LAUGHLIN — The Community Achievement Awards ostensibly are about honoring people for what they’ve done for the Tri-state area.
But Saturday night, several of the award recipients turned the tables, speaking about what the community has done for them.
Citizen of the Year Matt Hanrahan recalled returning to Bullhead City after “failing out of college,” not knowing where he would go.
He said a two-minute conversation with Denise Swartzman, then executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of The Colorado River, “built confidence in me that I still have to this day.”
Hanrahan, co-owner of Baron Services, is Boys & Girls Clubs treasurer. He also is involved in the Sunrise Rotary Club of Fort Mohave, Los Matadores, the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Mohave Valley-Fort Mohave Community Park board.
“People in those groups push me to do more and more,” he said.
Educator of the Year Kathleen Watson said she draws inspiration from her Fox Creek Junior High students, who “make me want to be better every day.”
Silly Cactus Inc. was named Small Business of the Year. Owner Candy Stroh bought the business in 1990 and said its growth is because of support from the community.
Mohave County Supervisor Hildy Angius, who received the Public Service Award, said the community has been there for her through several phases, from when she arrived in 2005, “broken and lost with no purpose or plans in life,” to the loss last year of her husband Sam, and especially since she ran for office in 2012.
“This wonderful crazy, beautiful community has embraced every issue I’ve tried to tackle,” Angius said. “Serving here has been the single greatest honor of my life.”
Citizen of the Year, sponsored by Dot Foods, Inc.: Matt Hanrahan.
Hanrahan has worked for Baron Services since 1999 and in 2015 purchased the business as co-owner under the Baron umbrella. He is now the financial officer and president of four companies as well as the community liaison. Hanrahan said he is most proud of his support of this community and the family of employees that he has created.
“I want to make sure that I stay active in the community and leave behind something my family would be proud of,” he said.
Spirit of the Colorado River Award, sponsored by Harrah’s Laughlin: Bruce and Lin Clark, tv2KLBC.
Bruce and Lin Clark started television station tv2KLBC in Laughlin in 1989. More than 30 years later, it not only is a stitch in the fabric of the Tri-State, but has developed a global following as well. While all media outlets in the area have played important roles in keeping viewers informed, tv2 has the unique ability to reach visitors in their hometowns. When Bruce and Lin initiated the company’s website in 2000, the intent was to reach those who did not have cable. What they did not expect and were pleasantly surprised to have were the huge number of viewers who took tv2KLBC home with them after their vacation was over. Viewers watching in North Dakota, Washington, Minnesota, Iowa, Florida, California, England, Cyprus, Canada and even the Netherlands have come back to Laughlin thanks to tv2KLBC.
Bruce died earlier this year.
“Having visitors stop by the tv2 studios while they are in town is special because they truly feel like part of the family,” someone wrote in support of the nomination. “Bruce and Lin would have it no other way.”
Spirit of Arizona Award, sponsored by the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce: Deacon John Delquadro.
As a member and co-founder of the St. Margaret Mary’s Church Coalition, Delquadro’s responsibilities are endless, from recruiting volunteers and job referrals to providing food, water, and clothing and providing support for the homeless in the community. Delquadro provides free music lessons, specializing in classical guitar, to children from low-income families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. Having had some casino background, Delquadro went out of his way to teach two homeless men how to deal blackjack, which led to their employment at a local establishment. Delquadro is coordinating and training four teams that he has recruited to serve dinner four days a week, feeding 30 to 40 people at a time, at Community Park in Bullhead City.
“He is a true humanitarian. No task is too big for Deacon John to assist,” said a nomination endorsement.
Spirit of Nevada Award, sponsored by the Laughlin Tourism Commission: Richard Springston American Legion Post 60 of Laughlin.
