The Danville Town Council and scores of residents honored key local contributors and celebrated as Councilman Robert Storer took the mayoral helm Tuesday night during the yearly mayor's installation and community service awards presentation.
"I welcome this opportunity more than I can possibly put into words. I wish I had a better command of the English language because this is absolutely amazing," the new mayor said to more than 200 people gathered inside the Danville Community Center for the nearly three-hour event.
This marks Storer's first turn as Danville mayor. He served as the town's most recent vice mayor, under outgoing mayor Newell Arnerich.
"It has been an honor," Arnerich said shortly before the annual council reorganization Tuesday. "It doesn't get better than this ... Everything that you touch and feel is created by local government."
The vote was unanimous to appoint Storer as mayor for the next year.
"Many of my friends have asked me, 'What are you going to do (as mayor),'" Storer said. "Danville has become a model of what a successful community looks like, a successful community where the bar has been set so extraordinarily high that, in my opinion, you stay the course. You stay with what made you successful, and you grow intelligently."
A former town planning commissioner, Storer joined the council in October 2009, having been appointed to complete the unexpired term of late Councilman Michael Shimansky.
Storer was selected to serve a full four-year term in 2010, when the council opted to make direct appointments and forgo an election after Storer and sitting Councilwoman Karen Stepper were the only candidates who filed papers that year to fill two openings on the dais. His current term expires in 2014.
The council also voted unanimously Tuesday to name Councilman Mike Doyle as the new vice mayor. Doyle has served on the council since 1991.
Before naming the new mayor and vice mayor, council members spent roughly two hours recognizing more than two dozen community figures while distributing the town's annual service awards.
The Danville Award
The night's highest honor, acknowledging the efforts of an organization that best embodies the town's spirit of volunteerism and community, went to the Role Players Ensemble.
Arnerich lauded the theater group for presenting "extraordinary things that made us laugh and made us cry and made us think and made us wonder what would be next" over its 26-year history.
"This is very, very much a surprise," Role Players Ensemble president Florence McAuley said of the award. "I am so proud of what we do … We provide professional, high-quality theater for this community."
Award of Special Recognition
David Miller was honored for organizing the annual Danville Hot Summer Nights Hot Rod and Classic Car Show.
"I do it for two reasons. No. 1, I'm proud to be a Danville resident. And No. 2, I really love working with the people who come to the show and are part of the show, all of the volunteers," Miller said after accepting his award.
Michael K. Shimansky Community Service Award
Danville teens Madi and Kinsey Mascali received the award named for the late town councilman because of their commitment to helping their less-fortunate peers through Packs with Love.
The organization, founded by the sisters in 2006, has collected and stuffed (with school supplies) more than 3,200 backpacks for young underprivileged students in time for their first day of class.
"My favorite part about this project is how we stuff the backpacks with unique notes that have very inspirational and uplifting quotes on them," Kinsey said. "We've heard back from some of the kids, saying when they've had a rough day, they looked at these notes and they felt loved."
Awards of Merit
The council handed out four merit awards.
*San Ramon Valley High senior Hannah McAlister was recognized for actively volunteering, seeking leadership opportunities and working with children with disabilities.
*Lori Garcia, who is deeply committed to the fight against cancer and the search for a cure, earned the accolade for helping organize the annual Danville Relay for Life and fundraising for the American Cancer Society.
*Four days after the annual downtown holiday tree lighting, the council honored Susie Wingate for playing the "Snow Angel" during the event for the last two decades.
*Lee Halverson received the award for his years of dedicated service to military veterans and veteran organizations in and around Danville.
Volunteers of the Year
*Ed Angle received the Parks and Leisure Services Commission Volunteer of the Year Award for his continued support of and participation in Danville's youth basketball program.
*Arts Commission Volunteer of the Year went to Rick and Barbara Mahan for their involvement with the cultural arts throughout the community. Between them, the Mahans have sat on the Parks and Leisure Services and Arts commissions, served on the House Committee for the Museum of the San Ramon Valley and volunteered at the Tassajara One Room School House.
*Ricardo "Ricky" Leon was named the town Volunteer of the Year for giving his time back to town departments. Since April, Leon has donated more than 750 volunteer hours, an average of 20 hours per week.
The Veterans Memorial Building renovation was named Outstanding Public/Semi-public Design, Incontro Ristorante (at 455 Hartz Ave.) received the award for Outstanding Commercial Remodel, and Outstanding Heritage Resource Design went to the renovation and remodel of the craftsman bungalow on the Weinberg commercial development project on East Prospect Avenue.
The council recognized six people who finished serving on town commissions during the past year: Brigitte Bize and Rosemarie Hyatt on the Arts Commission, Scott Tinetti and Turner Stanton on the Parks and Leisure Services Commission, Randy Haberl on the Heritage Resource Commission and Lynn Overcashier on the Design Review Board.
Six commissioners received mementos for their years of service to the town.
Hyatt, Tinetti and Victoria Brooks (Arts Commission) were honored for serving four years, Jane Joyce and Stewart Proctor (both Parks and Leisure Services Commission) for eight years and Susan Ritner for 12 years (Arts Commission).