Pleasanton Weekly

Opinion - May 20, 2011

Community of Character winners

Juanita Haugen, a nationally known public schools advocate and the longest-serving member ever of the Pleasanton school board, would be proud that the Community of Character program she established has become an ingrained part of our community. The program, established in 2008, recognizes those who consistently model high ethical and moral standards of behavior, including responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, honesty, respect and integrity. Mrs. Haugen died in 2007, but her Community of Character beliefs live on in the form of classroom instruction, on a plaque in the City Council chamber and on one-word banners touting each of the traits that frequently hang over the entrance to public buildings and at times under the Arch on Main Street.

Last week at a luncheon, the Pleasanton Community of Character Collaborative honored four individuals and a nonprofit organization with Juanita Haugen Community of Character awards for their achievements: Chuck Deckert, Ron Sutton, Joyce and Bob Shapiro and the Assistance League of Amador Valley.

Deckert joined the Pleasanton Jaycees because the organization was involved in a number of community service projects and he wanted to serve his community and make a difference. That led to his service on the Pleasanton Human Services Commission from 1988 to 1996 and more recently as Poverty Outreach Leader for the Catholic Community of Pleasanton, providing food and housing for those in need. Shortly after becoming a board member of the Amador-Livermore Valley Historical Society, which operates the Museum On Main, Deckert was diagnosed with leukemia. While undergoing treatments, he continued to serve on the museum board and later as a trained volunteer with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, offering his own experience with leukemia to support, encourage and offer guidance to those newly diagnosed.

Ron Sutton, the founder and chief executive of ACCUSPLIT, a stopwatches and pedometer manufacturer in Pleasanton, travels extensively on business yet finds the time to volunteer for projects with Pleasanton North Rotary and the school district. He even organizes and manages community service projects, such as the Ed Kinney Patriot awards, the annual Fourth of July picnic in downtown Pleasanton, Green Dog Rangers (a group he leads in picking up litter along public streets and in parks), and "World Walk to Wellness," which has raised more than $5,000 for the Pleasanton Partnerships In Education Foundation,

Bob and Joyce Shapiro were honored for their work on behalf of the Tri-Valley YMCA, Pleasanton Leadership, the Las Positas College Foundation, the Rotary Club of Pleasanton and significant outreach and community service programs in Pleasanton. They both advocate compassion, respect, honesty and integrity in their business, personal and volunteer lives. This couple shines a brighter light on all that is good with Pleasanton and all that is right for all of us. Both have worked tirelessly for nonprofit fundraisers in the community, and Joyce Shapiro currently co-chairs the YMCA's annual fundraising drive.

The Assistance League of Amador Valley consists of more than 80 women who are dedicated to serving their community. Formed in 1990 by 40 charter members from Pleasanton, Dublin and Livermore, the organization's goals have been to identify and fulfill worthwhile needs in the community through philanthropic programs. The organization raises about $40,000 each year from fundraisers and receives from $20,000 to $40,000 in grants from local businesses and corporations. The ALAV is 100 percent volunteer staffed and all funds directly benefit the community.

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