Nearly 170 people gathered to honor the best of Carson Valley on Saturday night at the annual Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Record-Courier Community Awards at the Carson Valley Inn in Minden.
A half-dozen members of the Knights of Columbus took the stage in tuxedos to accept the award for best service club or nonprofit.
Chamber Director Bill Chernock said there were so many good nominations that the category would be divided for future ceremonies.
The Knights followed their four core principles of charity unity, fraternity and patriotism and put them in action, Chernock said.
“Charity by conducting food drives, volunteering in the community and supporting a number of charities,” he said. “Unity by recognizing that we can accomplish far more than anyone working individually. Fraternity directs them to assist the widows and children left behind when a breadwinner has died. Patriotism, public and private, is shown by the Knights support of the nation and their community. And they look good in tuxedos.”
Over the past year, through their twice-monthly Bingo games, the Knights have raised and donated at least $1,000 each to the City of Refuge, Boys & Girls Club, Suicide Prevention, TRIAD and Kids and Horses.
They collected 4,000 pounds of canned food to donate to the Carson Valley Community Food Closet.
The group hosted breakfasts for the Suicide Prevention Walk and Relay for Life, hosted lunch for Main Street Gardnerville’s Christmas Boutique and built a horseshoe pit at Mormon Station State Historic Park in Genoa.
They awarded two $1,500 scholarships, $250 girls soccer, $250 Pop Warner and $50 Diocese of Reno Youth Group.
Bently Enterprises’ Carlo Luri and Bently Ranch Manager Matt McKinney accepted the award for best business.
“Don Bently loved this Valley,” Luri said. “And so does Chris Bently.”
One of Douglas County’s most environmentally friendly businesses, it consists of Bently Biofuels, the ranch, Romadyn and Bently Heritage.
A biodiesel pioneer, the business maintains the only station in Northern Nevada that sells E85 flex fuel.
In 2012, Bently Biofuels offset 9.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, the equivalent of taking 820 cars off the road.
Cattle on the ranch are fed hay grown there, and watering pivots are used instead of flood irrigation to conserve water.
The ranch has the largest fleet of Ranger electric vehicles on the West Coast.
“We strive to lower our collective carbon footprint by encouraging recycling and composting,” Marketing Coordinator Heidi Saucedo, who wrote the nomination, said.
Drew Aguilar accepted the award for Citizen of the Year.
“It is one thing to volunteer as a board member, and attend meetings and offer advice and help at events, but when you’re the accountant on the board, that usually means a lot more — prepping financials, helping with tax returns and being the go-to person on financial policy and decisions,” Chernock said introducing him. “He does all of this as the anti-accountant. Not a mild, quiet, soft-spoken guy. Oh no, not Drew. He always looks for the humor in situations and a reason to throw out a quote from ‘Airplane’ or “The Princess Bride’… And as a golfer … well, Drew was a good basketball player…”
Employee of the Year, Dangberg Home Ranch Curator Mark Jensen, encouraged attendees to join the Friends of the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park, and to visit.
Volunteer of the Year Carol Sandmeier was traveling through the Mojave Desert when she learned of her award.
Sandmeier said she was familiar with main street programs, because her daughter was working on her master’s thesis on the programs around the country.
“When we moved to Gardnerville, I saw an article in the newspaper saying Gardnerville was starting a main street program,” she said. “I said ‘that’s a good way to get involved in the community, so I submitted an application.’”
In accepting her award she told the crowd that she thought it might be hard getting involved in Valley life, but it wasn’t.
Sandmeier is in charge of the Heritage Park Gardens Project and coordinates the hanging baskets and planters in downtown Gardnerville.