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Another year has come and gone and the Community Asset Awards are going strong.
The Juvenile Justice Advisory Board, through the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and Assets In Action, topped another year of good deeds with a variety of recognitions from the fourth annual ceremony.
The gala was at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, with the help of Los Alamos County Administrator Harry Burgess.
Burgess, along with Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Gene Schmidt, kicked off the evening with an acknowledgement from America's Promise Alliance and ING, for claiming the title of one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People.
State Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard attended the festivities and presented the trophy on behalf of Jordan LaPier, senior director for the 100 Best Communities program.
The America's Promise Alliance Representative, sent along these kind words, relayed by Garcia Richard to those in attendance.
“America’s Promise Alliance and the ING Foundation are thrilled to recognize Los Alamos County for the second time as one of the nation’s 100 Best Communities for Young People. Congratulations to everyone working hard to make youth the first priority in Los Alamos,” LaPier said in a written statement.
The big winner of the night was Bill Enloe of Los Alamos National Bank.
Enloe garnered the Spirit of the West Award, in honor and memoriam of former County Councilor Jim West.
West was instrumental in the vision that led to the first Community Asset Awards. The first year and each year since, one nominee is selected by committee, who believes can “cut the mustard,” according to West.
Enloe's nomination, which was submitted by Schmidt, read, in part, “How fortunate for our community that Bill Enloe presides over the operation of one of our community's favorite banks. Bill sets a business tone that community matters. But more importantly sets a tone of giving back to his community. Someone sets the tone and that person is Bill Enloe.”
The gathering had a variety of attendees, the youngest nominees being Phoebe Fu and Akash Dighe of Los Alamos Middle School.
Dighe was praised for being one of those students who make a difference in daily life at the school and was praised for lighting up a room when he walks into it.
Fu was also praised for being a remarkable young lady, dedicated, studious, motivated and a ferocious reader — reading up to 14 novels a week for pleasure.
The high school received praise for a variety of students recognized for good efforts to both school and community. The youth leaders of Key Club and the United Way were heralded for their work throughout the year benefiting their school, the community, the region — and in some cases — the world.
Many adults got a moment in the spotlight too, one of which was Mountain Elementary School PTA member Jane Lin.
Karen Doebling nominated Lin for her work to make those Mountain Lions roar with pride.
“Jane is an invaluable member of Mountain School's PTA. She volunteers for just about every program we have and some she organizes herself. “
Doebling said the best thing about Lin, is being around her. “The happy, generous attitude that she does everything with that makes her special,” Doebling said.
Doebling also nominated Vicki Erkkila for coaching a group of elementary school girls in First Lego League. This is the second year as coach and building the FLL program components: robotics, science project and professional core values.
“With Vicki's coaching, our rookie team won an award for team spirit and inspiration in the core values category,” Doebling said. “She is always positive and encouraging with the girls. It has been a pleasure to coach with her.”
Keith Stephens was selected for the Director's Award. The award is meant to cast a bit of extra light on the individual — or one that shines that light on so many others.
When told of the nomination, Stephens first thought of others and not about self-recognition.
RSVP Director Irene Powell nominated Stephens for volunteering to ring the bell for the Salvation Army during the holiday season. Money raised by the bell ringers helps benefit local programs.
Powell wasn't aware of Stephens’ generosity to give more, by enlisting others in the great number of causes in the community.
Stephens has many projects on the front burner, including Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and more, but his current passion is to assist with meals for high school students at the Trinity on the Hill Episcopal Church. While financial donations are appreciated, his wish is to find those with an hour or two to help cook, set up or clean up during a lunch hour.
The process starts over again next week, when the annual Community Asset Awards will seek new names for the 2013 roster.
For more information on Assets in Action, visit losalamosjjab.com.