Community of Character awards fitting tribute to Juanita Haugen | May 3, 2013 | Pleasanton Weekly | |

Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 3, 2013

Community of Character awards fitting tribute to Juanita Haugen

In a fitting tribute to its founder, Pleasanton's Community of Character Collaborative has selected three prominent residents and a local service club for its prestigious 2013 awards. Those being honored at a May 16 luncheon in the Veterans Memorial Building are Pam Yeaw, a Pleasanton Police Department volunteer; Jim Ott, who started the Poet Laureate program in Pleasanton and is a former school board member; Tom Fox, a local Realtor who has traveled on 17 medical missions around the world at his own expense; and The Rotary Club of Pleasanton, best known for its downtown Spirit runs on Father's Day and Halloween to raise money for scholarships for Pleasanton students and to provide and distribute wheelchairs to the needy in Latin America.

Founded by the late Juanita Haugen, a long-time school board member and a nationally recognized booster of education programs, the Community of Character Award program was established in 2008 to recognize Pleasanton citizens who consistently model high ethical and moral standards of behavior. Recipients are chosen each year for their adherence to the principles the collaborative advocates: Responsibility, Compassion, Self -Discipline, Honesty, Respect and Integrity.

In choosing Pam Yeaw for this year's award, the collaborative cited her 50 to 80 hours of volunteer work each month for the Pleasanton Police Department since the Citizens Academy began in 2007. Most often she works patrol duty, which requires her to drive a squad car and write tickets for handicap and parking violations. Pam also works special events on foot patrol and spends time working with youths who have committed minor offenses. Yeaw has lived in Pleasanton for 32 years, where she and her husband have raised their children. She is a great example of a citizen taking personal responsibility to make Pleasanton a wonderful and safe place to live and work.

The Community of Character Collaborative chose Jim Ott for this year's award in recognition of his work in starting the Poet Laureate program in Pleasanton, where he also served as poet laureate for two years. He also served one term on the Pleasanton school board and has been heavily involved with the Pleasanton Partnerships In Education (PPIE) Foundation, the Pleasanton Youth Master Plan Implementation Committee, the Pleasanton Library Strategic Plan Committee and, for more than 25 years, as a member of the Pleasanton North Rotary Club. An adjunct professor of English at Las Positas College, Ott also hosts a monthly program on community broadcast station TV30 called "In a Word." Over the past five years, he has helped to raise over $25,000 for local school programs.

This year's award recipient Tom Fox volunteers his time and money to support those in need at both local and global levels. He has been a director on the Chamber of Commerce board and also its foundation arm, president of the downtown Rotary Club, and active as a church volunteer and a nationally recognized volunteer for Rotoplast, a Rotary-affiliated program. At his own expense, he has taken more than 17 Rotoplast trips around the world on medical missions. Fox also supports Pleasanton's Military Families organization.

This year's Community of Character award to a nonprofit organization is going to the Rotary Club of Pleasanton, often called "Downtown Rotary" and one of three Rotary organizations serving Pleasanton. The downtown club has been active in Pleasanton more than 48 years. The club's dedication to youth is demonstrated through its fundraising efforts that have contributed more than $320,000 in scholarships to over 240 students based on financial need. Each December, the club also serves holiday dinners to some 350 seniors.

The luncheon is open to the public with tickets costing $40. Reservations must be made by next Friday, May 10, and can be delivered or mailed to the Pleasanton Chamber or Commerce, 777 Peters Ave., Pleasanton, CA 94566 or the Community of Character, P.O. Box 21, Pleasanton, CA 94566.


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