American Legion Post 60 is a nonprofit that caters to veterans, youth programs and the promotion of patriotism and the local community. The post assists more than 3,000 veterans a year with various needs such as VA resources, food and finances. The post works with local Scouts and supports the local schools’ functions along with providing scholarships and supports Girls State and Boys State programs. American Legion Post 60 also provides flag etiquette in the classrooms as well as hosting the youth essay contest each year. Post 60 was the sole supporter of the American Legion youth baseball playoff held in Henderson, Nevada, and raised over $2,100 at the event to donate to the American Legion baseball program. With their members and volunteers, the post maintains the ability to support functions by cooking and serving dinners, selling candy and other fundraisers. The post assisted Coast Guard members and their families during the government shutdown and assisted others in Houston during the major flood catastrophe in 2018. In the last year, Post 60 has donated more than $21,000 to the local community.
“The American Legion Post 60 takes great pride in helping and assisting their Veterans and their families in the Tr-State community,” according to a nomination endorsement.
Connie Davis Youth Citizen of the Year, sponsored by the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce: Alexis Swain McKay.
Swain McKay is a senior at Laughlin Junior/Senior High School, where she has been a top academic student throughout her years. She also is Senior Class president, an Interact member and dedicates time volunteering at many school-related events. She also volunteers at Western Arizona Regional Medical Center, the Laughlin Food Bank, the Salvation Army and at annual events such as the Laughlin Marathon, Connie Davis 5K Walk & Roll for Cancer and Relay For Life. She said her mother taught her the value of compassion and unselfishness and later on, as a Girl Scout, she learned the importance of volunteering. Swain McKay also studies politics in her government class and was a delegate at Nevada Girls State.
“I am proud of my involvement and my exemplary work ethic to help our community grow,” she said.
The Connie Davis Youth Citizen of the Year winner is entitled to a $1,000 scholarship to be used at the school of their choosing for the 2020/2021 school year. The other nominees will receive a $500 scholarship.
Young Wonder of the Year, sponsored by Baron Services: Destiny Beardsley.
Beardsley is a junior at Mohave Accelerated Learning Center. She is the past assistant governor of the Interact Club and is president of the Key Club, where she donates much of her time for school and community events. She participates in Student Council, is in honors classes and is a student at Mohave Community College. She also has been involved in cheer, soccer and the Bullhead City Barracudas swim team, was a volunteer junior lifeguard and volunteer AYSO soccer referee. Beardsley currently works as a lifeguard for the City of Bullhead City, teaches swim lessons and is an intern at the Tri-State Youth Internship & Leadership Program.
“I am most proud of my service hours spent serving children who don’t have as much as I did growing up,” she said.
Entrepreneur Award, sponsored by the Tropicana Laughlin: Jessica Tary, J&J Mystery Events.
Tary owns and operates J&J Mystery Events, which puts on special events in the community such as murder mysteries and trivia night. Her goal with the company not only is to build up her own business but to build up the local business community and economic development. With every event she hosts, she donates money to a local cause, organization or people in need. Over the past couple of years, Tary’s events have brought more than $200,000 in revenue to local businesses just by holding her events in their venues. Tary also is a business development manager at Mission Bank. She is on the board of directors for the Colorado River Women’s Council and is on many committees within the CRWC as well as the chairperson for the Spring Event which she hopes to grow into a large fundraising event. She is on the Leadership Committee, a Bullhead City Area Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and a member of the Kiwanis of the Colorado River.
“We must work hard to make this the best community it can be for our children and future generations,” she said.
Humanitarian Award, sponsored by the Laughlin River Lodge: Kathleen Hoss.
Hoss is a member of Laughlin Elks 2872, Women of the Moose and American Legion Auxiliary, participates in the National Public Lands Day and Wings & Wildlife annual events and is a past member of the Laughlin Town Advisory Board. She also works closely with the VA clinic and local schools. All of her efforts are as a volunteer. Through these different organizations, Hoss organizes events to help the youth, vets, seniors and families in need. She organizes dinners, activities and events for the community. She started the Read to Succeed Program and has seen results not only with the students, but with their families as well. She delivers and makes sure that the VA has cases of water each month. She also helps grant Christmas wishes for the youth at the Family & Child Resource Center and for the seniors of Sunridge Village.
