Citizen of the Year reminds residents to always “do the right thing” |

Citizen of the Year reminds residents to always “do the right thing”

by Rachel Spacek
Kim Smallwood of the Carson Valley Visitors Authority accepts the Employee of the Year award at the 2017 Community Recognition Awards Gala Saturday night at the Carson Valley Inn.
Brad Coman |

The executive director of the Business Council of Douglas County accepted The Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year award at the Chamber Awards Gala on Saturday night, reminding attendees to always, no matter what, “do the right thing.”

Minden resident Renea Louie puts on numerous events every year, including Fore The Kids Golf Classic at The Genoa Lakes Ranch Course to raise money for youth in Douglas County.

Minden-Tahoe Airport Manager Bobbi Thompson introduced Louie on Saturday evening to an audience of local business men and women, volunteers and nonprofit leaders. She said among Louie’s many accomplishments was her ability to raise more than $2.8 million for youth in Douglas County.

“The woman goes 24 hours a day,” Thompson said.

Louie said people often ask her why she does what she does and she said for her it has always been about doing the right thing.

“I tried to teach my kids to do the right thing, I say, ‘whatever you do, whatever your passion is, whatever you look forward to, do the right thing and make the right choices,” said Louie.

Louie thanked her husband and a number of people in attendance, saying all she does is come up with “cockamamie” ideas and everyone around her supports them.

“I am only going to accept this amazing award, if all of you agree to accept it with me and you all agree for the next 35 years to continue to stick together,” Louie said.

Louie was among a number of community members recognized at the Chamber and The Record-Courier’s Annual Community Awards Gala. Bill Hart of Carson Valley Community Food Closet was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for his drive and ability to put food on the table for food-insecure families in Carson Valley. The Minden Rotary Club was recognized as the Service Club of the Year for its non-profit service to the community. Carson Valley Medical Center was named the Business of the Year and R-C Publisher Pat Bridges said the center has become “one of the cornerstones of the community.”

Kim Smallwood of the Carson Valley Visitors Authority was named Employee of the Year for her willingness to work weekends, odd hours and for the numerous responsibilities she has taken on.

Silence fell among the crowd when Bridges read a nomination letter from a resident asking for the Chamber and Record-Courier to name the Suicide Prevention Network the Nonprofit Organization of the Year. The letter was from a resident who had battled depression shortly after moving to Douglas County. In the letter, the resident said she called Debbie Posnien, Executive Director of Suicide Prevention Network, and spoke to her for twenty minutes. The resident said she could tell Posnien would not judge her, that phone called changed the resident’s life, she said.

As she accepted the award, Posnien said the recognition would be huge for the network that started from almost nothing 9 years ago.

“Us talking about suicide has made a huge difference in this Valley,” Posnien said. “We appreciate you saying the word out loud tonight and that is ‘suicide.’”

Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Bill Chernock said the importance of the event was to recognize “the people and organizations who, in the past decade, past year or past century have gone above and beyond in creating the community that we are lucky enough to live in.”

Chernock reminded those in attendance that behind every person recognized on stage, there are at least 50 others behind that person helping them do what they do.