CARSON CITY — A near capacity crowd turned out at St. Mary’s Hall in Carson City to honor this year’s Citizen of the Year, Carol Wiles.
Wiles was awarded the honor by the Carson City Lions Club, which each year hosts the event.
According to Lions Club treasurer and, for the past 20 years chairman of the event, Tom Wilcox, the citizen of the year is selected through a nomination process and the votes of Lions Club members.
“Once all the nomination letters are turned in it becomes a pretty difficult decision, because everyone is a good choice,” Wilcox said. “We talk with all the individuals who were nominated and then the members fill out a ballot with their first, second, third, and so on choices. Whoever gets the lowest score wins. When you look at all the great individuals who are nominated, you really can’t go wrong.”
The Lions also give out scholarships to deserving, college-bound students each year. This year the Hubbardston Historical Society also awarded an academic scholarship to a graduating Carson City-Crstal senior.
The Citizen of the Year award has been given since 1994. Originally, the award was sponsored by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. When the chamber disbanded in 1999, the Lions Club took over and has been hosting the event since.
A similar, earlier award was presented annually by the Women’s Club of Carson City beginning in 1981, but that group allowed the chamber to take the helm in 1994.
Wilcox said one of the best things about the award and the accompanying ceremony is that it brings together high achievers from different generations.
“You have the kids there and the older generation,” Wilcox said. “Then you have the community groups and they all get the chance to see what the others are doing.”
This year’s winner, Carol Wiles, is principal of Carson City-Crystal Elementary School, but she started as a teacher with the system decades ago. In that time, she has distinguished herself as both a teacher and administrator.
Julie Farmer, a teacher at Carson City-Crystal Elementary School and a friend of Wiles, extolled the virtues of the guest of honor, often bringing tears to Wiles’ eyes.
“This town has done a lot for her, but she’s done a lot for this town,” Farmer said. “She adds a little bit of ‘Carol Flair’ to everything she does. I’m thankful she is in my life as both a mentor and a friend.”
Andy Croel, pastor of the church Wiles attends — and where she sometimes volunteers as pianist — also complimented Wiles.
“If you’re looking for the person in the community who uses her talents and gifts to give back, it’s her,” Croel said. “She genuinely wants this community to be a better community to live in.”
Wiles herself downplayed her role in the community, repeatedly asserting there were many people far more deserving of the award. Few in attendance were willing to accept that contention, however, and she received a standing ovation upon completion of her comments.
“I’m up here because the hard work of others makes me look good,” she said. “We have so many resources in this small community. We should all be very proud.”
Other awards presented included:
• The Hubbardston Area Historical Society Bud and Joanne Howard Scholarship, which went to Jonabel Durga.
• The Carson City Lions Club Edward F. Herald Scholarships, which went to Samantha Coston, Jonabel Durga, Allyson Hubbell and Katie Wilcox.
• Class of 2013 Top Academic Seniors Award, which went to Kali Donahue, Maesi Howdyshell, Allyson Hubbell, Charlene McAlvey, Megan Miller and Lucas Ratu.