Laughlin Buzz

Oct 10, 2013

Community Achievement Award Winners 2013

Lorrie Duggins was named the Citizen of the Year at the 2013 Community Achievement Awards held on October 5th at the Aquarius Resort Casino in Laughlin.   

Lorrie began her career with the Bullhead City Police Department in 1993 as an emergency services dispatcher. During her service at 911, it was her goal to be a voice of help and comfort. She enjoyed sharing her skills to train newly hired 911 personnel, and still assists with the Dispatch Academy. In 2007 she accepted the position of Community Services Officer, and is actively involved with a multitude of Police Department and community events and organizations. She is extremely proud of her email network that keeps citizens informed of significant arrests and information the department is seeking. Many community partners, including other agencies and service organizations, send her information that she forwards out on their behalf. In addition to her regular duties, Lorrie has been a hostage negotiator for the Departments Tactical Response Unit for nine years, and a volunteer for the Departments non-profit organization, Shop with a Cop.

Other CAA winners for 2013 included:

Youth Citizen of the Year  
JD Gish, Mohave High School

“Investing my time and energy has made my own life richer, more meaningful and more satisfying. I believe ‘it takes a village’ to foster a strong community and one must be committed to realize the benefits.” JD says he has never thought of volunteering as something he does for the less fortunate. Instead, he sees it as a mutually beneficial exchange because he always receives at least as much from the experience as he gives. JD is a founding member and vice president of Students Against Destructive Decisions, focused on reducing drug use. He is president of the Interact Club, a group that promotes community needs such as food drives, trash collection, and assisting with community events, as well as international needs such as Polio awareness and fundraising, and assembling/shipping water filters to 3rd world countries. JD is also a member of Climbing the Mountain, a quartet formed to provide emotional and financial support for a fellow student fighting cancer.

Public Service
Rodney Head

Rodney has been with the Bullhead City Police Department since 1985, with the last 12 years as Chief of Police. He graduated from the Law Enforcement Training Academy Class 53 in 1977 before going on to get an Associate’s Degree in Administration of Justice from Mohave Community College, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from University of Phoenix. He’s a graduate of the United States Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation 189th National Academy and their Southwest Command College, as well as the University of Arkansas National Center for Rural Law Enforcement in their Rural Executive Management Institute. Rodney has also been part of the Western Arizona Law Enforcement Association, Rocky Mountain Information Network, Arizona Peace Officer’s Standards and Training Board, and has served our community with the Desert Sunrise Rotary Club and Los Matadores de Bullhead City.

Civic Service
James Vincent

James currently serves as Chairman for the Laughlin Town Advisory Board, which can take up to 20 hours per week of his time. His responsibilities include conducting meetings in compliance with the Nevada Open Meeting Law, ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard, and participating in healthy discussions on matters that concern our community. Positions on Town Advisory Boards are by appointment, not for pay, and require vast amounts of integrity. James experienced his proudest moments when he was able to help resurrect the Laughlin/BHC bridge project, and help 8,000 Nevada workers living in Arizona, with absolutely no representation, avoid having to pay additional fees due to AB166. James hopes we will always remember how leadership bodies on both sides of the river came together as if no border existed, and hopes they continue to do so for the betterment of all residing in this amazing children and our community.

Green Business
Desert River Kayak

Helen Howard, owner of Desert River Kayak, says that whatever your needs are, they can help customize a memorable paddling experience of the Colorado River year round. They work with individuals and private groups, schools, educational organizations, churches, scout groups and charitable organizations to plan and execute kayak, canoe, standup paddleboard and float tube trips on the Colorado River between Hoover Dam and Imperial Dam, a distance of some 300  miles of beautiful desert river. She is proud to support many local and southwestern charities with gift certificates for use as raffle and auction prizes, and works with other groups more directly to provide fundraising trips. Desert River Kayak is involved in two committees working for obtaining listing of sections of the Colorado River on the National Water Trail, sponsored by the Federal Government, and is a founding member of one of them.

