This October we will name the seventh group of Tri-Valley Heroes, and it is a good opportunity to revisit why our staff launched this awards program in 2012.
First, let's define "hero." The image that immediately jumps to mind is a person pulling a stranger to safety, like what has happened during some of the horrendous mass shootings in recent months, or first responders putting their lives at risk to save others as wildfires rage around them.
These courageous individuals who put their lives at risk for the sake of others are certainly heroes, but there are other descriptions that accurately depict a hero: Perseverance. Strength. Character. Kindness. Conscience. Selflessness.
But often these words also describe heroes: Anonymous. Unrecognized. Unknown. Underappreciated.
Arlie Smith, a longtime popular greeter at the Danville Costco, was named our 2015 Role Model Hero for his work raising tens of thousands of dollars for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland, despite battling multiple sclerosis and cancer. Arlie choked up when he accepted his Hero award and left most of the audience in tears as he talked about not feeling like a hero but that he could be "a hero for the children."
Arlie died last November. At his celebration of life, his wife Shari spoke of how happy she was that Arlie was recognized as a Tri-Valley Hero.
This is why we launched this program. True heroes don't do what they do for the recognition, but these people are effecting change in our world and in our lives and they deserve to be acknowledged. Like Arlie.
We have begun accepting nominations at www.pleasantonweekly.com for the 2018 Tri-Valley Heroes awards in eight categories, open to all who live or work in the Tri-Valley communities: Arts and Culture, Community Spirit, Courage, Environmental Stewardship, Innovation, Rising Star, Role Model and Lifetime Achievement. The deadline to submit your nominees is Sept. 17.
We are also seeking sponsors; we cannot continue this important program without financial support.
As Arlie said at the 2015 awards presentation, "You're all heroes in your own way, and you walk around and you pick (people) up."
Be a hero and help us recognize those individuals and groups that are making a difference in the Tri-Valley and in the lives of the residents here.