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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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Legacies from well-lived lives

Uploaded: Sep 22, 2015
I am reaching the age where thoughts of legacy come to mind.
I wrote recently about the legacy that Alice Ann Cantelow left with thousands of women and children who have turned their lives around at Shepherd's Gate in Livermore and Brentwood.
And then there was the late Barbara Fracisco Mertes who was the driving force in establishing the Valley campus of Chabot College that eventually became Las Positas College. After moving to the district office, she won more than $100 million in competitive grants for facilities at Las Positas and Chabot. The celebration of her life will be Saturday at the college.
Last Saturday, I gathered with a number of people (almost all now in their mid- to late-60s), to remember the wonderful summer days we spent at Las Positas 4-H camp outside of Angwin above the Napa Valley. Many of the people were a few years older than me and none of my siblings (all younger) joined us.
The honored guest was 87-year-old Gordon Winlow of Pleasanton who served as the UC Farm Advisor to the 4-H program in Alameda County. Gordon was the glue, along with his colleague, the late Gladys Boone, that held together a remarkable youth program for a generation of young people.
Gathered around Gordon under the redwood trees behind the swim center in Pleasanton were adults who were celebrating and remembering lessons learned as teen-agers through the 4-H program that Gordon and Gladys led as professionals.
Personally, I learned how to speak in public effectively and how to work with and lead people. Those skills have served me so well throughout my professional life.
I hope as we shared that Gordon recognized just what a legacy he and his colleagues have left. It's similar to a school teacher who encounters thousands of students, but how often do they ever receive a thank you in later years.

Congratulations to John Sensiba for his selection for this year's Mayor's Award in Pleasanton. Also, plaudits to Mayor Jerry Thorne for a wise choice.
Sensiba took over leadership of the ValleyCare Health System board two years ago and has guided it through a change of senior leadership and into the Stanford Health System.
ValleyCare had been a stand-alone system since its founding in the 1960s, but the effects of ObamaCare and the challenging market made it clear to John and other board members that the model would not work going forward. The system had run in the red for the prior five years and lacked both the capital and borrowing capability for required upgrades such as digital records.
The board enlisted a consulting company to solicit and review proposals. John and the board concluded that Stanford was the best fit and the agreement closed this year.
His leadership was critical to ensure that non-Kaiser members in the valley have access to excellent health care.


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