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2013 Community of Character Awards

Juanita Haugen's spirit lives on in awards, Community members lauded for their contributions

by Dolores Fox Ciardelli, Pleasanton Weekly Staff


Good feelings filled the Veterans Memorial Building last Thursday as people gathered to support the values promoted by longtime school board member Juanita Haugen, who died in 2007 after a two-year fight against cancer.

The seventh annual Community of Character Luncheon and Awards Ceremony celebrated Pleasanton residents who practice the group's heralded traits: responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, honesty, respect and integrity.

The program was founded in 2002 under the direction of Haugen and is supported by the city, the school district, the Chamber of Commerce and service and faith groups.The awards ceremony, emceed by board member Kelly O'Lague Dulka, began with a musical performance by Don Lewis of "The Power of a Dream" as a tribute to community activist Jack Dove, who died April 24.This year's award recipients were Tom Fox, Jim Ott, Pam Yeaw and the Rotary Club of Pleasanton.

Pam Yeaw does 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.

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.

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.

The Rotary Club of Pleasanton’s impact on the community has been huge over the years from planting hundreds of trees throughout the city including the Sports Park, funding and working on Arroyo Green on Main, and contributing time and money to the Pleasanton Centennial Pillars located at the south-west end of Main Street.

The club’s dedication to youth is demonstrated by our fundraising through the Annual Father’s Day Run and having awarded over $350,000 in scholarships to over 256 students based on financial need during the last 20 years.  We work with youth through the Interact Club at Amador Valley High School and recognize academic and character achievement through Student of the Month awards to both Amador and Village High School Students.  Most recently, our club partnered with the Pleasanton Unified School District to buy a new dishwasher for the highly successful Culinary Program at Village High School and contributed to the Amador Civics Team’s trip to “We the People” in Washington DC.

The Rotary Club of Pleasanton is dedicated to respecting and helping Pleasanton’s Seniors.  Each December we serve a holiday dinner complete with entertainment to about 350 seniors.  Each spring (April 20th this year) we work with the Senior Center to identify seniors who need a helping hand with “Spring Cleaning.”  Enlisting the assistance of the Interact Club and Boy Scout Troop 911 (who we chartered,) the club goes to the senior’s houses to do yard clean up, wash windows, change fire alarm batteries and other tasks that need to be done.

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