The Tri-Valley Heroes panel of judges have selected the recipients for the 2018 awards, which are bestowed on citizens and organizations who are making contributions to better our communities and their residents.
This is the seventh year the Pleasanton Weekly and DanvilleSanRamon.com have recognized local unsung heroes with the award program.
The awards will be presented Oct. 22 at the DoubleTree Hilton, 7050 Johnson Drive in Pleasanton.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the presentations will begin at 7:15 p.m. If you would like to attend to honor a recipient, please RSVP here.
Sponsors of the 2018 Tri-Valley Heroes awards program are Monterey Private Wealth, Robert Half, Harrington Art Partnership, ChiroSports USA, Crown Trophy, and DoubleTree by Hilton Pleasanton at the Club.
This year's recipients are:
Arts & Culture: Eugene O'Neill Foundation, Danville. The Eugene O'Neill Foundation in 1974 saved Tao House in Danville, the site where the playwright O'Neill wrote his most famous plays.
Today, the foundation maintains a large O'Neill research library and produces artistic and educational programming on different levels including seminars, scholarly conferences and major theatrical performances. This fall, the foundation, Tao House and the O'Neill Ancestral Trust of Ireland have partnered to produce "One Festival, Two Countries," with festivals in Danville and in New Ross, Ireland.
Jeb Bing Community Spirit Award: Cricket for Cubs, Dublin. Cricket for Cubs works to build awareness of cricket, the second most popular sport in the world, and make it accessible to youth in the Tri-Valley.
The group organizes local, regional and national level youth cricket tournaments, partners with local community groups and municipalities to develop cricket infrastructure, such as encouraging the building of pitches, and conducts coaching sessions in the community and schools. They are currently supporting programs in San Ramon, Pleasanton and Dublin schools.
Courage: Sarah Banholzer, Pleasanton. Sarah Banholzer began treatment for leukemia when she was only 4. She underwent chemotherapy and several surgical procedures for 2-1/2 years at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.
When she was first declared leukemia-free, she began to hold various fundraisers to make life more enjoyable for other youngsters while they undergo treatment at the hospital. Now 16, Sarah has held five annual Be Strong and Give Back Happiness Swimathons, raising more than $50,000 to benefit the hospital that treated her.
Environmental Stewardship: Bryan Ware and The Crayon Initiative, Danville. Founded by Bryan Ware and his family, The Crayon Initiative has taken great strides to help keep the earth clean, while spreading joy to kids in need by providing them with an endless supply of free art materials.
The group keeps crayons from clogging up landfills when the turn into a waxy sludge that never biodegrades by collecting donated crayons from restaurants, schools and homes across the country. The discarded crayons are melted, remanufactured and distributed to art programs at children's hospitals across the U.S.
Innovation: Ruchir Baronia, San Ramon. Ruchir Baronia, a junior at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon, created an app that can contact family, friends or police in an emergency.
"The Rescuer" app can be activated by voice or by hitting the volume buttons in a predetermined sequence if speaking is not a safe option. When activated, the app will send an emergency message to your pre-set emergency contacts, along with your GPS coordinates and pictures of the scene.
Rising Star: Meachelle Lum, San Ramon. After her mother's death in 2016, Meachelle Lum started the Lum AVM Organization to continue her mother's legacy of "hope, support and happiness."
With the goal of raising awareness of arteriovenous malformation, commonly known as AVM, and money for charitable causes, Lum has raised over $90,000 to support causes ranging from brain aneurysm research to scholarships for women and children's charities.
Role Model: Doug Miller, Pleasanton. Doug Miller is a veteran who serves and honors those who serve and have served our country.
An Army captain and helicopter pilot in Vietnam who later retired as a major, Miller is known for making life better for active duty military members and their families at Camp Parks in Dublin, and for vets through the Army's Wounded Warrior program, East Bay Stand Down and many other organizations. He is also known for his leadership efforts in planning and completing the Veterans Memorial that was dedicated in 2016 in Pleasanton's Pioneer Cemetery.
Lifetime Achievement: Dr. Marshall Kamena, Livermore. Dr. Marshall Kamena has lived a life of public service, serving on the Livermore City Council from 1976 to 1985, including as mayor in 1979-80 when the city selected mayors from the council and again as elected mayor from 2001 to 2011.
The Tri-Valley has benefited from Dr. Kamena's vision and leadership; he is one of the community leaders who, in the early 1970s, put together a plan to start a public access television channel, which is now Tri-Valley Community Television, a government and public education channel serving the cities of Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton, known to the locals as TV30.