The Center Honors “Organization of the Year” and “Volunteers of the Year” at Second Annual Picnic by Design Event

May 6, 2016

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (The Center) presented two of its annual coveted honors at its Picnic By Design event, Saturday, April 30 at World Market Center’s Pavilion #2.

Amid celebrating “Parasols in the Park,” this year’s Picnic By Design event served as the backdrop to the honoring of Three Square Food Bank as it’s “Organization of the Year” and presented its “Volunteers of the Year” award to Clair Koetitz and Lyndon Marquez of Las Vegas.

At 7 p.m., The Center recognized these community leaders for their contributions to the Southern Nevada LGBTQ community and its allies.

Organization of the Year: Three Square

For nearly nine years, Three Square has been in the business of saving lives. To this day, they are the safety net for countless individuals in our community who have exhausted every other resource of support.

Three Square is Southern Nevada’s only food bank providing food assistance to the residents of Lincoln, Nye, Esmeralda and Clark Counties.

Three Square’s mission is to provide wholesome food to hungry people, while passionately pursuing a hunger-free community. They combine food banking (warehousing canned and boxed goods), food rescue (obtaining surplus or unused meats, bread, dairy and produce from hospitality and grocery outlets), and ready-to-eat meals to be the most complete food solution for Southern Nevada.

As a partner with The Center, and with a service network of nearly 1,300 community partners, which includes non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, schools, and after school and feeding sites – they reach out to struggling individuals and families at risk of hunger. In 2015 alone, they distributed more than 38 million pounds of food, the equivalent of more than 31 million meals through their community partners.

They have persuaded many to join the fight to end hunger, including the gaming industry, local businesses, non-profit agencies, food distributors, higher education institutions, the Clark County School District, government entities, the media, and thousands of volunteers and donors.

Volunteers of the Year: Clair Koetitz and Lyndon Marquez

“When you ask these folks to volunteer, you always get a ‘two-fer,’” said Michael Dimengo, CEO of The Center.  “Where one is, the other is.” Clair Koetitz is a native of central Montana, retired from British Petroleum. Lyndon Marquez is from Midland, Texas and semi-retired. The story is that these two people from two different parts of the country met in a bar in Midland, Texas.  Later, they partnered as a couple. And, in 2008 they married in Palm Springs.

They moved to Las Vegas in 2014 after Clair retired. One of the first things they did when they arrived here is that they both signed up to be volunteers at The Center.

They have become a vital part of an extensive network of community activists and volunteers committed to making a difference. Together they have joined others in supporting the efforts of such community partners as Las Vegas Pride, Golden Rainbow, and Human Rights Campaign.

They are two of the most unassuming individuals that you would ever meet. But, to us, they are two of the most important individuals we can call supporters of The Center. We call them the “dynamic duo.”

“Clair and Lyndon stand out among over 270 volunteers at The Center. I’m so impressed that our corps of volunteers is, once again, a vital and valuable lifeline for The Center. I’m similarly thrilled that The Center will be honoring two individuals and an organization that continually make a difference in our community,” said Dimengo. “It was a thrill that many from our community turned out to give voice to the honors that we want to bestow upon these generous individuals.”

Volunteers of the Year Lyndon Marquez and Clair Koetitz (middle) receive their award from The Center’s Raul Daniels and Michael Dimengo

Three Square President and CEO Brian Burton (middle) receives his Organization of the Year award from The Center’s Cory Sadler, Cray Bauxmont-Flynn, Raul Daniels and Michael Dimengo