POTTAWATOMIE COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – When the sun sets, the Oklahoma sky puts on a show. For those who are looking closely, another world awaits.
News 4 and First Fidelity Bank are honoring a beloved sky-watcher who shares his scope with kids and adults interested in astronomy.
Nick Lazarro is a volunteer board member at the Tribbey Senior Center in Pottawatomie County.
“He’s always been pretty involved, helping out around the center whenever” said Tribbey Senior Center cook, Virginia Gruwell. “I hurt my back in a car accident, and he would stay afterwards and clean the dining room for me. That was something special to me because I was pretty hurt. He made it possible for us to continue opening and continue to provide services to these folks out here.”
The Senior Center is a lifeline in Tribbey, 20 miles from a grocery store. They come for a hot meal, easy conversation, toe tapping tunes and a side of science.
“He always announces what satellites are going over and what comet you can see,” said Harry Shearer. “Any time there’s no clouds, he’s stargazing.”
Lazzaro’s work in the community is infectious. He organizes stargazing events for children and adults.
“I’m excited that we can Pay It 4ward to him and help him with his dream because it’s infectious,” said Teresa Camp.
“We want to Pay It 4ward and thank him for everything he does in the community,” said First Fidelity Bank’s Catherine Hamilton.
Bill and Teresa Camp nominated Lazzaro for for his out-of-this-world knowledge about astronomy and the many years he has spent sharing stargazing with the community.
“This guy is a true community spirit,” said Bill Camp. “He’ll teach kids at high schools and adults interestd in astronomy.”
“He is the kind of person that deserves this award,” Camp said.
Lazzro started peering into the heavens in the 1990’s, back when comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 broke apart and hit Jupiter.
“I was watching Jupiter when the largest segment of that comet hit,” Nick remembered.
Since then, he’s been sharing his view with the celestially curious. Galactic headquarters for Nick Lazzaro is Ten Acre Observatory across the street from the Tribbey Senior Center.
He will put his $400 toward a permanent home for his Newtonion reflector telescope.
A glimpse through the 20-inch lens is his gift to community members; a window through which we can all peer into the milky way and beyond.