Our Town: Cubby the mascot joins exclusive club | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Our Town: Cubby the mascot joins exclusive club

Dan Thrift

Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Like most who land in Tahoe, Pedro Kinner, 58, came for the snow and ended up staying – for 32 years.

During that time, he has left a lasting impact on the South Shore, and recently, he received a big thank you. From his work on the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Commission to his role as Cubby, Zephyr Cove Elementary School’s mascot, Kinner says “it’s all about the kids.”

Kinner was instrumental in making the Kahle Community Center a reality while helping bring the Stoddick and Johnson Lane parks in the valley into existence.

“I joined the commission to help bring more bike paths to the area and ended up in ‘let’s build parks’ mode,” he said.

In 1993, plans were developed, in 1995, they were approved, and building began that same year. While doing this, Kinner had a young daughter, Karli, enrolled at Zephyr Cove, and he would volunteer in her classroom a couple of times a week. Occasionally, he would break out the Cubby costume for special events, and soon that turned into a routine of greeting students each day before class.

“I have to confess, playing Cubby was a way to keep from getting up too early for work. Brothers and sisters of students at ZCES get to see Cubby before they start going to school and look forward to attending ZCES because of him. I love it,” Kinner said.

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For his efforts, Kinner recently received the Jefferson Award, a national recognition honoring community and public service in America. Nominated by retired Zephyr Cove teacher Francine Hartshorn, Kinner received his award last week.

“He is incredible. He does all this volunteering without any thank yous. He’s very humble about his work, and he’s always there for the kids,” Hartshorn said.

In response to a question about the award and being on a level with other winners such as Barbara Bush and Bob Hope, Kinner replied, “I just do it for the kids.”

Here’s how he responded to the Tribune’s questions:

A guy with a passion for making good things like Kahle Park happen.

Finishing projects in a timely manner and not trying to gouge people to make a buck in a hurry. You’ll never get rich in Tahoe, but you get to live here – what else is there? Just one example, please: The parking garage is empty. Why not drop the price to the point that it is full instead of raising the price to keep it empty? OK, I said it.

Can’t think of a soul, just someone who can clean things up, bring the troops home and look into annexing Mexico and Canada, so we have a larger tax base.

Watching kids play soccer and basketball at Kahle Park and helping them get through those troubled years when there is nothing to do and nowhere to go, and being the school mascot at ZCES every morning (aka Cubby). It makes me feel good.

I would have spent more time with my dad before he died of cancer.

I guess I just said it, my dad. He worked every day of his life to make sure we all had everything we needed and even some of the things I had to have without complaining that he never had time for himself.

James Clyman. He married into my grandmother’s side of the family after guiding the first wagon train over Carson Pass in 1848 after meeting the Mormon battalion near the Humboldt Sink. Whenever I have time, I still dig up facts; he did warn the Donner party that they were too late in 1846, as well as discovering South Pass in 1823. I could go on.

Bill Gates, because I think I could convince him to look at the beneficial and green aspects of our Miracle Toilet Faucet, and the rest of the world would take us seriously.

Olympic gold. I have always competed by myself, and I’ve even done things that amaze me. It would be neat if others knew as well.

The fact that it has taken so long for us to realize that women can do anything they put their minds to, and we never gave them a chance to reach their goals.