Before we even start in on the list we've come up with, we want to say that by no means have we named everyone that makes a difference. We know that. We couldn't name them all even if we tried. So, if there's a certain person or organization that you really think belongs on this list, you're free to suggest them below in the comments section. Many of the ones we chose were names you might not recognize, or if you do know them, it's for something else because they prefer to do their good deeds quietly, out of the spotlight. Well, we've noticed and want to thank them anyway!
Next, it's also important to note that you may not agree with everyone we've chosen. That's fine, too. And you're welcome to write about that in the comments, also. Be aware, however, that while we will accept honest disagreements, we will not allow personal attacks. Comments that we deem to be negative or over the top will be edited or removed.
And finally, each of us can probably think of folks that made a difference in a negative way. But, when we started this discussion amongst our staff, we decided early on that this isn't a Grinch award. So, if the person that comes to your mind is one that stirred up more trouble than good, just ignore them. They're not worth talking about anyway.
With that said, here are those recognized by eNewsAZ as making a difference in our communities. They're in alphabetical order - we believe each is important in their own way.:
Steve Blair serves on the Prescott City Council, has a radio show on KYCA and owns his own business, Blind Brothers. He did own the Holsum Distributorship, but ended up selling it due to an unfortunate controversy that arose. (This is not the place to rehash all the details of that debacle.) But, during the many years that he was the owner of the distributorship, he donated hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of product to local non-profits. After the controversy erupted, Blair negotiated for the non-profits to continue receiving the donations despite the change in ownership. He also continued serving effectively on the Prescott City Council, and went about his business with his chin held high and a friendly smile on his face. He still donates time to several service organizations and non-profits.
Is he bitter? "Nah," Blair said, noting that there is no time for that. "What happened, happened. Life moves on. I just want to help our community, and I think that what I've been able to learn in my many years of public service can be helpful now during this time of transition in our city. So, here I am. I'm still who I am."
You may know Steve Bracety as the manager of the Prescott Resort. Yes, that's his job, but he is far more involved in the community than that. Bracety is the President of Prescott Area Leadership (PAL), which develops leadership skills in residents across the community (by the way, they're looking for Man/Woman/Youth of the Year nominees right now, check out the PAL website for more information); he's the PV Chamber of Commerce Vice Chairman; he's very active in Hotel and Lodging organizations as well as local tourism organizations.
His facility hosts numerous events for non-profit organizations, including several supportive of veterans. The Republican Women of Prescott meet at the Prescott Resort for their monthly meetings. And, as manager of the Resort, Bracety supports the Gingerbread Village project which benefits children's organizations in the tri-city area.
Judge Robert Brutinel
Presiding Judge Robert Brutinel has just been appointed by the Governor to the Arizona Supreme Court, where he will begin to serve in January 2011. He will be the fourth Supreme Court Justice from Prescott, and the first since the '70's. Overall, Judge Brutinel will be the 40th State Supreme Court Justice in the history of the State of Arizona.
Although Judge Brutinel, as the Presiding Judge of the Yavapai Superior Court, could have sought some of the more "glamorous" cases, he instead chose to work in Juvenile justice, an area that is largely out of the public eye. We are appreciative of the fact that he will take his special expertise in rural and juvenile matters to the Arizona Supreme Court, offering a fresh perspective to the highest court in the State.
In addition, Judge Brutinel works closely with CASA, and once was heard to mention that the bi-annual adoption days are some of his very favorite duties.
And yes, as the photo to the left indicates, even judges know how to laugh.
Central Arizona Partnership
Central Arizona Partnership (CAP) has a goal to, "...fulfill our mission through researching issues, educating members and the general public on those issues through various media and events, and, when appropriate, engaging in activities in support of policies, practices, pursuits and initiatives that we believe will help advance the best interests of our community."
As part of their efforts to educate their members and the public, CAP is responsible for bringing dynamic, informed speakers to a monthly breakfast with their members and guests. Some of the speakers in 2010 include: Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, Governor Jan Brewer, Don Cardon, Director, Arizona Department of Commerce, and Michael Bidwell, the President of the Arizona Cardinals.
Led currently by outgoing President Jeff Wasowicz, Charlie Arnold is the new incoming President of the organization. And, we should note, that Charlie Arnold is involved in far more than CAP. He's on the board of several non-profits; he's active in the Chino Valley Chamber and much more. He'll even eat over 30 ears of corn just to help a good cause (see photo under Andy Tobin's listing). Charlie will be a great leader of CAP.
