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2008 Community of Character Awards

First-ever Juanita Haugen Award Winners Announced


(Pleasanton, June 3, 2008)  The Pleasanton Community of Character Collaborative announced today that two awards were handed out at its annual luncheon Thursday, May 29, 2008.  Long-time school volunteer Lori Rice was one recipient of the recently established Juanita Haugen Award, the other went to Diana and Howard Mendenhall for their volunteer work in Pleasanton and around the world. 

The awards were presented by Pleasanton Vice-Mayor Jerry Thorne.

The Haugen Civic Engagement Award, named in honor of Pleasanton Unified School District Board Member Juanita Haugen and co-founder of the Community of Character program, annually recognizes a citizen who displays sensitivity to relevant social issues and exhibits the kinds of behaviors the Collaborative advocates: Responsibility, Compassion, Self Discipline, Honesty, Respect and Integrity.

Diana & Howard Mendenhall have been active locally for almost 20 years.  Diana has volunteered at Valley Care Hospital serving as Director of the gift shop.  Both have given countless hours to Friends of the Library and the Pleasanton Presbyterian Church.  The Mendenhalls are also very active in Habitat for Humanity having made 5 trips to New Orleans to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina. 

They have also served on international Habitat for Humanity teams in Poland, Armenia, Ecuador, Romania and Mongolia.  Indeed their son Mathew accepted the Haugen award because Dina and Howard were away volunteering with a Habitat for Humanity mission in Macedonia.

Mary Ellen Huey nominated the Mendenhalls for the award noting the couple have been caring for aging parents for over 15 years, “yet they always have time to assist in driving unrelated elderly residents in Pleasanton to medical appointments, deliver home cooked meals and perform home repairs and yard work.”


Lori Rice has volunteered in Pleasanton schools for some 14 years – from preschool to elementary and from middle school to high school.  She was actively involved in passing the school facilities bond measure and helped raised money for a teacher lacking funds for medical expenses.  She also raised over $250,000 for the athletic program at Amador High School as the first woman president of the Athletic Boosters Club.  Rice also serves on the Board of Directors of the Valley Humane Society.

In nominating Rice for the Award, Dawn Barraza said, “Her enthusiasm is contagious and she is a role model for her family and friends.”

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