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Valley women honored by attorney general

by Merrie Leininger

After all they have done, they still feel underqualified to be named Nevada Women Role Models.

Ronna Hubbard of Topaz Ranch Estates and Suzy Stockdale of Minden were honored by Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa for their efforts to improve life in Nevada and for their mentoring skills. The Douglas County honorees were among six Northern Nevada women honored at the Girl Scouts Headquarters in Reno Thursday.

Hubbard, a volunteer firefighter with Topaz Ranch Volunteer Fire Department, was nominated by East Fork Fire Deputy Chief Terry Taylor.

Taylor was not able to attend the awards ceremony, but in his nomination letter wrote, “As a direct result of her skills, the residents and visitors to the Topaz Lake area receive a higher level of emergency medical care. There are people alive today because of her extra effort.”

Hubbard is the coordinator of the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators in Carson City. She was the first woman elected president of the board of directors of the Nevada State Firefighters Association in 1996 and is still a member of the board. She joined the TRE department as a firefighter in 1978 and became an EMT 1979. She was one of the first women EMT and firefighters in Douglas County.

“She pretty much led the way,” said East Fork Fire Chief Deputy Dave Drew. “I think she was the first woman EMT in Topaz Ranch Estates. She’s a pioneer. She was one of an early group of women who were firefighters in the district. People like that, pretty much everyone there to receive their award, remarked how they didn’t feel they deserved it. They were all kind of humbled. It’s remarkable that these people – who have done the things they have done – they don’t feel they deserve it.”

Hubbard was, indeed, humbled by the award.

“I thought it was an honor. I was just flabbergasted. Especially looking at the other people who got the award, I was utterly amazed. I don’t consider my life to be anything special. To me, it was a fabulous honor,” she said.

After making firefighting her life, and after having her daughter follow in her footsteps, Hubbard’s advice to women who want to be firefighters is, “You just do it.”

“It is knowing you might be able to do something. When I joined, TRE had no ambulance service and the fire department was more of a social organization,” she said, remembering some of the bias she faced as a woman just starting out. “You run into it, but you just have to work through it and go into it with the right attitude. A lot of it was proving to myself that I can do something that a lot of people think I shouldn’t be able to do”

n Role model. Suzy Stockdale is the owner of Stockdale Creative Marketing and Advertising in Minden and has been bringing grant money to Douglas County as chairman of the Frances C. and William P. Smallwood Foundation. She is also the chairperson of the East Fork Swimming Pool District board, a member of the board of the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Authority and was appointed by the governor to the standing committee on Judicial Ethics and Election Practices for the state of Nevada.

She was nominated by WIlliam Hamilton and Planning Commission Ame Hellman.

Hellman said Stockdale is truly a role model in the community.

“She always supports important efforts which improve our quality of life. She is a visionary person who is energetic and positive about the possibilities that exist in Douglas County. Most importantly, it is important to me that my own daughters and other young women in Nevada have strong and successful women with a high level of commitment to improving our world to look to as role models. Suzy embodies those qualities in my mind,” Hellman said.

Stockdale said she was surprised to find out she was named a role model.

“I didn’t know I was nominated. When I was told about it, I was delighted, but when you find out it was for being a role model, you know how many people have played a part. It’s something you really don’t do by yourself,” she said.

Stockdale said she only supports the many people who make the Carson Valley a “special place.”

“It’s the people in my community that are inspirational to me. Of course through the Smallwood Foundation, we are active with the school district, but it’s the people in the school district that are role models.”

n Also receiving an award Thursday was Lourinda Wines, who was born in Gardnerville in 1901 and moved to Ruby Valley in 1922 to teach in a one-room schoolhouse. She married a rancher, James Wines and was a charter member of the American National CowBelle Association and founded the Elko County and Nevada chapters.