If a city could have a heart, Boulder’s City’s would be broken right now.
Two of its most ardent supporters, philanthropists and activists are packing their bags and heading north.
By the end of the month, Jim Amstutz and Linda Faiss will be at their new home in Reno.
In fact, Faiss said that one of the reasons she moved to Boulder City in 1991 was that it reminded her of Carson City, where she grew up.
“Boulder City is everyone’s hometown or what people dream of as their hometown,” she said. “Now, I’m really going home.”
Both said they are looking forward to seeing the seasons change, being closer to family members who live in Northern Nevada and spending more time at their home in Lake Tahoe.
“The lake is my happy place,” Faiss said.
Amstutz said he has a lifelong connection to the High Sierras and said the move will give him more opportunity to enjoy one of his favorite pastimes: fly fishing.
The duo’s departure will be especially hard on those at Boulder City Hospital, where they have been instrumental in helping keep the nonprofit facility viable.
Wendy Adams, community events manager/foundation coordinator for the Boulder City Hospital Foundation, said their move away from Boulder City is leaving a big hole in the community that will be hard to fill. She said she also has a hole in her heart and will miss their friendship and working with both immensely.
Faiss has served on the hospital’s board and foundation for at least 10 years. Amstutz was responsible for most of the artwork and graphic design for the hospital’s community events such as Art in the Park.
Both contributed financially as well during the annual gala for the Heart of the Community Award, which Faiss received in 2014 with her late husband, Bob Faiss. She also donated the funds needed to renovate the waiting room for the hospital’s emergency room that was completed later that year during the $16.2 million expansion and renovation project that changed the entrance and registration area, physical and occupational therapy department and enhanced the gift shop.
Though their efforts on behalf of the hospital are vast, it’s only a small part of what they contribute to the community.
Amstutz, who has lived in Boulder City since 1998, was chairman of the Boulder Dam Hotel Association, active with the Boulder City Sunrise Rotary Club, helped coordinate construction for the Scratch House and served as the town’s Santa Claus for about five years.
Faiss has served on the board of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and was vice chairman of the Boulder Dam Hotel Association. She said she worked hard to make sure the “beautiful building” was saved before it was condemned by the fire department.
Although their paths crossed many times over the years, the two “didn’t even know each other well enough to send sympathy cards” after their spouses died, Faiss said.
Since getting married three years ago, they have been active with the Nevadans for the Common Good, where they have worked on issues such as education, payday lending, funding for Meals on Wheels and getting a handicapped accessible door for the Boulder City post office, as well as at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, where Amstutz serves as junior warden.
Together and separately they also supported many political causes and candidates. Whether you agree with their political views or not, you have to give them their due for following their convictions with action.
Though they are excited about their future, they are sad to be leaving.
Amstutz said he will be forever grateful for his time in Boulder City because that’s where they found each other.
“It breaks my heart to leave my friends. I can’t say goodbye,” Faiss added.
She also is sad to leave the custom home she has lived in for nearly two decades and shared with community groups and political candidates for special events. She jests that she will haunt the new owner if they put in carpet or drapes that block the views of Lake Mead.
But they said it’s time to move on, time to enjoy what they are calling their “fourth quarter” with hopes for plenty of overtime.
Now, as the former Santa heads to his home in the north — though not quite as far as the North Pole — he only has to worry about one special girl on his nice list.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.