"I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people." -- Maya Angelou
A hero is not defined by money or celebrity but by commitment to bettering the world and being a blessing to others.
Yes, a hero can be an individual who gives his or her life for another, such as our 2014 Courage award recipient Philip Scholz, a Pleasanton man who died after pushing a stranger from the path of an oncoming train in Santa Clara.
However, the everyday people who continuously serve behind the scenes but don't make celebrity status and rarely get recognized are heroes too. They don't do their good work for recognition or praise, but they deserve to be honored.
Every year our staff acknowledges these unsung heroes with our Tri-Valley Heroes awards program, and we are seeking nominations for the 2017 awards. In its sixth year, Tri-Valley Heroes is our salute to the community members dedicated to bettering the Tri-Valley and the lives of its residents.
Some of the past recipients are:
* The mother-daughter team of Heidi and Amelia Abramson of Alamo for launching the Bounty Garden, which donates fresh food to local food banks.
* Dr. Arthur Barnes, marking his retirement after 50 years as the conductor of the Livermore-Amador Symphony.
* Josh Burger of Pleasanton who, with a disease that made it unlikely he would live past birth and limited his growth and movement, is now a local public speaker and an inspiration to children and adults in the Tri-Valley.
* Rosalie and Dan Gallagher, Dublin, for the idea and effort to create residential recycled water fill stations that provided more than 25 million gallons of recycled water during the height of the statewide drought.
* And Arlie Smith of San Ramon who -- despite the fact he had been recently diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and kidney cancer that had metastasized to his bones -- raised over $50,000 for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland through a Costco store fundraiser that year.
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to Mike Doyle, Danville, 2016; Tony Macchiano, Pleasanton, 2015; Beverly Lane, Danville, 2014; Ken Behring, Blackhawk, 2013; and Robert "Bob" Tucknott, Pleasanton, 2012.
This year, we are looking for Heroes nominees in these categories:
Arts and Culture: For acknowledgment/recognition of achievements or contributions within the area of arts and culture.
Community Spirit: For selfless, tireless and largely unacknowledged actions that have enriched or improved the quality of life for the local community.
Courage: For an act of bravery or for determination and strength of character to triumph over adversity.
Environmental Stewardship: For a group or individual committed to minimizing risks and conserving and recycling, thereby reducing the impact on natural resources.
Innovation: For a person, group or business who applies innovative ideas or programs to enhance the community.
Rising Star: An individual between 10 and 18 years old whose services directly benefit Tri-Valley citizens through outstanding volunteer work, serving as a community role model and mentor or demonstrating random acts of kindness.
Role Model: For displaying common sense, compassion and wisdom while teaching, coaching and mentoring others with a vision for people to strive to be the best they can be.
Lifetime Achievement: Recognizes an individual or group for contributions, leadership, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts on behalf of his or her community and neighbors.
Individuals who live or work in Pleasanton, Dublin, San Ramon, Danville, Alamo or Livermore are eligible, as are organizations and businesses headquartered in these communities. If you know a person, organization or group deserving of recognition, fill out the nomination form here. Nominations are due Sept. 18.