Chef Bryan and the Coalition for Compassion and Justice
Gourmet food on paper plates for a reasonable price and a terrific cause. That's what Chef Bryan prepares once a month, and all profits go to help local low-income individuals and families served by the Coalition for Compassion and Justice. The cost? No set charge, it is all served up by donations on the first Friday of the month. Chef Bryan also has boxes of homemade chocolate caramels for sale, and operates a catering service to raise additional funds. In addition, Chef Bryan mentors unemployed people to learn food preparation skills. It's a great example of an organization that does more than beg for money, it has discovered a way to be self-sustaining to a large degree, even while helping the needy amongst us.
Sanford and Terri Cohen
Owners of the Hometown Radio Group, which includes KPPV 106.7 FM, KDDL 94.3 FM, KQNA 1130 AM & 99.9 FM and the KUGO 102.5 FM, they also support or keep involved in several non-profit organizations such as the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Prescott, (JCFGP) which has as its goal to, "...develop, sustain, and ensure the social welfare, cultural heritage, and continuity of a strong and vibrant Jewish community for generations to come through the creation and growth of endowment funds." Both are involved in various special programs for veterans. Additionally, their companies are active in the local chambers of commerce and related activities.
Most people recognize the name Fann Contracting or even Fann Environmental, but have no idea of what the man behind this company means to the local community. And, did you know that Fann Contracting just celebrated 50 years in business?
Mike Fann donates not just his own money to various non-profits, but his time as well. The organizations he volunteers with aren't always related to his company, either, such as the Yavapai County Silent Witness Board of Directors. In addition, he matches employee donations to Fann Employees Making a Difference (FEMAD).
Why does he do it? Because he cares about his hometown.
If you need home repair or want to build a house, Sandy Griffis should be your first phone call. If you want to start a contracting business, Griffis should still be your first call. Griffis is the Executive Director of the Yavapai County Contractors Assocation (YCCA), but she does so much more. She provides support for local businesses, guidance to homeowners, she's on several non-profit boards, she attends City Council meetings faithfully, even taking a class in Prescott Valley to learn about the town governmental structure. She's on more committees than you have fingers. She does an outstanding job of producing the Home and Garden Show, a terrific resource to just about everyone in Yavapai County. And most of all, she always has a smiling face and a charming chortle to make sure people stay positive.
Dr. Paul Gosar
Convinced that Washington, DC was leading the country in the wrong direction, Dr. Gosar sold his dental practice and jumped into a very crowded field of Republicans champing at the bit to challenge incumbent Ann Kirkpatrick. He won, and by more than just a little. He immediately reached out to the other candidates, almost all of whom pitched in to help with his election efforts. Despite personal attacks against him by Kirkpatrick, Gosar kept his campaign focused on the issues of the day. Since winning the General Election on November 2, 2010, he's been back to Washington for orientation a couple of times. He's decided to be a "sleeper" - one who sleeps in his office - so that he remembers the needs of his home district and doesn't get too complacent. He asks to be held accountable and pledges to not lose sight of the goal.
Wynne Zaugg and Hacienda de los Milagros
Wynne Zaugg leads up the Hacienda de los Milgros sanctuary for abandoned and broken down horses and burros. You can read about his organization here: The Plight and Rescue of Wild Burros. One thing that's different about Zaugg's efforts, however, is that he's not just rescuing equine animals, he's looking to give most of them a 'forever home'. The feed and care of the animals costs thousands a month, most of which he's funded from his own account and donations from sympathetic animal lovers. Zaugg looks at all his animals as his friends, and after seeing the horses and burros interact with him, it appears the feeling is mutual. In the meantime, if you have any spare cash after the holidays, Zaugg would surely be able to put it to good use.
He's the CEO of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce and rather active in other service organizations besides. Under Jackson's enthusiastic leadership, the Chino Chamber has continued to grow, doubling in size since he got there. It's considered to be one of the fastest growing Chambers in the state. Additionally, he's recently helped the Chamber to find some ideal new digs that will give him room to grow and also to get some ideas going that he's got brewing in his mind. Finally, if you ever feel a little down, ask him to sing you a song. You'll feel cheerier in no time!
Harold James Foundation
Led by Ron James, this organization has made millions of dollars in contributions to the local community and economy. Wonder why Mayor Kuykendall didn't need to be flown out of town for his quintuple heart bypass? Thank the James Family Heart Center at Yavapai Regional Medical Center for that. Curious about where the funds came from for the Elks Opera House restoration? Look no further than a generous donation by the Harold James Foundation. This is just a small amount of what the Harold James Foundation has donated, and the fruits will benefit the entire community for generations to come.
Kay and Harvey Jones
If there's a good deed to be done in Chino Valley, odds are that the Jones are right in the middle of it. They started the Chino Valley Foundation for Seniors, which brought back the Friday lunches Sometimes that's the only hot meal these folks get all day. Curious about what happened 100 years ago? Kay's your gal, she probably knows the answer. Kay heads up the Historical society and is deeply involved in the Chamber.
