Three individuals and Lynnewood United Methodist Church have been honored as this year's recipients of the Juanita Haugen Community of Character award.
The award, presented annually, is named for Juanita Haugen, co-founder of the Community of Character program and a long-time member of the Pleasanton school board, who died in 2007.
The award recognizes citizens and a non-profit organization exhibiting outstanding volunteer service in Pleasanton while also displaying the community-accepted traits of Responsibility, Compassion, Self-Discipline, Honesty, Respect and Integrity.
Lynnewood United Methodist was honored for its Outreach Committee that works with Open Heart Kitchen and Axis Community Health to serve those in need. Recently when a church member found his fruit trees were overloaded with lemons and oranges, volunteers from the church picked 300 pounds of the citrus fruit and delivered them to Open Heart Kitchen.
In partnership with Axis, church members also create "Bundles of Joy" supplies for newborns whose families are needy. A recent project was "Stop Hunger Now," which involved packaging 10,000 nutritious meals for hungry people around the world. Locally, church members have volunteered to sort food at the Alameda County Community Food Bank.
Individuals who received the Juanita Haugen Community of Character award were Brad Hirst, Emily Scholz and Bob Williams.
Hirst has been involved in thousands of hours of community service since moving to Pleasanton in 1967. He helped Pleasanton celebrate its 75th anniversary and was instrumental in having several locations designated as historical sites, including the Pleasanton Hotel, the church on the corner of Second and Neal streets, the former train station and the bandstand in Lions Wayside Park.
He also was part of Pleasanton's General Plan review in 1968, served on the planning commission from 1969-72 and on the Economic Development Committee from 1992-2000. He was chairman of the Chamber of Commerce in 1976, when the chamber's Foundation was created and has long been active in both chamber activities and the Rotary Club of Pleasanton, where he is a member.
Emily Scholz received the Juanita Haugen Community of Character award for her volunteer work at the Valley Humane Society. She devotes 6-10 hours a week at VHS where she trains all front-office volunteers and serves as an adoption counselor, helping match up people with pets available for adoption. One specialty of Scholz's is writing grants. Due to her efforts, VHS has been awarded over $50,000 this past year through a Maddie's Fund Treatable Program Grant.
"Without the unwavering dedication Emily embodies, non-profits couldn't exist, and, frankly, our community couldn't survive," said Melanie Sadek, chief executive officer of the Valley Humane Society.
Also receiving the Juanita Haugen Community of Character award was Bob Williams, who has conducted the Pleasanton Community Concert Band for 32 of its 39 years. He was one of the band's original horn players when the group was formed in 1975 for the 1976 United States Bicentennial Celebration. The band performs 20 concerts each year for the public, free of charge, with the all-volunteer group practicing every Thursday at Pleasanton Middle School. Williams' home is the band's office and library.
Williams completed his doctorate degree at Eastman School of Music, where he recently established a scholarship to help other aspiring musicians.
Losing his job as a high school music teacher in Oakland for 22 years because of budget cuts, he started a second career at the General Electric Vallecitos Nuclear Center, where he worked for another 17 years.