“I try to make a difference in the lives of those I am fortunate enough to come in contact with,” she said. “Sometimes it is just a meal or a drink and sometimes it is as simple as a conversation or a ride to a doctor’s appointment.”
Community Social Service Organization Award, sponsored by Valley View Medical Center: Colorado River Women’s Council.
Colorado River Women’s Council is one of the oldest community service organizations in the area, started in 1965 as an arm of the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce, known then as The Chamber Maids. The council continues to be a part of the chamber, promoting businesses and organizations that the area has to offer, and particularly likes to help local youth. The council offers different programs that benefit people in the area including Protect Our Kids Environment, a program that supplies emergency backpacks to classrooms in the local elementary schools to be used in case of a lockdown; and Grant Aid to Teachers and Educators, awarding classroom grants to educators for projects not otherwise covered in school budgets. The council has provided scholarships totaling $10,000 a year. The Leadership Program is offered to residents in the area, educating participants about the history of the community and how it has progressed over the years. The Boom Box Parade kicks off the Christmas season with community participation increasing annually. Donations of more than $15,000 have been provided to other nonprofit organizations in the area, especially ones that help the youth of the community.
“The Women’s Council will continue to help as many people and groups that we can,” said a statement from the organization. “Our main purpose is to continue to promote businesses and the great opportunities that our community offers.”
Lloyd Shires Tourism Award, sponsored by Don Laughlin’s Riverside Resort Hotel & Casino: Ed Catalfamo, Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse.
Catalfamo is general manager of Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse, a 176,000-square-foot indoor sports complex in Bullhead City. It opened in early May of this year and since has been host to college and high school graduations; junior high promotions; wresting, soccer, cheer, dance and football camps; private business meetings; awards, parties, birthdays, corporate events and community events and festivals. It also serves a a home facility for athletics teams from Mohave and River Valley high schools and a classroom facility for the Colorado River Union High School District. The fieldhouse is the ultimate indoor, climate-controlled atmosphere, hosting visitors from all over the country and will draw thousands more through the recent booking of a large wresting tournament sponsored by Marvel, collegiate and NFL preparation camps and will host high school volleyball and basketball tournaments this fall as well as attracting adult visitors in the spring with expos, home and garden, car, UTV and RV shows.
The Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse is the ultimate area draw for youth and adult “tournacations.”
Public Service Award, sponsored by the Golden Nugget Laughlin: Hildy Angius.
Angius first was elected to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors in 2012 and has represented Bullhead City at the county level for the last seven years, working with city, state and federal governments. In 2014 and again in 2019, she was voted chairman of the board of the Western Arizona Council of Governments and chairman of the Mohave County Self-Insurance and Employee Benefit Trusts. From 2013-2018, she served on the board of directors of Bridges to Recovery, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the Mohave County substance abuse recovery committee. She is a member of Community Action Council for Westcare, Arizona. This year a 16-bed, all women’s recovery home will open in Bullhead City and will be called “Hildy’s House.” She was asked to be the community liaison for the Arizona Healthcare Accountability Committee, a group formed to advocate for rural healthcare providers. Angius also has a call-in radio show on Cameron Broadcasting, covering county and city issues as well as local events. Angius is a member of the Bullhead Area Rotary Club and won the “Service above Self” award in 2013. In 2001 and in 2019, She was elected first vice chair of Mohave County Republican Party Women. She currently serves on the Bullhead City Complete Count Committee to promote the 2020 Census.
“Hildy always does her best to be helpful, provide information to citizens, reach out to the community, and care about everyone,” accoring to her nominating endorsement.
Communications Award, sponsored by Our Town Magazine: Lance Ross, Colorado River Schools.
Ross oversees media, community and social media outreach for the Colorado River Schools. He prides himself on being responsive with an open-door policy, even among school critics. Ross has worked to promote students’ activities while aggressively pushing pro-activity. Ross also organizes crisis communications professional development and training with colleagues and peers as chair of the Tri-State Public Information Officers working group. He has given his time and energy to many organizations including Multiple Avenues of Successful Healthcare, Mohave County Airport Authority and the Laughlin Town Advisory Board. He serves as a board member of the River Fund, Inc., Colorado River Food Bank and the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce.
