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Ceremony honors Roseville men for helping kids, others in community

By: Brad Smith The Press Tribune
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The Placer County Youth Commission helped a group of young people say “thanks” to adults who made a difference in their lives – including three from the Roseville area. During the Community Hero Awards ceremony held at Rocklin’s Whitney Ranch House residential clubhouse on May 26, Greg Bomhoff, of Granite Bay, and Roseville residents Karl Dyer and William “Wild Bill” Hill were honored for having changed the lives of young people. The Youth Commission – formed last year to give young people a voice in county government and the opportunity to make the county a better place to live in – launched a program to honor adults who have done outstanding things and have had an impact on young people’s lives. “We wanted the young people to make the selections since it was their lives changed by what these people did,” said Andrew Burrows, a youth commission officer representing District 1. Burrows said area schools were informed about the heroes’ nomination process. “In time, we had several nominees to look at,” he said. “We narrowed it down to five people altogether.” Kara Sutter, one of the commission’s adult advisers, said hard choices were made. “During the ceremony we said that all of the nominees were winners,” she said. “But that night we honored those who really stood out.” Eight-year-old Jake Whittle nominated Bomhoff for his “Go the Distance” run that raised more than $20,000 to save Franklin School’s physical education program. “When everyone heard that we might lose our PE program, no one knew what to do,” Whittle said. “But Greg did something about it and he raised lots of money to help us out.” Bomhoff, who is a marathon runner, came up with a plan. “It was a simple plan and it required me to run around the Franklin School track for 24 hours,” he said. “That’s almost running 130 miles. It was crazy but I thought I could raise money and awareness at the same time.” Bomhoff’s run – held April 22 – garnered a lot of support and media awareness. And raised more than $27,500 as well. “I was just happy that I did it and helped the kids save their PE program,” Bomhoff said. “Then I heard Jake had nominated me. I knew then that I did something more than raise money for kids. I showed them that anything is possible if you work hard and never give up.” Brandon Kielty was in the middle of the Air Force’s basic training program when he heard of the community hero nominations. Tracy Kielty, Brandon’s mother, said her son dictated a letter of nomination for Dyer. When it was edited to Brandon’s liking, she sent it in. She said that Dyer, a Roseville police officer, helped her son at a time when her own family members said they didn’t have time for him. “Brandon is a smart kid but he did have a lot of problems,” she said. “After I finally convinced him to try Roseville’s Police Action League program, he went and met Sgt. Dyer.” Kielty had heard of the Grizzly Youth Academy program for troubled young people. Brandon wanted to go but needed someone to mentor him. “I asked some of my family to be a mentor,” Kielty said. “None of them would.” Dyer, however, said he would be a mentor. “Being in the academy really changed Brandon,” Kielty said. “It was the best thing for him.” Dyer said he felt he was doing what was best for Brandon. “I saw a good kid who needed someone to believe in him and push him at the same time,” he said. “Tracy was doing her best but she needed help. I did what I thought was a good thing and mentored him into the academy.” Now, Brandon Kielty is attending an Air Force tech school in Mississippi and furthering his military career. Dyer still talks to him every weekend. “I keep giving him the encouragement and advice he needs,” Dyer said. “He’s going to be all right.” Max Hill thought that his father, “Wild Bill” Hill, should be recognized for his charity work. “For the last nine years Dad and other tattoo artists have been holding ‘Tattoo-A-Thons’ to raise money for UC Davis Children’s Hospital,” Max said. “He’s helped raise more than $115,000 for the hospital. I just thought it’d be great if people knew about this.” “Wild Bill” Hill said he was surprised about both the nomination and winning one of the awards. “When I do my charity work I just think nothing of it,” he said. “When Max told me about it, well I felt touched. Fathers and sons sometimes don’t see eye to eye but we still love one another.” He said just being nominated by his son was special. “As for getting the award, well that was something else,” he said. “I like to think of myself as a big tough guy but after hearing what my son said about me – I got really choked up.” Tom Grayson and Larry Espedal, both of Auburn, also received Community Hero Awards for their work that night. Grayson was honored for his work as founder and director of Golden Sierra Life Skills, a program for improving parenting skills and reuniting families, and Espedal for his work as a youth minister at Bayside Auburn Church. ---------- For more information on the Placer County Youth Commission and what they do you can visit their website here: http://groups.ucanr.org/ceplacer4h/Youth_Commission/. ---------- Brad Smith can be reached at brads@goldcountrymedia.com.