Gerry Bing Jr.'s answer when congratulated on his distinction as Citizen of the Year was humble. He makes sure you realize it's an acknowledgement only by one group, the Elks.
But, the Minden-Douglas Elks Lodge No. 2670 takes the honor very seriously. Last year's winner of the award was Marilyn Malkmus, who has played key roles in the formation of several of Carson Valley's service organizations. Bing's accomplishments, besides his numerous donations to charities and volunteer organizations, range from being a Stanford graduate, serving the country as a Marine and since moving to Douglas County in 1963, serving on the Douglas County Republican Central Committee, on the Minden Town Board, as member and president of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and president of the Douglas County Building and Industry Association. Bing is the owner of Bing Materials, and has become an Honorary Life member of the Elks Lodge, having been a member for 22 years.
"Seldom are we privileged to present an honest to goodness member of our Elks Lodge with the Citizen of the Year award," said Elks secretary Robert Allgeier in his speech at the awards dinner at the Elks Lodge in the Gardnerville Ranchos Saturday night. "The last award I can remember was given posthumously to Sharkey Begovich, a truly remarkable citizen of this county.
"Believe me when I say our Citizen of the Year award is not a popularity contest. It is truly earned by deeds performed."
Bing gave monetary and material donations to organizations who asked for assistance, according to Allgeier.
"The model plane group, the Sierra Philharmonic League, the chamber, the this and that have all been assisted without question," said Allgeier. "I can even remember the yards and yards of rock donated to the Kiwanis Club that was used in a very local Ranchos Park. We spread it, but Gerry donated it."
Bing's other civic involvements include being a founding sponsor of the Summer Family Concert Series, a member of Homes of Our Own Program, the Community Builder and Bob the Builder series. At age 66, he was recognized as Nevada's 2005 Small Business Champion of the Year by the National Federation of Independent Business, America's largest small-business advocacy group.
In Allgeier's speech, he mentioned that Bing's trademark is his yellow Chevy El Camino. Bing Materials controller Bruce Reavis and his wife Peggy, Bing's friends of 35 years, got a chance to pay special tribute to their long-time friend at the awards dinner on Saturday. Prior to the dinner, Bing had no idea he was the one to be presented with the Citizen of the Year award.
"They had set me up royally," Bing said. "Bob (Allgeier) had asked me if I could help present Ron's (Douglas County Sheriff Ron Pierini's) Citizen of the Year award. When we came in, he walked us (Bing and girlfriend Pat Nelson) to the head table. Then I was in shock all night long."