Tony Inglese

As the owner of his own financial planning practice, Tony has the opportunity to meet people on a daily basis that can benefit from the products and services he provides, helping them achieve their financial dreams. Tony believes the reason he has been successful at serving his clients for over 21 years is that they know he cares about their financial success as much as they do, and that Tony takes his fiducial responsibility seriously. Because of the support of his clients, Tony has been blessed to be able to give back to our community in many ways. He’s been an active Rotarian since 1998, and currently serves as their president. He’s sponsored events for many local groups, and through professional organizations such as Million Dollar Round Table and National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, he gives to special needs programs throughout the world, and provides computers for the special needs children in the Southern Nevada area.

Kellie Boff

Kellie is probably most known for donating one of her kidneys to a perfect stranger. She says that while others saw this as an outrageously generous act, she saw it as helping a fellow in need. She was guided by something bigger than all of us – a favorite saying by the Dalai Lama, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them at least don’t hurt them.” This has directed many of the choices she has made, and the things she chooses to spend her time doing. Kellie is on the board of several non-profits including the Colorado River Women’s Council and S.A.I.N.T. (Saving Animals In Need Together). She helps when other organizations request her assistance, such as the Colorado River Boys & Girls Club and the Legacy Foundation.  All in all, Kellie tries to be of service to her family and friends as well as our community whenever possible.

Community Service Organization
Senior Circle

Senior Circle is a not-for-profit organization for those ages 50 and over that offers fellowship and activities, health education, seasonal parties, and travel along with local and national discounts. They are most proud of the happiness and relief they see every day on the faces of seniors who find new joy in friendship, and a sense of belonging with a simple gesture of welcome by another member. Some of the opportunities that Senior Circle provides are an organic community garden, book club, bunco group, coffee klatch, cooking clubs, crafts, breakfast club, Dinner Before Dark, Movie Mondays, Lunch N Learn, exercising, parties, and a variety of trips. As one member explained, “I would never go to the show by myself, but when I know that I’ll be meeting others there, I finally feel like getting out again.” This organization is truly the definition of “community” and “service” to our senior citizens.

Social Service Organization
Tri State Military Moms

Tri-State Military Moms was founded shortly after 9/11 by a group of moms in the area. Their primary purpose was to support each other during their sons’ deployments, and to provide care packages to our young men and women overseas. 12 years later and with many dedicated members, they continue the tradition of providing support for our young military service members and their families as well as veterans in our community. In addition to care packages, they organize and encourage our community to participate in welcome home and deployment events for our local service members, and promote involvement of our youth as a way to instill a sense of patriotic pride. They are drawn to their work out of pride for their sons and daughters who voluntarily stand to become part of that special 1 percent of our nation who protect and defend our freedom, and allow us to live very safe and comfortable lives compared to the rest of the world.

Tom Gallant

Tom is the founder of Around The River Publishing and Producing, Inc. For 24 years he has provided local realtors and businesses with advertising solutions by producing the first real estate guide for the community. In 2008, he expanded distribution of his real estate guide to southern California which resulted in increased interest, visitors and home buyers in the area. He and his crew donate their time promoting the tri-state areas annual River Regatta event, recording hours of the float by land, river and air, as well as interviewing volunteers and participants. The completed, polished videos have been viewed over 22,000 times on YouTube and are regularly shared on blogs, websites and Facebook. As a CNN iReporter, his work has been featured on Headline News and Weekend Express, bringing worldwide attention to Fort Mohave and highlighting Arizona as a wonderful community in which to work and raise his family.

Small Business of the Year
MattressLand & Furniture

In 2006, brothers Mike and Joey Merrigan opened MattressLand. By using proven business policies of honesty, excellent customer service, and providing the best products, they quickly outgrew their original 3,000 square foot space, and currently occupy a 25,000 square foot location. For two years running, they’ve won the coveted Mohave Daily News readers poll as the best place to buy furniture. The Merrigans and MattressLand & Furniture believe in giving back to the community. Over the years, many home fire victims have benefited in the form of donated goods. Joey also donated 21 brand new Sealy mattresses to the women and children of the Bullhead City Safehouse. They’ve also helped with Habitat for Humanity, the Boys & Girls Clubs, and always sponsor Bids for Kids and the Margaritafest which benefits that program.  Our brave police and fire personnel always enjoy a discounted price when shopping at MattressLand & Furniture.

