High Fives Foundation recognizes five leaders
May 20, 2014
The High Fives Non-Profit Foundation emphasizes a strong sense of community through its continued effort to realize its vision of becoming the safety net for the winter action sports community. Beginning in April 2014, the Foundation will annually recognize five shining examples of community leaders with the Community Five Award.
Co-Founder and Executive Director Roy Tuscany has witnessed first-hand how important a community can be in the recovery process from a life-altering injury. Since his skiing accident in 2006, Tuscany has enjoyed seeing the greater Lake Tahoe area come together as a tight-knit collective of families, business and philanthropically minded residents. It is with the ever-increasing reach of the High Fives Foundation the time has come to recognize five distinguished members of the greater Lake Tahoe and Reno, Nev. community for their efforts to increase the overall well being of everyone around them.
On Wednesday, April 23, the High Fives Foundation hosted The Biggest Little High Five Gala at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, Nev. With a packed venue of 180 distinguished guests, the High Fives Foundation showcased the power of positivity and perseverance with highlighted stories and videos from High Fives Athletes as well as support from notable contributing partners such as SpineNevada (a regional center of excellence for back and neck conditions based in Reno, Nev.).
To cap the evening of giving, the High Fives Foundation's Roy Tuscany announced five special recipients to receive a Community Five Award — the first of its kind to come from the Foundation — the Community Five Award recognizes those who embody the ideals of community in the context of growth and positivity.
The following people were given 2014 Community Five Awards:
James Lynch, MD; Reno, Nev.: A board-certified spinal neurosurgeon with 20-years of experience, Dr. James Lynch is a pillar of the Lake Tahoe area medical community and a leader amongst his peers nationwide. His expertise the medical field is mirrored by his innate ability to help others in all walks of life. As the Medical Director of the High Fives Foundation's Board of Directors, Lynch has facilitated the opening of a satellite office for the Foundation at SpineNevada in Reno. He has also offered pro-bono services for all current and future High Fives athletes through SpineNevada. Additionally, Lynch has fostered relationships between Renown Health in Reno as well as NuVasive — Creative Spine Technology.
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It is with this, that High Fives Foundation is proud to recognize Dr. James Lynch as a recipient of the 2014 Community Five Award!
Tony Schmiesing, Berkeley, Calif.: A C4-5 quadriplegic as the result of the spinal cord injury suffered at a beach where he grew up and currently battling Syringmyelia, Tony Schmiesing's tenacious surf/skate/ski DNA has pushed him through all sorts of obstacles and has lead him into an endlessly beautiful life. Tony found a renewed love for skiing when he hooked up with the folks at Disabled Sports USA – Far West at Alpine Meadows, and the stoke hasn't subsided. This passion has equated to a unique perspective on life for Tony. He sees opportunity as a distinct possibility and in March 2014 his point of view was validated when he became the first quadriplegic to ski in the Chugach Mountains in Cordova, AK (thanks to Points North Heli-Adventures Inc.). From Berkeley, Calif. to Alaska, Tony makes his mark with his exuberant energy and smile.
It is with this, that High Fives Foundation is proud to recognize Tony Schmiesing as a recipient of the 2014 Community Five Award!
Galen and Shayla Gifford, Reno, Tahoe City: The CEO of bigtruck brand, Galen Gifford has developed a hobby project into a full-blown career, manufacturing unique hats that emphasize fun and philanthropy. Upon bigtruck brand's rise in the headwear world, Galen immediately made sure that a partnership and bond was formed with the High Fives Foundation. Be it hosting sew-on-site sessions at marquee fundraisers, producing in-line co-branded hats or donating $.05 for every hat sold online, Galen has seen to it that his passion has mirrored the philanthropic endeavors of the High Fives Foundation.
A senior mortgage officer at Guild Mortgage Co. in Reno, Nev. with over 10 years experience, Shayla is a driven professional who sees to it that deadlines are met and customers are beyond happy with results. When she's not passionately working on her clients' mortgages, you will often find Shayla immersed in the outdoors or helping her community thrive. Her expertise lends itself well to her logistical support of every project she takes on, including that of helping the High Fives Foundation continue to grow.
Husband and wife, Galen and Shayla Gifford are a dynamic duo who cares deeply for their community. This is shown time and time again by the support and guidance they both give to the High Fives Foundation and many other facets of life in the Lake Tahoe and Reno, NV areas.
It is with this, that High Fives Foundation is proud to recognize Galen & Shayla Gifford as recipients of the 2014 Community Five Award!
Andy Wirth, Truckee: The President and CEO of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, Andy Wirth is a man thoroughly involved in the Lake Tahoe area community. From the very beginning of his tenure at Squaw Valley, Andy immediately embraced the mission of the High Fives Foundation and took it upon himself to see to it that a partnership between Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows and the Foundation came to fruition. His ties to the High Fives Foundation as well as his commitment to the athletes it serves are not the only exemplary traits of Andy's; he serves or has served on the board of directors of executive committee of 11 organizations from Steamboat Springs, Colo. to Reno, Nev. His belief in progress through open dialogue, positivity and ethical management practices has caught the eye of many, as he is a much heralded community member in numerous circles.
It is with this, that High Fives Foundation is proud to recognize Andy Wirth as a recipient of the 2014 Community Five Award!
Grant Korgan, Reno, Nev.: After sustaining a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, world-class adventurer, nanoscientist, and professional athlete, Grant Korgan – who has never shied away from a challenge – refused to balk at his new reality because he still has a mission in store. By doing the hard work and tirelessly visualizing his progression, he has found the strength to rise and reclaim his active lifestyle by becoming the first spinal cord-injured athlete in history to ski 80 miles to Antarctica's South Pole (made possible by board-approved grants from the High Fives Foundation). Today, this High Fives Athlete is the emerging face of spinal cord recovery and heralds his message of choosing positivity through adversity so that we may all climb a mountain for someone we love.
It is with this, that High Fives Foundation is proud to recognize Grant Korgan as a recipient of the 2014 Community Five Award!
About High Fives Non-Profit Foundation
High Fives Foundation is a Tahoe-based 501.c.3 non-profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community. Formed as a way to "pay-it-forward" by the founder from his own recovery to help injured athletes, the Foundation has helped 58 athletes to date since its inception in 2009, more information visit http://www.highfivesfoundation.org.