Henderson man’s charity recognized with Heart of the City award

J.T. Reynolds plans to make this world a better place by introducing young people to the outdoors.

“Our generation hasn’t been the best for our planet,” he said. “Maybe the next generation can do a better job.”

He recently was given Henderson’s Heart of the City Award partly because of his passion to take children to national parks or teach them about conservation and preservation. The award is given to a resident who has demonstrated acts of kindness or service.

This is the second year the city has given the award, Henderson spokeswoman Kim Becker said.

The city launched kindness initiatives in its recreation centers focusing on children in Safekey programs, Becker said, adding that “It spread from there.”

Throughout the year, children were nominated every time they did something kind.

“It could be seeing someone sitting by himself and coming over to sit with them,” Becker said. “It’s just little acts of kindness.”

Selected children are recognized by Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen.

The next logical step was to look at adults showing similar kindness, Becker said.

The city developed a “Be Kind” committee to oversee the process. Drew Stevens, who created the Josh Stevens Foundation, was 2015’s award recipient.

This year, the city received several nominations, which is how it came across Reynolds’ service.

“I was a patrol ranger for 23 years,” said Reynolds, who spent 40 years with the National Park Service. “Rangers do everything from law enforcement, search and rescue and firefighting. You name it, we did it.”

He spent the second half of his career in management, including the last eight years at Death Valley National Park.

When he and his wife retired to Henderson, they got involved with Lifetime Adventures, the outdoor educational component After-School All-Stars Las Vegas, a nonprofit that helps at-risk youths.

Working in Title I schools, he helped connect children with outdoor activities such as hiking at Death Valley or visiting Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area. Being from low-income families, most of these students had never had such opportunities before.

Reynolds also became a substitute teacher at the Inspirada campus of Pinecrest Academy of Nevada. He helped students gain an appreciation for Sloan Canyon, near the school.

“I’m assuming that’s how I got nominated,” Reynolds said. “It’s an honor, but I don’t do this for the awards.” Henderson City Councilwoman Debra March recognized Reynolds at the Color Me Kind 5K on Nov. 19.

To reach Henderson View reporter Michael Lyle, email mlyle@viewnews.com or call 702-387-5201. Find him on Twitter: @mjlyle.

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