Through the annual Teacher of the Year and Hall of Fame awards, the Education Foundation of Yuma County honors and celebrates those who invest in some of the county’s youngest residents. Although this year’s banquet was cancelled due to COVID-19, the Foundation is still finding ways to pay tribute to local champions of education.
With its most recent accolade — the Lifetime Achievement Award — the Foundation aims to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the educational efforts of Yuma County over a long period of time.
According to Yuma County School Superintendent Tom Tyree, no one was a more obvious contender for the award’s first-ever recipient than David Hossler.
A career lawyer and longtime Rotarian on the local, regional and international levels, Hossler was instrumental in creating the Education Foundation of Yuma County — upon whose board he served as chairman following its formation — and spearheading one of the area’s largest and longest-running events, the Teacher of the Year Banquet.
“Inducting individuals into our Hall of Fame is our way of recognizing the efforts of those who have historically provided our students with an outstanding educational environment in which to succeed as well as recognizing those students who, as a product of our educational system, have gone on to make valuable contributions to our community and the nation,” said Tyree. “David J. Hossler’s efforts in creating the Education Foundation of Yuma County and his many years of service on its board as a Rotarian make him a standout choice for this first-ever prestigious award.”
Hossler’s involvement in the Yuma community runs deep, tracing back to his boyhood when he took up a morning and evening newspaper route upon his family’s move from Mesa, where Hossler was born.
He went on to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson, taking some time off to serve in the United States Navy. After eight years in the service, he returned to the U of A, where he met his wife, Gretchen Hossler, completed a bachelor’s degree in business administration and continued on to the university’s law school to obtain a Juris Doctorate degree.
The Hosslers returned to Yuma in 1973 with their daughter Devon in tow and David Hossler began his career at the Yuma County Attorney’s Office before becoming established with the private firm Hunt, Kenworthy and Hossler.
According to his wife, Hossler’s return to Yuma marked a nosedive into community service. In addition to the Yuma Rotary Club and the Education Foundation of Yuma County, David Hossler served on a multitude of organizational boards, including the Yuma County Bar Association, the Sunrise Kiwanis Club and the Yuma County Association of Behavioral Health Services.
“Dave jumped in as only he does, full force,” said Gretchen Hossler. “I think he envisioned everything as ‘taking off.’ Anything that he was involved with, he expected it to be a huge success — and he worked to make it a huge success.”
And Hossler’s involvement with Teacher of the Year has been no different.
As the product of two educators, David Hossler was personally acquainted with and deeply passionate about education; alongside his roles as an active Rotarian and lawyer, he taught courses for Webster University, the University of Phoenix and Arizona Western College and coached the Yuma High School mock court team.
According to his wife, it was his first-hand experience that fueled Hossler’s drive to help create Teacher of the Year, which he was an active participant in until his health began to wane about 10 years ago.
“He’s taught his whole life and always felt very passionate about it,” said Gretchen Hossler. “He always felt that the hardworking, underpaid people in education needed recognition.”
In recognition of his efforts to recognize others, Hossler was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award last Tuesday by Tyree and James Sheldahl, board president of the Education Foundation of Yuma County.
“It’s a great honor, and he really deserved it,” she said. I’m very proud of him and I’m proud that the Ed Foundation decided he should receive this award.”