Hoss finalist for CAA Humanitarian of the Year
LAUGHLIN — Unlike other Community Achievement Award finalists, Kathleen Hoss didn’t initially accept the nomination.
“It was kind of funny because I emailed them back and said ‘I think this went to the wrong address. I just want you to know so you can forward to the correct one,’” she said smiling. “They said — ‘nope it’s you.’”
She said she didn’t even know what to say. She told her husband about it and both were stunned.
Then Hoss the phone call saying she made the final four and would go through an interview process and that was really shocking, she said.
“There are so many people that do so many great things in the community that I was really truly honored to even be amongst them,” said Hoss.
She described the interview process as a little intense.
“Initially I wasn’t nervous because there’s no way I’m going to win this thing,” said Hoss. “But once I saw everyone looking at me, it was like ‘whew, that’s a little pressure.’”
The big thing was to speak from the heart and to speak the truth, she said, and overall, she had a good experience.
The CAAs is an annual event put on by the Laughlin Chamber of Commerce and is a way of recognizing individuals, groups and businesses for going above and beyond in assorted categories. Hoss is a finalist for the Humanitarian of the Year Award.
The chamber defines the leader of that category as someone who is dedicated to community service, donating time, talents and money for not-for-profit organizations. The winner shows extraordinary passion and commitment to the cause or causes they champion.
Hoss is no stranger to donating her time. Even with a walking boot on one foot for a broken ankle and a wrist wrapped, she could be seen grilling food and walking around taking care of needs at the Elks Lodge 2872’s annual Fall Fest.
She described her time setting up the Fall Fest. She took several trips to ensure the booths were set, the advertising was up and handled any other loose ends. She joked with a friend about how she never went to bed.
Hoss is the exalted ruler for the Laughlin Elks Lodge 2872. She is a member of the Women of the Moose, an auxiliary of the Loyal Order of Moose. She is a past-senior regent for the Women of the Moose, the recorder, secretary and an officer of their board.
Aside from those organizations, she works on local events such as National Public Lands Day, Wings and Wildlife and volunteers at the American Legion Richard Springston Post 60.
“If they need help, I volunteer,” said Hoss. “Anywhere I can help somebody, I’m right there helping them.”
She volunteers at the schools for the reading program. The Elks Lodge offers Read to Succeed which is meant to encourage students to read.
“Our veterans (are) our past and our history. Our students and our children are our future,” she said. “So anything we can do to help them proceed to a greater future is just warming to my heart.”
Read to Succeed has turned into a successful program. Hoss said she’s had teachers tell her that there were students who they couldn’t get to read a book and are now reading up to one or two books a week.
Hoss told students not to see reading as a chore but as a way to go on adventures. “Every book you read is a journey that you will go on,” she said.
Students are actually getting excited and can’t wait to tell Elks members about what they’ve read, said Hoss. Some students are now making requests for certain books, she added.
Hoss has a hand in the Fun in the Sun Youth Festival put on by the Elks Lodge. That event is about drug awareness.
“That program grows every year,” said Hoss. “We’ve actually had teachers from the other side of the river who actually come over and see if their children can participate and if they can get information on the latest information on drugs.”
Through the Elks, Hoss is part of the Special Olympics. There is a bowling segment offered that the Elks Foundation funds.
“The Elks started the program so that Special Olympians who couldn’t participate in Bocce Ball or swimming or cheerleading, could come out in a safe environment with their own peers and enjoy the day,” she said. “It’s a little bit of a chore putting it all together but it’s so worth it. No matter what you do, they always leave happy. Even if you’re in a bad mood, by the time you leave, you’re in the best mood.”
She volunteers in some of the other Special Olympics activities, she said. She puts on the Christmas and Valentine’s Day dances.
In any given week, Hoss said she will spend as many hours as it takes to make sure things get done. It’s at least 80 hours depending on the week, she added.
“What I do for the community is what I do for myself,” Hoss said about having any free time. “What I do makes me very proud and humble and that’s all I really need. And my husband enjoys doing activities with us when he’s not working.”
Hoss isn’t a Laughlin native but the community has been near and dear to her heart for a long time. Hoss is from Pawling, New York. Her family moved to California and eventually, she and her own family moved to Laughlin.
She said her family used to vacation in Laughlin twice a year and they fell in love with the community. She’s been in Laughlin for 18 years. She’s accompanied by her husband, Eric.
Her son, Dennis Walters, graduated from Laughlin Junior Senior High School and now lives in Las Vegas.
“What I love about (this) community is that we’re from all over,” said Hoss. “We’re not born and raised here (and yet) there are so many people willing to help. It truly is a community where you can trust your neighbor. Every community that is being built starts with a patch. We’re just putting all the patches together.”