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Justin Thran given Sertoman annual award

by Bob Cutts

If doing good works can help a community, Justin Thran is working hard at it.

The 16-year-old from Smith Valley, noted for using his carpenter’s skills to build birdhouses and feeders to raise money for charities, was presented with the annual Carson Valley Sertoma’s Service to Mankind Award March 4.

When Justin accepted the invitation, however, he demonstrated that giving is just as good as receiving; he suggested that he and his dad Bob bring along half a dozen of his creations and donate them for a silent auction at the awards banquet to raise money for Sertoma’s own charities.

President Pat Cardinal and Vice President Jerry Chavez readily accepted. At the banquet, Justin received a plaque and a standing ovation. And Sertoma received $480 in auction proceeds.

That amount, Justin told his audience, in fact pushed his total of charitable donations, made mostly from his woodworking sales, to more than $45,000 over the past six years.

Justin lives in a house he and his father built by hand. And he has “the best, most meticulous hand with a band saw I’ve every seen,” says Bob, himself a contractor who spends many hours helping Justin assemble his creations.

But the young man, a sixth-generation Northern Nevadan, says he has no plans to build his own career in woodworking. Now employed 23 hours each week at Scolari’s supermarket, he plans to say with the store and hopes to eventually get on its management track.

“All I really do,” he says of the hobby that has allowed him to raise so much money for more than 40 Northern Nevada charities, “is try to give what I can to the community. And I haven’t done it all by myself – I’ve had the help of a lot of people. They deserve thanks, too.”

Also honored at the banquet, held at The Golf Club at Genoa Lakes, as Sertoman of the Year was member Bob Russell, who donates dozens of hours monthly to community service both inside and outside regular club activities. He was cited especially for his work as volunteer driver of a patients’ van, carrying veterans from Douglas County back and forth between the Carson Valley and the Reno Veterans Administration Hospital each week.

Bob Cutts photo

Awards: Carson Valley Sertoma’s President Pat Cardinal, with Service to Mankind Award winner Justin Thran and Sertoman of the Year Bob Russell.