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Topaz Sertoma calls it quits

by Fritz Rubins

The Topaz Sertoma (SERvice TO MAnkind) Club will turn in its charter effective Aug. 31. The club decided in early July there were not enough remaining members to conduct any more meaningful fund-raising activities.

The club was chartered in May 1982 as a result of the efforts of the Carson Valley Sertoma Club and then-President Doug Struthers. The Topaz Sertoma Club consisted of as many as 65 members. The Topaz Lodge and Casino generously donated facilities for the club’s regular meetings and many special events.

One of its primary fund-raising efforts was participation in the food and beverage concessions at the Reno Air Races. When the decision was made by the Air Race Association to go commercial with those concessions, Topaz Sertoma was among many other charitable organizations in Northern Nevada that lost a combined total of about $300,000 each year, all of which was given back to the community.

Other significant club fund-raisers were the annual Topaz Chili Cookoff and Craft Fair and the annual golf tournament, as well as the familiar blue and gold food service trailer.

The popular Topaz Chili Cookoff and Craft Fair will be sponsored by the Carson Valley Sertoma Club next year on April 21 at the Topaz Lodge and Casino. Plans to continue the golf tournament have not been determined.

Other community activities included visits by Santa Claus, Christmas baskets, Mother’s Day brunch, highway clean-up and delivery of Meals on Wheels.

During its 18-year existence, the club donated back close to $250,000. Some of those funds went to the UNR Speech and Hearing Department and the National Sertoma Foundation, but more was given back to the local community. This year’s list of recipients is typical, Northern Nevada Hearing Aid Bank, two vocational scholarship to Douglas High School graduates, Hawthorne Kids at Risk, Sundowner Camp for the Deaf, Douglas County Explorer Scouts, the food closet, Douglas County Search and Rescue, RSVP, Douglas High School girls’ golf team, Boy Scout Troop 495 and Shrine Circus tickets.

On many occasions, contingency funds were given to local people in financial need due to fire, accident or other hardships.

Those who served in this club over the years can be proud of their achievements and know they were of benefit to many others through their service to mankind.