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`Citizen of the Year’ named


When Susan Gregory took a human sexuality class at Pima Community College a few years ago, she was shocked when the teacher passed out a five-page handout on sexually transmitted diseases.

It woke her up. As a single mother with a 16-year-old daughter, she wanted to educate parents about the HIV virus.

“I know how kids talk,’ Gregory said.

Spurred to action, she became an energetic educator in the fight against AIDS.

Today, she was named the Tucson Citizen’s “Citizen of the Year’ for her work.

The honoree is chosen from individual winners of the J.C. Penney Golden Rule awards, also announced today, for outstanding volunteer work in the community. Gregory was among four individuals and one group to win Golden Rule awards.

For four years, Gregory has spent about 40 hours a month as a board member with the Shanti Foundation, which provides services to people who carry HIV, and with the Community Action Team (CAT) of Tucson Electric Power Co., which educates co-workers about AIDS.

Her biggest project has been coordinating the annual AIDSWALK fund-raiser, which involved more than 2,500 volunteers and resulted in $100,000 for local AIDS outreach programs in 1995.

Gregory was given a plaque and was awarded $1,000 for her volunteer organization this morning at the Doubletree Hotel, 445 S. Alvernon Way.

Broaching the subject of AIDS with co-workers was sensitive work, she said.

Through newsletters and fund-raisers, Gregory was able to keep the dialogue – and awareness – going.

“The challenge was putting the trust and relationships as a 21-year TEP employee on the line with blue-collar folks about the need to talk openly and honestly about AIDS,’ her nomination essay said.

The Golden Rule and Citizen of the Year awards are sponsored by J.C. Penney, the Tucson Citizen and the Volunteer Center of Tucson.

Each category winner receives a $1,000 contribution to his or her organization, and finalists receive a $250 contribution.

The awards are named for James Cash Penny’s first store, Golden Rule, established in 1902 in Kremmerer, Wyo. Category winners become eligible for the National Golden Rule award, with which they can win up to a $10,000 contribution to their organization.


ADULT WINNER: H.L. Nash Huerta, for his work as executive director of the Hispanic Cultural Showcase, which promotes Hispanic culture.

EDUCATION WINNER: Gabriella Contreras, 10, for her accomplishments with B.A.D.D.D. (Be Alert Don’t Do Drugs), a club she founded at Roskruge Elementary School that educates students about the dangers of drugs.

GROUP WINNER: Friends in Deed, a 25-year-old Green Valley organization staffed by 260 volunteers that offers free services to the elderly and disabled and provides space for a variety of support groups.

YOUTH WINNER: Cassie Lown, 18, a University of Arizona freshman and leukemia survivor who volunteers with Candlelighters of Tucson. She plays with cancer-afflicted children in hospitals and works at Camp Sunrise, a summer camp for kids with cancer.

FINALISTS: Katherine Ashley – A volunteer with the Department of Economic Security’s Division of Developmental Disabilities who teaches and helps people with mental retardation, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and autism.

Michalyn Erickson – A volunteer with the Pathfinder Puppies 4-H Club, which raises guide dogs for the blind.

Tom Greene – Founder of Arizona Love Project, which operates distribution centers providing necessities to the homeless.

Teisha Montez, 18 – A Casa de los Niños volunteer who spends 50 hours a month bathing, diapering and feeding children.

Juanita Moreno – A Catholic Community Services Pastoral Ministries volunteer who takes three buses to La Colina Heath Care Center to offer spiritual assistance to the elderly.

Elsie Nelson – An 11-year volunteer at the Casa de los Niños thrift store.

Connie Remily – Another Casa de los Niños volunteer, of 23 years, who cares for malnourished and drug-addicted infants.

Kimberly Sawyer – Of the University of Arizona Society of Women Engineers, who coordinates science fairs to promote careers in science.

Dr. Steven Seifert – Medical director of the Sexual Assault Resource Center at the Tucson Rape Crisis Center, for work in developing responses to sexual assault victims.

Employee Volunteer Team at Southwest Gas Corp. – For volunteer work with the Christmas in April program, which rehabilitates homes of low-income, elderly and disabled people .

Amanda Speth, 13 – A Cross Middle School student who helps with activities at the Handmaker Jewish Services for the Aging.

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