Pride in volunteerism was the theme of Tuesday night's mayoral installation and community service awards, as town officials and volunteers expressed gratitude for the altruistic nature of Danville residents. Twenty-five people and groups were honored with plaques for their service to various commissions, departments and valley residents.
"We're here tonight to recognize the many people in our community for what they've done to make our community a great place to live," said newly installed Mayor Newell Arnerich.
The town community center was packed with people for the 32nd annual ceremony, which ushered in Newell Arnerich for his fourth full term as mayor and Mike Doyle's 22nd year on Council. Newly elected Councilmember Renee Morgan was also sworn in for her first term of office.
"I've often said greatness cannot be achieved alone, it is the creation of many striving for the same goal. Tonight we have reached that goal together. And in the years to come I look forward to achieving more of those goals together," Morgan said. "It is with great privilege and admiration that I now give back to all of you as your newest councilmember."
The spirit of appreciation, caring and hard work was apparent in the vast array of award recipients -- which ranged from veterans organization supporters to a group of elementary school girls who gathered recyclables to support the Semper Fi Foundation in honor of fallen Marine Joshua "Chachi" Corral. The town gave three awards for volunteer of the year, eight awards of merit and three special awards.
"We never thought in our wildest dreams and minds that we would win the hearts and support of the town of Danville and other towns in the bay area," said Diablo Valley Flag Brigade's Bryan Welden. "That is a true show of support...and really says a lot to our service members, that they're welcome and they made the right choice serving our country."
The Flag Brigade was honored with an award of merit alongside Warriors Watch Riders for organizing Welcome Home ceremonies locally and regionally. The community center erupted in cheers as half a dozen Warriors acknowledged veterans and discussed the over 1,200 Welcome Home ceremonies the groups had conducted, including Chachi Corral's.
"When I brought Chachi home with my friends, I have never seen our community stand like that for one of our children and you should be proud of what you did that day," said Warriors' Spike Schau.
Veterans activist and Walnut Creek resident John Reese was similarly honored for his tireless work helping various organizations throughout the San Ramon Valley, as was the Veterans Memorial Building Development Committee, Community Emergency Response Team ham radio operators and Toolworks, which provides volunteer instructional leadership for residents with developmental disabilities.
"These are very, very hard working individuals. Each parent wants their child to be independent...families with disabled children feel the same way," said Vice Mayor Robert Storer. "Toolworks helps companies think of creative ways to use people with developmental disabilities so they develop confidence and independence."
San Ramon Valley High School senior Kate Steffy was awarded for her leadership extensive volunteerism, which included over 806 community service hours. Kate has volunteered locally at Glide Memorial Church, meals on wheels and developed a crafts program for seniors. Globally, she participated in fruit gleanings for the hungry in Africa as well as the Heifer Project, which works to pass along farm animals' offspring to needy families to end hunger and poverty.
"Kate's on her way to melding service through government and service thru volunteerism," said Councilmember Karen Stepper. "Kate, you exemplify this award and we thank you for showing others how to serve this community."
Danville Police reserve officer and Design Review Board member Marc Silveira was honored for donating an average of 600 hours a year as a volunteer, with more than 14,000 hours to the town of Danville since 1988. Organizers of the Adopt-A-Family bike program were also honored for their work donating bicycles to families in need, including 348 last year alone.
The fourth annual Michael K. Shimansky Community Service Award was given to six girls from Vista Grande Elementary School who showed that "kids can and will make a difference." Emme and Sydney Chu, Megan and Kaylan McCormac, and Ella and Honor Warburg donated $695 dollars to the Semper Fi Foundation after gathering and recycling cans and bottles from during summer.
"This summer was so much fun, I was so honored to meet the Corral family and help out in Chachi's memory," one girl said.
The town of Danville presented two special awards, the Danville Award in recognition of Leadership of the San Ramon Valley -- which has provided over 500 graduates with information, skills and resources to be community leaders -- and another special recognition for former councilmember and current District 2 Supervisor Candace Andersen. Andersen was honored for her integrity, enthusiasm and tireless work for the San Ramon Valley.
"I know where I come from and I was so well taught by my colleagues on the Danville Town Council, by the great leadership we have with (City Attorney) Rob Ewing and (Town Manager) Joe Calabrigo," Anderson said. "I will treasure the time I was able to serve this community as a councilmember and now as your county supervisor."
The nearly three-hour ceremony concluded with a bit of town politics from Mayor Arnerich as he assured residents that the town was barely changing anything in its 2030 General Plan, which has come under fire from local preservation groups.
"In Danville, anything we find that is handed down or forced upon us by the state or other local jurisdictions, we've figured out a way for the past 30 years to make it fit in Danville's unique way…and keep Danville as beautiful and wonderful a place to live," Arnerich said.
A complete list of winners, including service awards and honors for outgoing commissioners is below:
Volunteers of the Year
Parks and Leisure Services Commission award
Cindy Egan for leading San Ramon Valley High Schools' E2 (environmental awareness) club and encouraging environmental stewardship in public education.
Arts Commission award
Wendy Cooper for two decades of service to the arts throughout San Ramon Valley, including time as a board member for the Eugene O'Neill Foundation and as a member of the Role Players Ensemble Theatre Board of Directors.
Volunteer of the Year
Sylvia Simon for being the longest serving volunteer in the town with over 2,700 hours of time donated to helping at the town offices.
Jeffrey Jordan, youth representative July 2011 through June 2012
Bob Nichols January 2005 through August 2012
Tiffany Attwood (alternate) January 2009
Renee Morgan January 2005 through December 2012, Heritage Resource Commission June 2007 through December 2012
Four years of service
Doug McQuillian, Design Review Board
Marc Silveiea, Design Review Board
Paul Radaich, Planning Commission
Tiffany Attwood, Planning Commission alternate
Eight years of service
Lee Halverson, Heritage Resource Commission
Renee Morgan, Planning Commission
Twelve years of service
Celeste Evans, Arts Commission
Robert Storer, Planning Commission and Town Council
==Sixteen years of service==
Kevin Donovan, Parks and Leisure Services Commission
Awards of Merit
Warriors Watch Riders and Diablo Valley Flag Brigade
San Ramon Valley CERT communication team -- citizen amateur radio operators
Veterans Memorial Building Development Committee of San Ramon Valley
Adopt-A-Family bike program
Michael K. Shimansky Community Service Award
Emme and Sydney Chu, Megan and Kaylan McCormac, and Ella and Honor Warburg
The Danville Award
Leadership San Ramon Valley
Award of Special Recognition