2014 Community of Character Awards
Some people live in a community all their lives and never get involved; others dive right in to community service. Brad Hirst is definitely in the later category, having moved to Pleasanton in 1967 and by 1968 already serving on the General Plan review – in fact chairing the committee for commercial/industrial growth. So it began. Brad volunteered hundreds, if not thousands of hours serving on such committees as Pleasanton’s planning commission (1969 to 1972) and on the economic development committee (1992-2000). He also helped the community to celebrate its 75th birthday and its 100th birthday. (He was chair). He also was instrumental in having several locations designated historical sites, including the Pleasanton Hotel, the church on 2nd and Neal Streets, the former train stations and the adjacent Gale Building on Neal Street. The bandstand in Lion’s Wayside Park and the patio area of the Century House where a time capsule is buried, awaiting opening in 2076 have also been designated historical sites. Brad is a businessman and has served as president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1997 and has been active with the chamber for many years. During his Chamber presidency he established the Chamber of Commerce Foundation. He has been active with Pleasanton Leadership program and has been a Pleasanton Downtown Rotary member for over 25 years. He was given the Mayor’s Award in 1995. One of the first friends Brad made after moving here was George Spiliotopoulos, then owner of the Cheese Factory. George organized a golf tournament, at first to boost business for Sunol Country Club. The George A. Spiliotopoulos Invitational Tournament (GASIT) became an annual event, lasting beyond George’s lifetime. It has funded high school graduates to go on to college and Brad has been on the board of directors for over 20 years. In 1971 Brad and Ray Young established Pleasanton Youth, Inc. Their goal was to establish a clubhouse for local teenagers. When the public library moved out of their small headquarters on Main Street, Brad and Ray arranged to have the National Guard move the building down to Amador Valley Community Park. Today it is the site of the Gingerbread Pre-School, but for several years it provided a safe place for teens to gather. Brad later proved a similar place during the years that he owned the Game Station in town. Brad was a friend of Ed Kinney’s, and one of the things they had in common was that both were original members of the now – famous Balloon Platoon, a comical drill team in oversized sailor outfits that has been a successful part of parades literally around the world. Brad has marched in San Francisco, Washington D.C., France, England and Scotland. Brad has been a past president of the Pleasanton Rotary Club and is chairing the year-long 50th anniversary celebration of Rotary in Pleasanton Brad and his wife Sandra have been married over 50 years and are proud parents of Craig and Traci.
Emily is a young professional who sees the benfit of giving back to the community she lives in. She worka a 40 plus hour a week job, while dedicating from 6 to 10 hours a week volunteering. She doesn't go into anything with minimal commitment. She sets her mind to perfection and then works to achieve it. Those who visit Valley Humane Society would be shocked to find out she isn't a staff member. She is incredibly knowledgeable and thoroughly dedicated to our cause. She lives our values, as well as being a role model of the Community of Characer Traits. Emily has a heart and cares deeply, but does so with the utmost professionalism. She deals with complicated situations by maintaining her integrity and that of Valley Humane Society.
Emily works in the front office and assists staff, volunteers and visitors. She is the staff's "go to" volunteer. She leads the documentation process of our Treatable Program Grant. Because of her diligent nature, VHS brought in more than $50,000 through the grant last year. Emily makes a committment and follows through. She is a role model for other volunteers. Without the unwavering dedication Emily embodies, non-profits couldn't exist and frankly our community couldn't surive. Anyone who speaks to Emily will learn quickly that she feels and gets more out of volunteering than she gives.
Bob Williams is Pleasanton’s own Music Man, having been a teacher, musician, and –most notably – conductor of the Pleasanton Community Concert Band for 32 of its 39 years. In fact, Williams was one of the band’s original horn players when the group was formed in 1975 for the 1976 United States Bicentennial Celebration. He took the conductor’s baton in 1978-82, then again in 1989 to the present time. The band performs up to 20 concerts each year for the public, free of charge.
In addition, the all-volunteer group practices every Thursday at Pleasanton Middle School. Williams’ home is the band’s office and library. He has personally invested in many of the more than 3,000 pieces. These he stores on a series of movable shelves, each weighing several hundred pounds. Williams is able to locate the perfect piece of music for just about any occasion. He uses his personal library of 200+ compact discs and 1,000 records to help acquaint band members with each new addition to their repertoire. At every concert, audience members are treated to Williams’ fun and insightful comments on the program being presented. For over a decade, Williams has created historically appropriate programs for “Celebrating Freedom and its Evolution since the Revolution,” the community’s midday Fourth of July celebration held in Lions Wayside Park. Besides seasonal concerts at the Firehouse Arts Center, Williams conducts the band’s performances for Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebrations, and many civic affairs and functions.Williams began music lessons at age 5, continuing through college and his military service. He completed his graduate studies at the prestigious Eastman School of Music, where he recently established a scholarship to help other aspiring musicians. Williams inspired students in his music classes for 22 years, ending in Oakland. When budget cuts were eliminating music programs, he began a second, 17-year career at General Electric Vallecitos Nuclear Center. Williams has quietly donated to many local non-profit organizations over the years, with his gifts being doubled by G.E. with matching funds.
Lynnewood United Methodist Church
Lynnewood United Methodist's Outreach Committee organizes monthly opportunities for service in the community. They believe that the most important teaching of Jeus is to love your God and to love your neighbor, and that we should accept and help all people.
Lynnewood United Methodist was one of the organizations which helped to found Open Heart Kitchen in the Tri-Valley, which provides food for the needy and elderly. the church organizes and runs the "Bundles of Joy" program, providing newborn kits for the needy, working with Axis Health. They work with "Stop Hunger Now", which is a project to fund and package 10,000 meals for hungry people around the world. Other local projects include Tri-Valley Haven, Habitat for Humanity and the Greater Richmond Inter-Faith program. They collect student backpacks and fill them for the start of school in the fall and sort food at the Alameda County Community Food Bank. They banded together with other United Methodist churches to take on a project to renovate a thrift store in Livermore for Tri-Valley Haven. One of the church members had overloaded orange and lemon trees, and several youth and adults picked 300 pounds and delivered them to Open Heart Kitchen.
These activities show a dedication to serving the needs of the community and providing volunteer opportunities for their members. Serving those in need such as needy children, mothers and the elderly helps build a stronger community.