidential and free support, resources, referrals, and educational services, as well as maintaining an emergency shelter for adult and child victims of domestic, sexual, and family, stalking or dating violence. The Family Support Council also embarked on a new project, Jessie's Ranch, which will provide a day-program and support providers to disabled adults who have "aged out," and no longer receive assistance from the Douglas County School District.

"Everything we do is community based," said Family Support Council Executive Director Steve Decker. "We help people be as independent as possible."

The business of the year was presented to Lynn Falcone and Harvey Jasny from the Chocolate Shoppe.

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Falcone and Jasny always try to make their customers feel comfortable.

Chernock repeated that statement in presenting them with their award.

"They always stop what they are doing to welcome their customers and to help," he said.

In addition to their success, products, and customer service, the Chocolate Shoppe has provided support to numerous fundraising efforts over the years.

Falcone was honored to accept the award.

"Congrats to all the winners we are so proud to be part of what you all are," she said.

The Kiwanis Club of Carson Valley received the service club of the year award. The Kiwanis are past recipients, but because of their continued support and dedication to the community have been presented with the honor again.

Over the past year, the club's highlights have included their continuing success in growing Project Santa Clause by recruiting the participation of a growing group of volunteers and other service clubs.

While continuing their programs, including the Key Club at Douglas High School and awarding $10,000 in scholarships, they are also in the process of establishing a new service leadership program. The Aktion Club will work with adults 18 and older living with a disability.

The nonprofit organization of the year went to the Douglas Center for Hope and Healing.

"Their chosen task of helping the members of the community cope with the loss of a loved one is a difficult one and their staff and volunteers do it remarkably well," Chernock said. "One on one counseling, ongoing peer groups and their Camp Hope program are just a few of the ways they perform their task, all at no charge to the people and families they help."

"We are grateful for the businesses, sponsors and donations and to be a part of this amazing community who serve the community like we do," said Hope and Healing Co-founder Jodi Wass.

Andrea Rajeski of the Young at Heart Senior Citizen's club was recognized as the volunteer of the year.

Working in the senior community for over a decade, Rajeski is the current president of Young at Heart, a member of Active Volunteers in Douglas and on the Board of the County's Senior Services Advisory Council.

"This honor is given for more than just a list of projects and accomplishments," Chernock said. "Rajeski has shown outstanding leadership skills, a willingness to jump in and do the work and determination to get things done."

Rajeski credited her team for her accomplisment.

"I don't take all the credit," said Rajeski. "I have a wonderful crew. We do it together and get it done."

Husband and wife team Dan and Lois Wray, owners of the Pink House in Genoa were named citizens of the year.

"They are relatively new to Carson Valley but have already made their mark," Chernock said.

They have brought jobs to the Valley with the opening of the offices of Biofilm Management while being an example and encouragement to other entrepreneurs.

Dan Wray has taken a lead role in the activity of the Business Council.

Lois Wray was the driving force behind the restoration of one of the oldest buildings in the state.

"Bringing the Pink House back to life as an example of Gothic Revival architecture, a thriving business and gathering spot in Genoa," Chernock said. "The receiving of a Historic Preservation Certificate from the Department of the Interior – National Park Service speaks to quality of the project and the Wray's commitment to Carson Valley."

"It's amazing when you have an idea and the amount of support behind you that you receive to pursue it," said Lois. "It has been truly an honor and a privilege to restore the Pink house and to be a part of this community."

It was echoed that each and every one of them would not be standing there if it were not for the dedication and generosity of the community.

Rajeski confirmed that shared idea when she said, "Without everyone in the community, I would be nothing; we would be nothing."

This year's list was drawn from a pool of nominees that were named in letters submitted to the Chamber and event co-sponsor, The Record-Courier.

There was not a ballot; the winners were chosen based on the contributions they have made to the Carson Valley community in the past year as determined by a selection committee.

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