SHERIDAN — Four Sheridan individuals will be honored in April at the fourth annual Keystone Awards.
The awards honor individuals who have contributed significant service to the Sheridan area through volunteer or philanthropic endeavors.
Award winners for 2014 are Scott and Anne Nickerson, Dixie See and William (Bill) Avery.
This year’s event is sponsored by ERA Carroll Realty and First Interstate Bank and hosted by the Sheridan Senior Center.
Nominees are put forth by members of the community and an awards committee narrows down the nominees and makes the final selection.
“These are people who have been involved in the community for a long time, so they know the history of the people who are nominated,” said Rindy West, development director at the senior center, about the selection committee. “They really thought that this is a varied group of nominees this year. They were just overjoyed to see there were so many qualified nominees. Even the top 10 names, we could have chosen any one of these and they would be great.”
West said that this year’s honorees represent a broad diversity of achievement. The awards are patterned after the Kennedy Center Honors, however, rather than recognizing people in the arts, the award honors local individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions to Sheridan County communities.
“The committee really thought that this is a varied group of nominees for this year,” said West. “There are people that have done philanthropic efforts in the community, for example, the Nickersons, and Dixie, who is a realtor by trade but has served on multiple boards in the community and done a variety of service in the community. And then there is Bill Avery.
“His musical talents and what he has passed on in terms of musical knowledge and information is just amazing,” she added. “Really, they’ve all contributed to the community, across the board, but their highlights have been in different areas. They have done unique things that have contributed greatly to the communities here in Sheridan County.”
Past award recipients have included Darlene Elliott, Roman Skatula, Seymour Thickman, Dippy King, Joe Laughton, Mary Ellen McWilliams, Rev. Ray Clark (posthumously), Ky Dixon, Homer Scott Jr. and Neltje.
This year’s event will also include recognition of new, upcoming community leaders as well, with one student from each county high school being recognized for their community service and awarded college scholarship money. Finalists for the young leaders awards will be announced in April.
The awards ceremony will be held Thursday, April 24 at the WYO Theater. The honoree reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. followed by the awards show at 7:30 p.m. An after-party will be held at Frackleton’s restaurant.
Tickets to the event are $75 per person and include the honoree reception with food and drinks at the WYO Theater. For those only interested in attending only the awards show at 7:30 p.m., tickets can be purchased for $35. Raffles will also be included during the evening’s event, with all proceeds benefiting the Sheridan Senior Center. Tickets can be purchased by calling 672-9083 or online at www.wyotheater.org
Dixie See is co-owner of ERA Carroll Realty, which celebrated its 100th year of business this year. She started work at the company in 1977 as a secretary, received her real estate license in 1981 and began managing the company in 1989. She then purchased the company a year later.
See is active in Sheridan’s realtor organization and served as multiple listing service co-chair, secretary, vice president and president. She has also been a very active member in the community, serving on multiple nonprofit boards.
“I would almost say is there any volunteer group or activity that Dixie hasn’t been a part of?” said Rindy West, development director at the Sheridan Senior Center. “She’s been involved with everything from the hospital to Christmas in April, the Wyoming Real Estate Commission and her church. Dixie has been a part of numerous, numerous organizations in Sheridan that have been made better due to her service.”
William Avery, known to many as Bill, is responsible for initiating one of Sheridan’s most beloved summertime traditions — the annual Kendrick Park Summer Concert Series.
Avery was a member of the U.S. Air Force band and later became a music teacher in Sheridan for 35 years, from 1950 to 1985. He has been a volunteer at United Methodist Church, either singing or leading the bell choir, for the past 50 years. In 2007, he received the AARP’s Andrus Community Service Award. He was also a dedicated caregiver to his late wife, Elaine.
“He has influenced the world of Sheridan County arts through his music and knowledge and we are much richer for his contributions,” said Rindy West, development director at the Sheridan Senior Center. “Students have been taught and made career choices based on Bill’s education as well as the summer concerts in the park. That part of the arts has just been richly, richly blessed to have been helped by Bill.”
Scott and Ann Nickerson
Scott and Anne Nickerson are recognized this year for their long dedication to philanthropy in Sheridan County. The couple has made generous donations to area organizations through their Nickerson Family Foundation, which they operate with their three sons, and also shared their philosophy of philanthropy with many individuals and organizations by serving as advisors on many nonprofit capital campaigns. Leading by example, they have inspired and encouraged a tradition of charitable giving in Sheridan County.
“I see Anne as the embodiment of community vision and spirit that makes Sheridan the incredible place it is,” said Amy Albrecht, director of the Center for a Vital Community, in a nomination letter for a leadership award through the Wyoming Association of Community College Trustees.
Anne contributed significantly to the development of the CVC and was a driving force for the CiVic community leadership project, while the Sheridan Memorial Hospital Board has benefited greatly from Scott’s involvement. The couple has also supported the Leave a Legacy in Wyoming effort and the Sheridan College Archaeology Project.