Pleasanton Weekly

Column - June 20, 2014

Detective, sign maker win deserving community awards

by Jeb Bing

Two deserving city employees were presented with the Rotary Club of Pleasanton's annual Community Service Awards last week for what City Manager Nelson Fialho called their exemplary service.

The awards in the Public Safety and Non-Public Safety categories went to Gordon Cordova, who is the supervisor of the sign shop at the city's Operations Services Center, and Pleasanton Police Detective Matthew Lengel.

Cordova and his team produce all sorts of signage for Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore. Over the years, he has worked his way up to supervisor of the now state-of-the-art computerized sign shop.

Cordova's commitment and dedication to his job and the community are indeed noteworthy. Through his efforts, the Streets Division sign shop has not only saved the city considerable money on production, but has expanded its capabilities considerably.

The sign shop now supports many programs in the city, from the public library's summer reading program to the production and activities at the Firehouse Arts Center. This support goes beyond the city department as Cordova and his team also provide materials needed by the school district, Alameda County Fair and the Pleasanton Downtown Association.

Equally important are Cordova's volunteer activities. He's volunteered for the last 10 years as an assistant to the marching band at Amador Valley High School, Little League teams in Pleasanton and Livermore, serving as a volunteer for Hope Hospice in Dublin and Pleasanton, and in numerous services for the school district and the county fair.

As a qualified fly fisherman, Cordova has taught more than 500 Boy Scouts the art of tying flies, and also works with the Disabled American Veterans Fly Fishing program. He spends every Thanksgiving morning volunteering with the Open Heart Kitchen's holiday dinner for the needy, and he's also a coastal cleanup volunteer and provides help as needed in local cancer programs.

"Gordon has been a leader in the city's effort to inform and educate residents and businesses about the drought, dedicating whatever time it takes to make signs and banners for water agencies in Pleasanton, Livermore and Dublin," Fialho said in presenting the award. "He's truly a team player."

Detective Lengel was recognized as the 2013 Pleasanton Police Officer of the Year, chosen for the award by his peers. He is currently the most experienced and senior member of the police department's Criminal Investigation Unit and has demonstrated the qualities that Fialho and Police Chief Dave Spiller said make him one of the most valued members of the department.

"His inquisitive mind, his attention to detail and unmatched work ethic, coupled with his experience, make him an excellent investigator," Fialho said in presenting the award.

Over the past year, Lengel has been involved with every major investigation the department has faced. He was the lead investigator in last summer's home invasion where a husband and wife were forced at gunpoint in their home to give the culprits more than $40,000, which the husband had recently won in a local card room.

Over the ensuing two months, Lengel identified the suspects and coordinated with more than 100 officers from six different agencies to organize simultaneous search warrants at different locations, leading to the arrests of the suspects and recovery of evidence.

Besides his work as an investigator, Lengel also serves as an instructor and facilitator at the police department's Citizens Academy, Teen Academy and with various other community outreach programs.

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