Two of Nevada County’s leading advocates for the local homeless population have been selected as recipients of the 28th Annual Col. William H. “Bill” Lambert Award, which is presented each year as part of Nevada City’s Constitution Day Celebration.
The prestigious Lambert Award is presented by the Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City to recognize outstanding contributions to our community. The award is named in honor of the late Col. William H. Lambert, founder of Nevada City’s annual Constitution Day Parade.
This year’s recipients are Joanna Robinson and Cindy Maple, co-founders and longtime supporters of Hospitality House, western Nevada County’s 54-bed emergency homeless shelter for men, women and children.
“No two people have changed the landscape of the issue about homelessness in Nevada County more than Joanna Robinson and Cindy Maple,” said Marching Presidents founder David Parker.
“They both have devoted years of great effort to not only providing amazing services to Nevada County’s homeless, but they have actually provided the portal for many people to escape being homeless and restart their lives with self esteem and a positive future.
“The Famous Marching Presidents take great pride in honoring these two outstanding citizens for their outstanding community service,” Parker said.
The Marching Presidents announce the award each year on the eve of the annual Constitution Day Parade, in which they participate. This year’s 51st annual parade rolls down Broad Street beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.
Robinson, widow of the late folksinger U Utah Phillips, is a co-founder of Hospitality House (2005) and remained very active in the successful campaign to build the group’s $1.5 million Utah’s Place shelter in Grass Valley. She is a longtime Nevada City resident and former book store owner.
She is most proud of the group’s work in finding housing for more than 400 formerly homeless folks. “We serve Nevada County residents,” she said. “Hospitality House began and has remained a community endeavor.”
She said she is pleased to accept the Lambert Award “on behalf of the commpassionate, generous community that has created Hospitality House. I’m honored to be in the good company of all the past recipients (who include her late husband Utah Phillips in 2006).”
Maple, who was also among the organization’s co-founders, served as Hospitality House executive director and tireless advocate for the homeless for 12 years. She resigned last year and has since moved to Las Vegas.
“I’m deeply honored to receive this award,” she said. “Sharing it with my dear friend and partner in this work, Joanna Robinson, makes it even more special. I’ve been incredibly blessed to do the work of my heart with Hospitality House. Knowing how much Hospitality House has benefited some of our most vulnerable citizens, and that its work is appreciated means a great deal to me.”
Robinson will be a guest of the Marching Presidents in Sunday’s parade and will accept the awards for both herself and Maple at group’s post-parade awards banquet at Miners Foundry.
Past Lambert Award recipients are retired city manager Beryl P. Robinson Jr., former mayor and city clerk Cathy Wilcox-Barnes, longtime parade organizers George and Pat Harper, city councilman and former mayor Pat Dyer, the late real estate broker Jim Mackey, local writer Dave Carter, Chamber of Commerce executive manager Cathy Whittlesey, former mayor Steve Cottrell, businessman Bob Buhlis, retired Nevada County general services director Dennis Cassella, John Christensen, a leader of community efforts to establish the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum; cartoonist R.L. “Crabman” Crabb, business owners Lee and Susan Thurston, Nevada City public works director Verne Taylor, the late historian Edwin Tyson, the late folksinger/activist U Utah Phillips, city engineer Bill Falconi, Marching Presidents organizer Patti Foster, retired school administrator Karen Chizek, musician Mikail Graham, retired county librarian Madelyn Helling, local builder Gary Tintle, former mayors Paul Matson and Reinette Senum, Nevada City Film Festival Director Jesse Locks and Nevada City musician and producer Paul Emery. Marching Presidents founder David Parker was honored with the group’s 20th anniversary award.
The Marching Presidents is a fun-loving and educational group that portrays all 45 U.S. Presidents with reverence, good humor and varying degrees of historical accuracy. For reliable information on U.S. Presidents, see http://www.americanpresident.org.
—By Dave Carter