Community Achievement Awards honor service at gala
LAUGHLIN — And the winner of the Citizen of the Year is Tyler Carlson, chief executive officer of Mohave Electric Cooperative.
“I feel wholly inadequate when I look at the folks who were also nominated with me,” said Carlson as he accepted the award.
He was grateful to those with whom he works, and to his family.
“I do appreciate the fact my family puts up with early mornings, late nights and sometimes gone on the weekends. I’m grateful for that,” he said. “I also work with an incredible group of folks and that group of folks are presently customer, member and community focused and I basically get the energy from them. They are all involved in the community.”
Carlson was one of 17 winners at this year’s Laughlin Chamber of Commerce’s Community Achievement Awards. The evening is about honoring individuals, groups, organizations and businesses for their various contributions to the community.
Flowers brought in from the Netherlands adorned the tables along with candles, wine, and gold colored table cloths. Appetizers and hors d’oeuvres helped get the evening started.
Many a winner was surprised and grateful not only to be acknowledged as a finalist but then to be the winner in groups that included several quality nominees. There were tears of joy and a bit of surprise.
For the second year in a row, there was a tie for the Youth Citizen of the Year Award. Both Jason Zenefski, of Laughlin Junior Senior High School, and Abigail Brown, of Mohave High School, took the top youth award.
Both students earned $1,000 scholarships. The extra money was put together by this year’s CAA judges.
The other nominees for Youth Citizen of the year, Amy Cervantes and Stormy Venes, each earned $500 scholarships.
Brown was ecstatic to earn the award. She spoke of her experience with the Civil Air Patrol and how being in the Mohave Valley Daily News inspired a younger student.
“That moment right there where I could help someone and help lead them to succeed in life is one of the most amazing moments I could ever experience in my entire life and I hope everyone gets to experience that,” said Brown.
Zenefski couldn’t quite find the words but was sure to take the moment to thank his parents, John and Heidi Zenefski, for all their support and encouraging him to want to succeed.
The entire evening was filled with awe inspiring moments and a sense of how much is done in the community. A significant highlight came with the announcement of the Spirit of the Colorado River award winner.
The Bullhead City Firefighters Holiday Toy Drive earned the special award. Capt. Jeff Jackson accepted the award as the organizer of the event.
Jackson said the program has raised about $2.5 million in 35 years and served more than 25,000 children in the Tri-state area, including Searchlight, Nevada.
Chaz Martinez earned the Spirit of Arizona award.
“I have a purpose in life,” said Martinez. “That purpose is to help other people.”
He was sitting at table full of people who helped influence him to do what he does, Martinez said.
Even the judges for this year’s CAA’s were acknowledged. Mike Conner, last year’s Citizen of the Year, was head judge, accompanied by Kim Miles, Jack Hakim, Karole Finkelstein, Nancy Novak, Whitney Crow, Rocky Vecera and LuzMa Ramirez.