“Lance has spent countless hours helping people on both sides of the river on top of his regular jobs, from students to seniors,” according to his nominating endorsement.
Educator of the Year, sponsored by the Colorado Belle Hotel Casino Resort: Kathleen Watson.
Watson is an educator at Fox Creek Junior High School in Bullhead City, where she teaches mathematics. She is head volleyball coach. She teaches students the meaning of being a student-athlete, believing you are first a student and then an athlete. She also is head softball coach at River Valley High School. She was named region Coach of the Year in her first year as head coach and her players took home many region awards. She said she feels her proudest accomplishment is being able to build positive relationships with her students.
“I feel that along with teaching the state standards, it is important to help teach my students to become good people, and to do that I model positive behaviors for them,” Watson said.
Green Business of the Year, sponsored by Nevada Made Marijuana: Culver’s of Bullhead City.
Culver’s packaging is vibrant, distinctive and getting “greener” all the time. Bags, napkins, spoons, wrappers, cups, you name it – they’re getting committed to lessening their packaging effects on the environment. Culver’s gives careful consideration to the materials that make up its packaging, from sourcing paper that’s either postconsumer recycled or Forest Stewardship Council-certified ensuring the plastics are recyclable, and it also uses water and corn starch-based ink whenever possible. Working closely with the US Green Building Council, Culver’s set out to evaluate operational efficiencies alongside sustainable strategies, such as supplementing electrical supply with solar panels that double patio awnings and recycling fryer oil as fuel for a hot water heater. The restaurant uses high-efficiency mechanical systems and conserves more than 123,000 gallons of water per year through low-flow plumbing fixtures.
Small Business of the Year, sponsored by The New Pioneer: Silly Cactus, Inc., Bullhead City.
When the current owner purchased Silly Cactus back in 1990, it already was 10 years old and located in a 900 square-foot building in Monarch Mission Square. Over the past 30 years, the business has moved seven times, each time to a larger location. The business has grown from primarily a tourist stop T-shirt shop to a full-service print shop, producing or providing screen printing, heat transfer printing, embroidery, engraving, custom banners, promotional products, business cards/paper printing, stickers, sublimation full-color coffee mugs and many more items. Six years ago, the business purchased a 6,500-square foot building which houses the equipment to produce a majority of its products in-house. Silly Cactus has helped sponsor numerous events in the Tri-state including offering school uniforms to the Legacy Foundation’s Backpack Buddies Program at a reduced rate and providing vouchers for reduced-rate uniforms to St. Vincent dePaul. Silly Cactus has donated both graphic services and garments to organizations like the Mohave County Sheriff K9 Supporters and the Lions Club, and also works closely with the Guardian Foundation and Tri-State Military Moms.
Large Business of the Year, sponsored by Edgewater Hotel Casino Resort: Anderson Ford of Bullhead City.
As part of the Anderson Auto Group, Anderson Ford of Bullhead City is a dealership whose product specialists are non-commissioned. Anderson Ford services about 6,000 vehicles per year including DES, BHCPD and local fire departments. The company sells about 1,200 new and pre-owned vehicles annually and specializes in new Ford products, pre-owned vehicles of all makes, a full-service repair, parts and detail department, all with Ford-certified employees. Anderson Ford employs 59 local residents and employs part- time personnel from Mile Markers Therapy. Anderson Ford strives to make the dealership experience one that is unsurpassed. Anderson’s largest contribution to the community thus far has been the sponsorship of the Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse. The company has sponsored many other community events and organizations such as the Family Fun Festival, Mohave Valley Little League, Boom Softball, Barracudas Swim Team, Colorado River Union student councils and booster clubs, Chef’s Food Fest, OctoberFest and CornFest. Anderson Ford is a member of the Laughlin and Bullhead Area chambers of commerce.