A toast is made in honor of Keystone honoree Bill Avery, left, prior to the Keystone Awards event Thursday night at the new Black Box Theater inside the WYO Theater on Main Street. From left, Avery, Jon Avery, Jeannene McKnight, Gary McKnight and Lois Bell.A toast is made in honor of Keystone honoree Bill Avery, left, prior to the Keystone Awards event Thursday night at the new Black Box Theater inside the WYO Theater on Main Street. From left, Avery, Jon Avery, Jeannene McKnight, Gary McKnight and Lois Bell.

Toasting community

SHERIDAN — Some of Sheridan’s most community minded and influential people gathered at the WYO Theater last night for the fourth annual Keystone Awards.

The event is a benefit for the Sheridan Senior Center that celebrates individuals who have provided a lifetime of service to the community.

This year’s award winners were Dixie See, William Avery and Scott and Anne Nickerson.

As a featurette to the ceremony, one student from each county high school and the college are selected to be honored as the future leaders of the community with the Keys to the Stone awards which included a small scholarship to attend Sheridan College.

This year’s student honorees were Casey Caywood, Hanna Caiola, Harley Borzenski, Shayna Kretschman, Tyler Julian and Bobbi Mitzel.

The evening began and ended with casual mingling over food as the community showed their warmth and appreciation for the contributions of each individual.

The ceremony in the middle honored each Keystone Award recipient with a video describing their life and contributions followed by a special performance catered to the honoree.

Scott and Ann Nickerson’s portion kicked-off the ceremony as one of their three sons took to the stage.

“Dad always told me, if you celebrate what is right in the world, you’ll get more of it,” Gregory Nickerson said.

In the video honoring him and his wife, Scott Nickerson noted that, “We were just stepping in and following the lead of so many other communitarians to come before us in Sheridan.”

The special performance for the couple consisted of their three sons performing two songs demonstrating the family’s love of Wyoming.

Next up was recognition of Dixie See.

See was introduced by Bev Leichtnam who said “Dixie is not about work all the time. She is a mother, a grandmother, a traveler and more.”

See said in her video, “You have a right to make the community what you want it to be and if you don’t give back than you have no right to complain, so I think you need to give back.”

Honoring her eclectic taste in entertainment, the performance portion of her honors began with a classical piano performance and ended with an Elvis Presley impersonator from the theater department of Sheridan College.

Finally the evening moved to Bill Avery. For the man responsible for initiating one of Sheridan’s most beloved summertime traditions — the annual Kendrick Park Summer Concert Series — a musical performance was anticipated.

Don Cherni introduced Avery and said the longtime teacher took his lunch hour to teach Cherni clarinet in sixth grade. Cherni called him “my teacher, my friend, my hero.” Avery was honored with a song written and performed by former students.

“Get yourself involved in something you like and you will find there are people in this community to work with who will be a delightful part of your life,” Avery said in his video tribute. “For me, it was music, but for you it could be anything.”

Past award recipients of the Keystone Awards 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, and some were present and recognized at last night’s event.

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