News Flash

Nevada County News

Posted on: March 22, 2019

Local Rotary Clubs Present Awards for Business, Citizen and Volunteer of the Year

On Wednesday March 20th, the five Western Nevada County Rotary Clubs (Grass Valley, 49er Breakfast, Penn Valley, Grass Valley South and Nevada City) hosted the annual Community Awards Ceremony. Grass Valley Dental Wellness was named Business of the Year, Bart Riebe was named Citizen of the Year, and Cathy Wilcox-Barnes was named Volunteer of the Year. Nevada County District II Supervisor Ed Scofield, who serves as president of the Rotary Club of Grass Valley South, presented the awards.


Lowell Robinson Business of the Year Nominees

Dental Wellness Center - Business of the Year

The Dental Wellness Center of Grass Valley is deserving of this award not only because of the professionalism shown to their customers within their business but also their philanthropic reach within our community and beyond. 

Their “One percent of Our Community” campaign has given more than $5,000. to local non-profits.  Annually they donate their time for necessary dental services given to the Friendship Club girls.  Last year a case of tooth brushes was donated to El Shaddai Children's Home in Bugembe, Uganda Africa.

Rotary's philanthropic reach is both local and global and therefore we recognize the Dental Wellness Center for their widespread vision of giving.

Volz Brothers Automotive - Nominee

John believes in community, specifically our community.  He routinely donates money, time and automobiles to our citizens in need.  He doesn't say “no” when asked for help….because “it's the right thing to do.” He is ethical in his business and personal dealings.  His support of local non-profits is amazing.

John has rebuilt/repaired cars that are given to local citizens in need, with no expectation of payment.  John routinely obtains items for auction, and the money goes directly to non profits.

As the first California Certified Green Station in Nevada County, Volz Brothers has been at the forefront of environmentally conscious auto repair.  John partners with other businesses for the donated cars for tires, batteries, etc.  He ensures he refers business to them and shares the good they do in the community.

Byers Enterprises - Nominee

Ray Byers and his family have lived in Nevada County for 26 years.  Their moto as a family and business has always been, “Do the right thing.”  Byers has given not only  money but  labor and quality workmanship to numerous local charities and non-profits including The NorthStar House, Habitat for Humanity, Grass Valley Police Department and many others.

Byers Enterprises, Inc was founded in 1987.  Byers offers LeafGuard Gutter Systems, Roofing Systems, Solar and Skylights to clients.  Family is the center of their business, not just for their clients, but for their employees as well.  Since 1987, they treat their employees like their clients - with love, respect, honesty, and integrity.  Even though they have become one of the largest LeafGuard companies in America and they have added products and services over the years, they still hold those family values as important today as they did thirty years ago. 


Citizen of the Year Nominees

Bart Riebe - Citizen of the Year

This man is involved heavily locally with 4-H, sits on the Board at Clear Creek Schools, donates generously to The Friendship Club and other nonprofits in our community.  2018 saw this man step up to the plate when the need was at its highest.

When he received the call from one of his employees that there was smoke visible in the sky, he replied, “Get out, get your family and leave Paradise.”  Beating the odds, the Riebe's Auto Store in Paradise survived but most of his employees' homes and their families' homes did not.  Bart stepped in and purchased 5 motor homes and transported them to the parking area behind his Chico store to act as temporary housing for as long as his employees needed.  He built a laundry room facility, got internet hooked up and got laptops to the families.  Rotary strives for “Service Above Self” and for that we recognize Bart Riebe as the Citizen of the Year.

Mike Bratton - Nominee 

Mike, local insurance agent by day, non-profit hero by night.  He is well known throughout our community for his many contributions toward local non-profit organizations.  If you don’t see Mike at a non profit event you are not paying attention.

Mike is probably best known for his involvement in creating Anew Day. Anew Day is a faith-based organization that provides healing and hope through lay and professional counseling for those who are hurting. Anew Day is a 501(c)3 non-profit community service organization that rely solely on financial donations and volunteers.

The Michael Bratton II annual Turkey Trot is a special community gathering on Thanksgiving Morning at Nevada Union High School.  This is a large fundraiser and bring awareness to suicide and those who suffer.  Each year thousands come out to participate and share in the loss and hope.  If you are looking for a feel good day, be sure to participate in Mike’s  community projects such as “Random Acts of Kindness”

Jennifer Singer- Nominee 

Jennifer helped co-found The Friendship Club, a long-term prevention program designed to meet the needs of growing teenage girls, in 1955.  The Friendship Club has grown to a year-round program that serves between 80-100 girls in 6th-12th grades annually.  Jennifer has served in several roles as The Friendship Club has grown and became the Executive Director in 2004. 

Jennifer was raised in Nevada County and is a graduate of Nevada Union High School.  She is a member of the Nevada City School Board, founding board member and current board member for the Center for Non-Profit Leadership.  She is also a founding board member (founding President) and current board member for Sierra Harvest.  Jennifer is a wife and a mother of three children.


Volunteer of the Year Nominees

Cathy Wilcox-Barnes – Volunteer of the Year

Cathy is passionate about her love for our community, its rich history and the unending network of trails she loves to hike and steward.  Cathy continually gives back and enriches the lives of those around her through her countless hours with Nevada County Historical Society and related libraries and museums (Searls Foley, Firehouse and more) A walking tour with Cathy is unforgettable because of her wealth of knowledge and eagerness to share.  She has and continues to play a key role in being sure the libraries are sustainable and relevant.  As a long time, Nevada City Rotarian, Cathy has served many leadership roles including President and Treasurer.  She will serve a second term as President this coming year. 

Last year Cathy combined her love of hiking with her service to Rotary by hiking over 500 miles of the Camino Santiago in Spain to raise moneys to end Polio.  Cathy also served as Nevada City's first female mayor.  Cathy more often than not shows up for whatever occasion with freshly baked cookies…just another of her thoughtfully generous ways to share her joy and care for others.

Dr. Sarah Woerner – Nominee

Over the years Sarah has dedicated her life to giving back to the children of our community.  First as a local pediatrician who was always there for the children of our community.  Her passion led her to starting the KARE Crisis Nursery.  Her passion for kids continues.  She even went so far as starting a pie business to help give back to KARE.

Each year Sarah and her band of bakers create the yummiest of pies for sale at the Draft Horse Classic at the fairgrounds in support of the work that KARE Crisis Nursery.

Her dedication to helping children in this community, first as a physician and now as a volunteer, is truly a legacy and gift to our community.

John Renwick – Nominee

Not only does John have the gift of gab and love people…he has a heart of gold.

John has developed the skills of a top-notch auctioneer. He has invested in a top of the line sound system, and then volunteers his service and his equipment to non-profits and other community related services. He does 8 to 10 events a year. He's best known for his commitment to youth agriculture and does the annual 4-H cake sale and both Nevada Union and Bear River FFA Boosters dinners. He's also done events for Habitat for Humanity, NEO, California Waterfowl Federation, Interfaith Food Ministry, Animal Save, Nevada County Fair Foundation and for various fundraisers for citizens in need.

Not only does John do the auctions for no compensation, he often has a person in the audience bidding on items to support the cause. John's talents are often the difference between a lackluster fund-raising event to a highly successful one. The 4-H cake sale annually generates $12-14K, while a Nevada Union FFA Auction will bring as much as $25K. One final point, John's business, Remax-Performance of Grass Valley donates, cooks, and serves the dinner for buyers at the Ag-Mechanic Auction Friday night at the Nevada County Fair.  John is a man who makes a difference in the community in which he has lived for over 25 years.

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