Supporting the ‘core of the community’: 15 Minutes with Kenny Curtzwiler
Editor’s note: Kenny Curtzwiler is a long-time South Lake Tahoe resident and owner of K&K Services, a tree service and roofing contractor. He helped organize last week’s benefit for the victims of the Angora fire at the Meyers Downtown Cafe. Curtzwiler said the benefit and all the money raised was not due to any individual effort, but the result of the entire community coming together. He will be publishing a letter thanking all those who helped in the Kudos & Kindness section of the Tribune’s Community Page.
Q: You live here on the South Shore?
A: Yeah, I’ve been here for over 30 years.
Q: What brought you to the area?
A: I hitchhiked up here, and burned up all my clothes in a local laundromat and I had to stay.
Q: How long have you been with K&K?
A: I’ve owned the company since 1985. But I bartended up here for 23 years (about 19 years at Carlos Murphy’s).
Q: You and Billy Ramsey of the Meyers Downtown Cafe recently hosted a benefit for the victims of the Angora fire. How did the benefit come about?
A: After the fire hit, I just came in for breakfast one morning, I looked at (Billy), and we said, almost at the same time, “We need to do something for our families here.” That’s how it started. The whole community jumped in (on the benefit), especially the Meyers community. It was really good.
Q: You folks raised about $17,000. Where exactly are all the donations and proceeds going?
A: They’re going to the Locals for Locals, which started out with the (Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce) — the one that’s located over on the Nevada side.
Q: What, for you personally, has been the hardest part of the past few weeks?
A: I know everybody that was involved with the fire. And the hardest part was seeing, was just knowing that everybody lost everything. I mean that’s the core of our community. The core of our community is up there — they raised their families here, their kids have gone through the school system, (people) who own businesses, people who’ve been with the same company for 10 or 15 years — it’s the core of our community. They lost their homes, and it’s going to affect the dynamics of this town for the next five, six years.
Q: What, over the past few weeks, has been the most uplifting time?
A: The togetherness of the community. The way the community came together. I’ve talked to Red Cross people who have been all over the country to different disasters, I’ve talked with some of the CDF guys, some of the firefighters that come from all over the country. They’ve all said almost the same thing: They have never ever seen a community come together like this community did. There’s no other community in the world like South Lake Tahoe. I love this town.