Large Business of the Year
Tropicana Laughlin

Rick Yuhas, general manager, is proud of the fact that Tropicana Laughlin has been voted “Best Of” numerous times, and in many categories. In order to provide guests with the best customer service, team members receive “Thoughtful Service” training. They recently opened the Poolside CafĂ©, and the response has been fantastic! Visitors and locals enjoy a wide variety of fresh baked bagels, muffins, pastries, sandwiches and more. Tropicana Laughlin supports our community in many ways, some of which are fundraisers, employee donations, summer lunch programs, donating guest and banquet rooms as well as food to worthy organizations, bottled water, blood drives, food banks, and they are extremely proud to honor our Veterans by providing a free monthly buffet. Tropicana Laughlin has a long tradition of providing an overwhelming abundance of toys and Christmas cheer to hundreds of children in our community.

Cat Smith

Cat considers herself blessed to have had the good fortune to have been able to pursue her goal as a writer, and she is humbled and grateful to have been nominated for this award. She says that happenstance is perhaps a word that best describes her entry into the news world. It was due to her diagnosis with Lupus at the age of 16, and the commitment and devotion of her mother and a handful of others. She began her career as a reporter by writing for local newspapers while bedridden and home-schooled. This helped her get into community college, where she was able to earn a degree in Communications and launch her career. After college, she returned home to her roots along the Colorado River and is now employed with the Mohave Valley Daily News. What she likes most about her job is waking up each morning and not knowing what the day will bring, and that by the end of the day she will have accomplished something rewarding.

Spirit of Nevada
Aquarius Casino Resort

The Aquarius Casino Resort employs close to 900 people. Sean Hammond, General Manger, feels the key to their success is a combination of how they treat their employees along with the premium resort experience and service they provide to their guests – both visitors and locals. Aquarius is committed to the seniors, youth, food banks and multiple other charities in the Tri-state. Their Community Connections calendar outlines a charitable activity every week/month of the year. In November and December of last year guests donated their slot club points and Aquarius purchased holiday food boxes to feed a family of four – which helped feed over 900 families in the area! Whether picking up trash along the banks of the river, having a school supply drive, or playing cards with the senior residents at Sunridge Village, the Aquarius Casino Resort is always involved and helping wherever they can. The team has a “can-do” attitude!

Spirit of Arizona
William F. Knowles

William works for Harrah’s Laughlin, and truly enjoys giving back to our community. He’s on the Board of Directors for the Boys & Girls Club helping with charity functions and working with children on functions. He serves as Chairperson for the Elks Shopping Spree for Kids, doing different charity functions throughout the year, raising money to take children clothes shopping for Christmas, and putting together a party for the children at the Elks Lodge. As Chairperson for Harrah’s Hero, the biggest thing is giving back to employees. Three times a year they put together a farmers market and sell fruits, vegetables, and some bakery items. William also donates his time to the River Fund, helping to install window A/C units for people in need.

Spirit of the Colorado River
Sam Medrano

Sam’s responsibilities as a member of the Bullhead City Council are to work collaboratively with fellow council members and community members to set municipal policy for now and into the future. Those efforts are both to promote positive initiatives and discourage and fight negative impacts for our community. He often takes a lead role in activities that concern statewide impacts on Bullhead City or Laughlin, which requires him to keep in close contact with legislative leaders.
Photo from Mohave Daily News

 “With all due respect, Mr. Putin, Americans are exceptional. There are exceptional people in Bullhead City, and in Laughlin.”  - Sean Hammond, as he accepted the Spirit of Nevada Award on behalf of the Aquarius Casino Resort

Valley View Medical Center was the CAA event premier sponsor.

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