Promise Builder Award Winners!

Volunteer action is a hallmark of our organization, rooted in the belief that a small group of dedicated individuals can make a positive difference in the lives of our youth. To recognize the outstanding dedication and commitment of elite PYAC volunteers & supporters, our Board is very excited to unveil our “Promise Builders: Wall of fame” program. Each year our board will assume the daunting task of evaluating all of our supporters and selecting a “Promise Builder” of the year. A “promise builder” is a person or business that best exemplifies an unwavering desire to make a positive difference in the lives of the youth in our community.



2016 Promise Builder, Steven Kearsley

Growing up in Teton Valley Idaho Steve developed both a strong work ethic as well as a lifelong passion for outdoors.  He enjoys fishing of any kind, bird hunting in Texas or even an occasional snake hunt on the King Ranch.  After High school he had various part time jobs while attending college at BYU.  Upon graduating Steve became a CPA and went to work for Price Waterhouse and eventually at the Capital Research Group in LA.

Family has always been the focus of Steve’s life.   In 1964 he married his high school sweet heart Norma Jean. Steve & Norma Jean have been blessed with four beautiful daughters and 12 grandchildren!   

Due to his hard work and success Steve was fortunate enough to be able to retire at the age of 55.  Upon a visit to his daughter and son-in-law that were attending OSU Steve and Norma Jean found and fell in love with their family farm on Old Peak road.  While Steve’s plan was to “watch trees grow” we all know that he has been incredibly involved in our Community.  Steve was a member of our “Building on Promise” campaign committee to build our facilities and eventually joined our Board in 2001 and serving until 2013.  During that time Steve was fully committed to our mission and believed in leading by example.  While the Kearsley’s monetary generosity always went above and beyond, what always struck me was his willingness to roll up his sleeves and help our organization in any way we needed.  



2015 Promise Builder, Starker Forests Inc.

Starker Forest is the first business that we have awarded the promise builder award to and we believe that is very fitting as they were one of the first businesses to really believe in our organization and fully support our mission.  Over the past 18+ years we have established an incredible relationship with Starker Forest and their employees!   While their financial support has been very generous and greatly appreciated, we feel our relationship goes far beyond monetary support.  They have always given wisely, asked questions, and required accountability.  In addition to giving of their time and resources they have also encouraged their employees to be involved and to give back.  Some of the very best coaches, volunteers, and Board members we have ever had have come from Starker and for that we are truly grateful.


2014 Promise Builder, Peter Finn


Coach Finn grew up in New York and has a passion for athletics, specifically baseball and surfing.

Peter eventually travelled out to Oregon, where he moved into an OSU co-op house with 20 other folks and met the love of his Life…Janice Whittaker. The couple married in 1976.  In 1979 he started his business (Finn Construction)and in 1983 they started their family with the birth of their daughter Katie.  Kara would follow in 1986 and Michael would complete the family in 1991.   

All three children got to share dad’s passion for athletics as he became a volunteer coach for their teams through PYAC, PMS, and PHS.  Not only did Coach Finn volunteer countless hours coaching every sport and level that we offer he ALWAYS sponsored the teams as well.  Coach Finn was there to coach every child like they were his own, always wanting to bring out the best in everyone.  He understands the power of athletics and the responsibility that comes with the title “coach”.

We know he will continue his legacy of being a selfless man that always does what is right.  Our organization, our community, and our world is a better place because of Coach Finn.




2013 "Promise Builder", Tom Gerding


It was T Gerding Construction that built the PYAC building in 2000. The company’s reputation has grown over the years due to Tom’s honest, intelligent business approach, coupled with his compassion and dedication to giving back to the community in which he lives.

Tom served on the PYAC board for many years and is dedicated to family and their community.  Those of us who know Tom would describe him with a smile, as he is quick to make us laugh, guide us with words of strength and intelligence, and lend a sincere hand without a second thought. We would be hard pressed to find someone of more character while staying humble and true to those that are close to him.


When starting our capital campaign to build our facilities Tom borrowed a quote from the great movie Field of dreams……


“Build it and they will come!”  Boy did those words ring true!!!




 2012 Award winner is Gary White

Gary joined the PYAC board in 1999 with a primary goal of ensuring PYAC had more to offer than just youth sports. Boy has he been successful in helping to achieve that goal. While PYAC may still be known as a “youth sports organization” because it is those programs that are the most visual with in our community, those more closely aligned with our organization know that we are much more of a dynamic “youth development organization”! During Gary’s time with our organization we completed our capital campaign to open our youth center program, expanded our child care offerings to an all-time high of over 100 kids and developed a mentoring program for at risk middle school students! Gary took his role as a board member very seriously always taking notes, reading provided materials, and following through with all of his commitments! He without question had the biggest board member binder I have ever seen. For those of us who know Gary this is no surprise as he always does everything “BIG”. From his drink cup, to his OSU BBQ and as we all now know even his hair!!! I have always found Gary to be a very logical, practical and detail oriented person and so when I found this quote it reminded me of him….


“Start by doing what’s necessary, then what’s possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible!


2010 "Promise Builder"  Paul Mortenson


This year’s winner is not a coach, nor a board member yet he has had as much of an impact on our organization as anyone has. Starting as a member of our building on promise capital campaign to build our facilities he has established himself as our leading fundraiser over the past 10 years! Please join me in congratulating this year’s “promise builder” award winner…. Paul Mortenson! What I appreciate the most about Paul is his “roll up our sleeves and get it done” attitude. He doesn’t let what we can’t do get in the way of what we can!


"Imagination:  The ability to see, not what is, but what might be!"


2009 Inaugural “Promise Builder”

Kim Howard

PYAC Board President: 1998 – 2007

Volunteer Coach: 1997 – 2005


This year’s winner was a unanimous decision as his hand prints have been left all over our organization. Having had the privilege of leading this great organization of the past 13 years I have been blessed to work with several amazing folks. With that said if I was asked to list the top individuals who have impacted our organization during this time, the first name that would come to my mind is none other than Kim Howard. Please join me in congratulating this year’s inaugural “promise builder” Kim Howard!


"The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it!"