Kingman Chamber ready to hand out Andy Awards

Kingman Chamber uses awards to honor those making the city a better place

Erin Cochran

Erin Cochran

KINGMAN - The Kingman Chamber of Commerce will honor local residents, organizations and businesses at the 35th Annual Andy Devine Awards from 5:30 to 10 p.m. Saturday at the Powerhouse Visitors Center, 120 W. Andy Devine Ave.

The chamber has used the awards to draw attention to individuals, businesses and organizations that have made Kingman a better place to live since 1978.

Citizen of the Year is awarded to the person who has made a significant contribution to the community.

This year's finalists are:

• Dora Manley, who is always there to lend a hand, whether it's a fundraiser at her restaurant or volunteering her time and skills.

• Lorraine Leeming, an active chamber member despite the fact she retired from the board a few years ago. She is active with Camp Girl Power, which helps girls in third through eight grades develop confidence in themselves. She is also the president of the regional board of the United Way.

• Erin Cochran is a City Council member who has donated her time to a number of projects, such as the Kingman Boomers and the city youth council, while taking care of three children and working full-time.

• Ed Pope is a Court Appointed Special Advocate for children. He strives to find a safe home for his charges.

Other nominees: Abe Martinez III, Bill Ekstrom, Robin Gordon, Jamie Taylor and Ralph Mckie.

Student of the Year is given to a student who has made a significant difference in the community and has shined as a role model for others.

This year's nominees are:

• Chad Burge has shown a high level of responsibility for himself, respect for others, and always has something to brighten someone's day.

• Dyllan Forney was born nearly deaf. He has held fundraisers, participated in sports and clubs and even learned other languages. He has been a role model for other children with disabilities.

• Dakota Snider excels both in and out of school. He has been a member of Future Business Leaders of America, SALT and student council, while taking honors and AP classes. He has also volunteered as part of the state Adopt-A-Highway program and at the Kingman Street Drags. He is also a lifeguard.

Lifetime Achiever is awarded to the person who has dedicated their life to making the community better.

This year's nominees are:

• Mohave County Attorney Bill Ekstrom for his work on the Arizona Victim's Bill of Rights and his service to the community in a number of social organizations including the Elks, as chairman of Westcare Arizona, as president of St. Mary's Parish Council and as the director of the Mohave Museum of History and Arts. He also helped in the founding of Sarah's House and has served on its board of directors.

• Sandy Rusinko is well known for her murals around town including the ones painted on the water tower and the Mohave Museum of History and Arts.

Public Service Award: This award is given to local government employees, members of the military, first responders and medical personnel who have served the city or the community beyond the call of duty.

This year's nominees are:

• Ekstrom.

• Sgt. Mike Friend is a Mohave County Sheriff's Deputy who has served for 38 years, mostly in the search and rescue division. He was part of the team that pulled Casie Hicks from an abandoned mineshaft in 2007.

• Dr. Jakaulla Khan is an infectious disease specialist at Kingman Regional Medical Center who has helped improve care for Mohave County patients.

Educator of the Year is given to a teacher, counselor, administrator or a member of the clergy who is a roll model to students and others.

This year's finalists are:

• Jim Nelson is an educator who has worked with Kingman students for the last 30 years. He never gives up on a student and has become a mentor to many.

• Roger Jacks helped to bring the Cambridge Academy to Kingman Unified School District. He was recently selected to represent the area on the Arizona Board of Education.

• Laura Neilon steps beyond her role as an educator and volunteers to help out at nearly every student event or program. She has used her own money to replace playground balls, paint on walls and more.

• Susie Simmons has served as a teacher and administrator in Kingman for many years. Her kind-heartedness and dedication is an example to all.

Other nominees for Educator of the Year were Kevin Curran, Erin Reiman and Dawn McGill.

Chamber Member of the Year Award goes to the member who supports the chamber above and beyond the call of duty.

This year's nominees are:

• Krystal Burge, a chamber board member. She employees a number of Kingman residents and has given a number of them the opportunity to reach for the stars. She has matched funds raised at car washes outside of her Taco Bells, fed hungry firefighters and is always willing to help the community.

• Jamie Taylor is always there to volunteer time or funds for a chamber event. She also participates in nearly every event and has served on the chamber board of directors.

• David Bekaert attends nearly every chamber event. He has held a number of chamber mixers at his office and has always prepared the food himself. He always has a connection for someone to try.

• Mike Sparrow is a newer member of the chamber but that hasn't stopped him from being an active one despite the fact that he lives in Lake Havasu City. His company Serv-Pro donates water for chamber events and sponsored a shred event this year. The proceeds were given to the Boys and Girls Club.

The Business of the Year Award always goes to the business that has attempted to improve Kingman through a specific project or through their day-to-day work.

This year's nominees are:

• McDonald's

• Mountain Shadow Family Medicine focuses on the whole person including their body, mind and spirit and how they interact with their environment. It uses both western medication as well as alternative medicine to treat its patients.

• John and Shari Morotti made Mother Road Harley-Davidson and Kingman a destination on the annual Laughlin River Run. They sponsor a number of local events, sports teams and are active chamber members.

• All Starz is a junior Olympic training center that has touched the lives of many children in Kingman.

Organization of the Year is given to a non-profit group that has improved the community through a specific project or their regular work.

This year's finalists are:

• Kingman Area Food Bank, which has served the community for many years without respect and dignity for all of its clients.

• Grandma's Treasures, which assists the Kingman Meals on Wheels program to make sure Kingman's seniors don't go hungry.

• Venture Club of Kingman, which has helped fundraise and donated time and money toward Angel Manor, KHS Families in Transition, the Boys and Girls Club and many other Kingman organizations.

• Healing Hooves a therapeutic riding center for children.

Other nominees for the award were: Vietnam Veterans of America, Kingman Boomers and Kingman Masonic Lodge No. 22.

Most Improved Commercial Property goes to the business that has upgraded an existing commercial building and improved the neighborhood.

This year's nominees are:

• The Downing Appraisals building was constructed in 1976. Nate Downing used local contractors to a new coat of paint, pave the parking lot, add new windows, enclose a pump house, add a handicap entrance and update furniture, flooring and cabinets.

• The Office of Donald Lynch

• Plaza Bonita replaced a closed fast food shop on Beverly Avenue and offered a change from the regular fast food joints in town.

• The McDonald's on Andy Devine Avenue was remodeled by Abe Martinez III in 2011. It sports a new interior, Wi-Fi and bus parking. Martinez also built the new McDonald's on Stockton Hill Road, which features a children's play area.

Last year's winners were: Citizen of the Year Joan Cates-Jacks, Lifetime Achiever Donna Kowalske, Educator of the Year Gretchen Dorner, Public Service Kingman Mohave County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Jeep Posse, Student of the Year Haydon Ekstrom, Organization of the Year Soroptimist International of Kingman, Business of the Year Nucor Steel Kingman, LLC., Most Improved Commercial Property Dora's Beale Street Deli and Honorary Chamber Member of the Year the Kingman Daily Miner.