Volunteers preparing for April 25 tribute evening

SHERIDAN — It’s countdown time to the 2013 Keystone Awards event.

From meals to facilities to entertainment to ticket sales, volunteers have been working for eight months toward the 2013 Awards tribute evening scheduled on April 25.

The Keystone Awards emerged from a volunteer group to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions that have shaped the profile of Sheridan County communities. Honorees are feted through an evening of tributes that includes food, a medal presentation, live entertainment and a tribute video.
Inspired by the Kennedy Center Awards, the evening is customized each year around the individuals being honored. One activity of the program is a showing of tribute videos highlighting the contributions of each honoree.

Once the honorees were announced, a small group of Keystone volunteers launched into research for tribute videos to be shown the evening of the awards. Draft versions of scripts undergo several rounds of review before being forwarded to professional filmmaker, Leon Schatz to produce.

No one but this small group sees the videos which are scheduled to premere the evening of the Keystone Awards. Secrecy of the content of the films is deliberate as a surprise to the honorees that evening.

“I want to utilize what I learned at UW as a communication major to help benefit all of this,” said Sarah Aksamit, who has returned to hometown Sheridan with a bachelor’s degree in communications. “It’s a really big deal and people should be excited about it.”

Aksamit,who graduated from UW, has been volunteering with event publicity and has lent a hand in research for the videos.

For two years, volunteer Linda Gostas has been the sole tribute video script writer for the Keystone Awards until this year.

Gostas is the human resource director for the Senior Center but has volunteered on the event committee since its inception in 2011.

“It has been my great honor to work with the recipients (on the Keystone tribute videos) for the past three years and I must say it is always awe-inspiring to see all the ways they have given to uplift people through their generosity of spirit, and sense of community,” Gostas said.

“This is an exciting time for the Keystone Honorees to be acknowledged for their work by their community! It has been an inspiration and an honor as well for the volunteers who have the opportunity to learn about these community builders who are often volunteers themselves.”

Thirty volunteers are on the Keystone Awards event committee this year.

Proceeds from the Keystone Awards event go to support services at the Sheridan Senior Center.

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Tom Cotton

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