4 selected for Community of Character award | May 2, 2014 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - May 2, 2014

4 selected for Community of Character award

3 people, Lynnewood Methodist Church chosen for honor at May 14 ceremony

by Jeb Bing

Three individuals and Lynnewood United Methodist Church will be honored May 14 as this year's recipients of the Juanita Haugen Community of Character award.

The annual award is named for Haugen, co-founder of the Community of Character program and a longtime member of the Pleasanton school board, who died in 2007. The award recognizes citizens and a nonprofit organization exhibiting outstanding volunteer service in Pleasanton while also displaying the community-accepted traits of responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, honesty, respect and integrity.

Lynnewood Methodist is being 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 had overloaded lemon and orange trees, volunteers from the church picked 300 pounds of the citrus fruit and delivered them to Open Heart Kitchen.

In partnership with Axis, church members create "Bundles of Joy" supplies for newborns whose families are needy.

A recent project has been "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.

With other United Methodist churches, Lynnewood also has worked to renovate a Livermore thrift store to benefit Tri-Valley Haven, and also with Habitat for Humanity and the Greater Richmond Inter-Faith program.

Individuals who will receive the Juanita Haugen Community of Character award are Brad Hirst, Emily Scholz and Bob Williams.

Since moving to Pleasanton in 1967, Hirst has been involved in thousands of hours of community service. 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.

Hirst 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 he has long been active in chamber activities and the Rotary Cub of Pleasanton, where he is a member.

In 1995, Hirst received the Mayor's Award and for more than two decades, was on the board of directors for the George A. Spiliotopoulos Invitational (Golf) Tournament (GASIT), which provided scholarships for local high school students.

Scholz will receive 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, nonprofits couldn't exist, and, frankly, our community couldn't survive," said Melanie Sadek, executive director of the Valley Humane Society.

Also receiving the Juanita Haugen Community of Character award May 14 will be 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.

He has personally invested in many of the 75 sets of sheet music for more than 5,000 pieces, which he stores on a series of movable shelves, each weighing 750 pounds.

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.

The Community of Character luncheon will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 14 at the Ruby Hill Golf Club. The cost is $40. Table sponsorships for eight are available for $500. The deadline for reservations is next Friday, May 9. To make reservations, register at the Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce website at www.pleasanton.org.

For more information, contact Heather Haugen Rizzoli at 321-6449 or sign on to the Community of Character website at communityofcharacter.org.


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