Every year there's a super-duper auction that lasts for about two weeks, and it's put on by the Prescott Kiwanis Club. The goal this year is to raise $145,000. Where does the money go? Gee, it's hard to find an organization that hasn't been helped by the Kiwanis Club. Everything from scouting, to baseball, to parades, to the Teen Maze - you name it, and the Kiwanis Club is there to lend a hand and funding. (photo not available)
The City of Prescott was on track to pay millions of dollars to attorneys in a multi-party legal wrangle over water. Mayor Marlin Kuykendall was elected, and shortly after he took office, parties were at the bargaining table, looking for solutions rather than arguments. Soon, a historic agreement was reached, and now the parties are working together in moving forward for the community. Of course, that's not all Kuykendall has accomplished in his inaugural year as mayor, but it's surely the crown jewel!
According to their website, Yavapai Exception Industries, is the "...place where developmentally disabled adults can find gainful employment and a sense of personal pride." And the man behind that effort is Brad Newman. Not only does Brad contribute to the community, but so do the employees who work at YEI. And what's even better: YEI is 100% debt-free!
Now, that's a model for other organizations to follow! We applaud Brad and the entire YEI organization for being proactive, energetic and always cheerful.
Newman is also a talented musician (see him Tuesday nights at Coyote Joes), and a Colorado River Raft guide.
Tom Payne and Wendy McManigal from Tom's Print Shop
Last year Tom's Print Shop, owned by Tom Payne and Wendy McManigal were the Chino Valley Chamber Business of the Year. Arriving in Chino Valley in 2008, Payne and McManigal immediately started making an impact in the community. But, they contribute their time and efforts to more than the Chamber - they're active in the Rotary and the Lions, Parks and Rec and so much more. Not only that, if you need printing services, they're probably the fastest and have the best prices around. It's worth a phone call and drive to Chino Valley, that's for sure!
She's the Yavapai County Attorney, and is known throughout the state for her efforts in protecting the rights of victims and the rule of law. But, Polk is also passionate about ethics training, helping to set up an entire ethics program for training judges and attorneys across Arizona and the country, in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. In addition, she is a driving force behind MATForce, an organization designed to help kids stay away from drugs and other illegal activities.
Republican Women of Prescott
Are you ready to be informed about political issues, local, statewide and national? Are you interested in movers and shakers in our government and campaigns? The Republican Women of Prescott has an organization for you. Not only do they do a fabulous job of keeping folks informed about the issues, but they also bring in some terrific speakers at their monthly luncheons. One such speaker they brought in 2010 was Ward Connerly, the force behind Prop 107, which prohibited preferential treatment or discrimination based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment.
By the way, the Republican Women of Prescott is the largest Republican Women group in the state of Arizona and among the top ten largest in the country.
It's pretty difficult to find someone that's more "up" on Prescott Valley and economic growth and business than Lew Rees. Talking with Rees is like a breath of fresh air. He's probably the biggest cheerleader the community of Prescott Valley has! He's creative - like when he brings in cover bands to the Entertainment District for folks to enjoy for free, knowing it will help build business in the ED. He loves the Sundogs unconditionally. And, through it all, he's steadfast on principles.
That's probably why the Fain Signature Group employs him. They know Lew Rees is great for Prescott Valley.
Besides his various duties, you can watch Rees with Tonya Mock on AM Arizona weekday mornings at 10 AM.
It's kind of mind-boggling to think that the Arizona State Majority Leader in the House is from Paulden, Arizona - barely a blip on the map. That is, unless you know Andy Tobin, and then you understand why he was chosen. He's an idea guy, a "get-it-done" guy. But, he's also ready and willing to make difficult choices if it's in the State's best interest.
When local city and county officials need the Arizona State Legislature to listen to their needs and concerns, their first call is usually to Representative Andy Tobin. He's a voice for all of rural Arizona. Not only that, he's very accessible. He answers phone calls, emails and even Facebook messages. He'll always listen, even if he doesn't agree. He's one of the most straightforward and honest politicians you'll ever meet - and he tells it like it is.
As the photo below demonstrates, at heart, he's a public servant through and through.
Marnie Uhl is the CEO of the Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce and she keeps it humming. As Chamber CEO, Uhl has her fingers in everything from economic development, to the Business Academy, to donating 2,379 turkeys to local food banks; to organizing the Valley of Lights. But, that's just the beginning. She started the PV Police Foundation, which provides safety equipment for local police officers. She's also an actress and very involved in local theater.
Ok, well, that's our list. You've probably thought of several that we left off. Geez, we thought of several that didn't get put on. But, that's ok, you can add to the list below in the comment section. And in the meantime, remember to thank these folks, as well as others that you know yourselves. Because, they are willing to step up and make a difference in our communities. Without people and organizations like this, a lot of good wouldn't have happened.