Search & Rescue leader named citizen of the year |

Search & Rescue leader named citizen of the year

Douglas County Search & Rescue Operations Leader Shaun Thomas has been named citizen of the year by The Record-Courier and the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The Foothills resident, who owns Kingsbury Automotive, has served county residents for 30 years, according to nominator John Soderman.

“Dozens of people literally owe their lives to Shaun Thomas,” Soderman wrote. “He has been instrumental in searching for lost parties, rescuing the injured, recovering the deceased, flood rescue, swift water rescue, avalanche rescue, fire evacuations and other high-stakes, critical need support to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.”

Thomas is one of six people who will be honored by the newspaper and the chamber at an annual gala at the Carson Valley Inn on Saturday night.

Gardnerville resident Susan Sanford was named volunteer of the year for her work with the Carson Valley Medical Center Breast Cancer Resource Center.

Sanford received multiple nominations for the hours she spends helping women cope with breast cancer.

“What is so inspiring about Susan is her commitment that shines through health fairs, fundraisers, monthly support, one-on-one time with patients, Look Good, Feel Better, and the list goes on and on,” wrote Jill Mustacchio. “To carry a torch of hope and inspiration for over 13 years with such strength, honesty and professionalism is a true testimony to her dedication.”

Cindy Silva of Pamper U was named business of the year. Silva who owns and operates the nail salon and massage business is a longtime Valley businesswoman.

“Every customer who walks through her doors is made to feel special, whether or not she is with a client,” wrote Chris Myers. “She greets each guest with a warm sincere smile, and makes you feel special just by stopping in.”

Two women share the honors of employees of the year.

Leslie Benson and Barbara McCue handle dispatching duties for the Douglas County School District’s transportation department.

The two women manage the bus drivers’ schedules on 41 routes, and make sure each bus has met all of its safety schedule, according to a letter signed by nearly two dozen bus drivers.

“On any afternoon of a given school day, a frantic parent will call looking for their child, who has not arrived home on time,” the letter said. “Both Leslie and Barbara will jump into action and start contacting the bus drivers, the schools, the child’s friends and in some cases the sheriff’s office. They will not stop looking until the child is located.”

The Friends of the Douglas County Library were named service club of the year.

Nominated by Library Director Linda Deacy, the organization supports the library by providing funds and volunteers to help.

“The library would be unable to provide as many of its programs and services without the ongoing support of Friends of the Library,” Deacy said. “Their volunteer hours and donations allow us to offer programs such as Summer Reading 2009, which reached 1,180 Douglas County youth in 2009.”