You win some and lose some trying to help readers

Obviously, not every column gets results.

Michelle Obama blew me off. Someone acted on my column about Maureen Nolen. And auctioneer Guy Deiro seems to be operating mostly in California these days.

MICHELLE’S SNUB: After the first lady’s visit to Las Vegas on June 1, I asked readers what questions they would have liked to ask her if they’d had the opportunity.

Readers responded and I sent their questions in a June 14 column to the first lady’s office. And waited.

Then I checked with a White House media contact to see if the e-mailed column made it. It had.

More waiting.

I’ve given up. I can’t even get a response from her office, much less her.

Now I know how it feels when people complain elected officials ignore their calls and letters.

Snubbed.

MAUREEN NOLEN HONORED: A column about Army Reserve Maj. Maureen Nolen’s yearlong Afghanistan assignment served as a catalyst for a variety of honors and speaking requests since her return.

Maureen Kane, Nolen’s former teacher at the UNLV School of Nursing, said she was moved after reading about Nolen last October, and wanted Nolen to realize people respected her service, even if she faced an indifferent reception when she flew home to Las Vegas in uniform.

Kane acted and now Nolen has been nominated to become UNLV School of Nurses Alumni of the Year. In November, she’ll give the keynote speech for the Nevada Nurses Association. She was given a tribute at a School of Nursing Alumni reception. More articles have been written about her. The nurse has become a sought-after speaker.

Although working at the Harmon Medical and Rehabilitation Hospital as director of care management, a part of Nolen still wants to return to Afghanistan as a civilian contractor. Her military assignment began as a nursing assignment and ended as a teaching assignment to help the Afghans establish a health care system.

"It was my interfacing with the people there that was so rewarding," she said. "It’s the people who need the help."

After more than 37 years in the reserves, first the Air Force, then the Army, Nolen retired after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 60 while overseas. Her last day on active reservist duty was Memorial Day, when she went in uniform to services at the Southern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Boulder City. "How appropriate is that?" she asked.

LEAVING LAS VEGAS? Auctioneer Guy Deiro, who handled the auction of the late Claudine Williams’ personal effects in October 2009, seems to have moved on. The wealthy gaming figure wanted the money to go to four local charities.

When it was over, Deiro said the auction raised only $40,000 and that had been embezzled. He bounced one check to Opportunity Village and never paid the other three nonprofits.

In March he made good on the first check, but since then, nada. His auction business is in bankruptcy because he failed to pay The Venetian after auctioning off millions of dollars in furniture from a remodel.

He no longer has a business license in Clark County, and Las Vegas officials are still taking a close look at Deiro. While no action has been taken against his license by city officials, I’m hearing he might have trouble if he decided to become active again.

Deiro is believed to be in the San Diego area working with his ex-wife, Romy Ashjian, who operates LaJolla Liquidation and Auction Co.

Looks like Deiro is California’s problem now.

A BRIGHT SPOT: Claudine Williams’ privacy-seeking son Michael recently sent $50,000 to Opportunity Village and a "generous" check to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Boulder City, two of the four charities his mom wanted to benefit from the auction.

Graceful move. Mom would have approved.

Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and Saturday. E-mail her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call 702- 383-0275. She also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/morrison.

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