Described as unflappable in her dealings with the public, Pleasanton Planning Department Manager Janice Stern joined with two firefighters called heroes last week in earning community service awards from the Rotary Club of Pleasanton. The awards were presented by City Manager Nelson Fialho, a member of the club, who said the three exemplified the dedication of city employees who serve the community.
Two firefighters with the Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department were honored for their efforts in rescuing and providing urgent care to Josh Larson, who was critically injured on Boulder Court in the Valley Business Park on May 5, 2012. Larson, who was 15 years old at the time, was crushed when a chain holding a tractor that he and his father were moving into a storage unit broke, pinning Josh underneath. The accident occurred at 10 a.m. just as Firefighter/Paramedic Steve Lund and Fire Engineer David Bardsley were completing a training exercise nearby next to the city's Operations Service Center on Busch Road. Notified of the accident by a dispatcher, the two rushed to Larson's side, giving immediate aid to stabilize his breathing and then staying with the victim as an ambulance sped him to the Eden Medical Center trauma center in Castro Valley, where emergency room doctors took over. Larson, his family and the doctors credited Bardsley and Lund for "providing the highest quality of pre-hospital care," which they believe saved the young man's life.
Fialho also presented an award to British-born Stern, who has lived in Pleasanton since 1994 and has two daughters (one, in fact, named Pippa and the other Emma). Even though she moved to the U.S. in 1975, she still speaks with a strong accent, which Fialho cited as bringing a bit of British civility to a city planning job where "civility" is not always a description given to those seeking zoning changes and building permits. "She's so unflappable that I swear that if a group of naked clowns would walk through her office, that wouldn't stop her," Fialho said. That alone makes her deserving of special recognition that city planners seldom receive.