The 31st Annual Mayor's Installation and Community Service Awards in Danville recognized dozens of people who volunteer in our community. It was one big thank you and made everyone watching feel proud. I went to see who were the winners and to be inspired by their unselfish acts. And I was.
It is good to know how lucky we are to have so many who do so much. I use to chuckle at Mike Doyle's designation of Danville as Camelot. I don't any more. We are blessed. There is no doubt about it.
The program started with the Boy Scouts Troop 225 color guard leading us in the pledge to the flag. Brooke Cleary, a very young girl with a powerful voice lead us in the Star Spangled Banner. Unfortunately, she was often off-key and mispronounced several words. An adult from one of our theater groups would have been more dignified. Brooke is not a Grace Leer.
As for the invocation please keep in mind that there is suppose to be a separation between church and state. So why did I as a Jew have to listen to someone praying in the name of Jesus Christ? Pair the pastor with a rabbi or find a nondenominational speaker who could be neutral and still uplifting.
On the flip side, Lea Kagel did a moving reading of her poem "The Test." She is talented as both an author and a presenter. It is nice that Danville has a poet laureate to bring some culture into our activities. Just the right touch!
To share just a few highlights: The exuberance of the veterans cheering on the people who supported their cause was delightful. It energized everyone and reminded us not to judge a book by its cover. Bob Storer and Newell Arnerich were great hosts but Karen Stepper had laryngitis and should have been excused. Mike Doyle got off track and rambled but he is so sincere one cannot fault him too much. Just shorter, guys, shorter.
I liked that we honored a senior from San Ramon Valley High School who was truly outstanding and a wonderful role model for her peers. Wish there was one from each high school-- spread the praise for our special teens.
But as lovely as it was, it lasted too long -- almost three hours. Brevity in describing the recipient(s) and only one designated speaker for each group would help a lot.
By the time the ceremonies were over, it was late and I was tired so didn't stay at reception in the library. I did go long enough to check it out. I did learn that the champagne-looking drink was sparkling apple cider. Alcohol was not a part of the celebration - fruit and small sandwiches were. It was very nicely done.
And the good thing -- it didn't rain.