2015 Tri-Valley Heroes recipients named

Annual program recognizes contributions that benefit our community and its residents

The recipients of the 2015 Tri-Valley Heroes awards have been selected. In its fourth year, the program seeks to honor community members and organizations whose dedication to bettering our communities and the lives of local residents has helped make the Tri-Valley a wonderful place to live and work.

Awards will be presented by Embarcadero Media's East Bay Division -- which includes and The Pleasanton Weekly -- on Monday, Oct. 19, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Pleasanton at the Club, 7050 Johnson Drive in Pleasanton. Seating is limited. For information, visit the registration page.

The recipients in the eight categories are:

Arts and Culture - For achievements or contributions within the area of arts and culture: William Doerlich, San Ramon. Doerlich, a full-time real estate broker, was a member of the San Ramon Arts Advisory Committee for 10 years and was on the Board of Directors of the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra from 1988 to 2001, serving as president for two years. Doerlich has been a member of the San Ramon Arts Foundation since 2002 and is currently serving as its president, and has been a commissioner on the San Ramon Parks and Community Services Commission since 2013.

Community Spirit - For selfless, tireless and largely unacknowledged actions that have enriched or improved the quality of life for the local community: Ellen Aguirre, Guide Dogs for the Blind, Pleasanton. Aguirre has been involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind since the 1990s, and established a Tri-Valley chapter in 2004. She provides training, organizes outings and fundraisers. She has directed the Pleasanton Pooch Parade, which is a fund-raiser for the group, for the past 18 years.

Courage - For an act of bravery or for determination and strength of character to triumph over adversity: Josh Burger, Pleasanton. Burger has taken his debilitating illness and turned it into a tool for inspiration. Burger has Ateleosteogenesis Syndrome Type III, an extremely rare condition that impedes regular growth. Since graduating from a Pleasanton high school, Burger has used his condition as a way to discuss bullying, discrimination and fairness at Tri-Valley schools and churches.

Environmental Stewardship - For a group or individual committed to minimizing risks and conserving and recycling, thereby reducing the impact of our business on the community and natural resources: City of Pleasanton 2013-14 and 2014-15 Youth Commissions. After two years of collecting information, the Youth Commission put forth an initiative to ban smoking in Pleasanton parks and on trails because, not only is smoking and secondhand smoke a health hazard, but smoking creates a fire hazard and cigarette butts create an environmental problem. The Pleasanton City Council approved the ordinance in July.

Innovation - For a person, group or business who apply innovative ideas or programs to enhance the community: Dublin San Ramon Services District, Dan and Rosalie Gallagher, Dublin. Rosalie took the idea of providing recycled water to residents to her husband, DSRSD Operations Manager Dan Gallagher, who became its champion. More than 30 DSRSD staff members and their managers have been involved in creating and running the residential recycled water fill stations in Pleasanton and Dublin. Between the opening day in June 2014 to Oct. 5, 2015, 3,440 registered fill station users have hauled home more than 25 million gallons of recycled water.

Rising Star - For a young person 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: Christina Adams, Danville. For her Girl Scout Gold Award, Adams, a junior at San Ramon Valley High School, gave less fortunate children an opportunity to learn how to ride a bicycle. Then, through a series of events, raised over $7,000 and purchased bicycles, helmets, locks and other supplies to outfit 50 Tri-Valley sixth-graders with their own bicycles.

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: Arlie Smith, San Ramon. Smith, a well-known greeter at Costco in Danville who has multiple sclerosis and terminal bone cancer, has raised over $50,000 for UCSF Benioff Oakland. Smith was surprised last year when Costco customers presented him with a paid vacation. Instead of taking the gift, he asked people to donate to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, including UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland.

Lifetime Achievement - Recognizes an individual or group for contributions, leadership, enthusiasm, and tireless efforts on behalf of his or her community and neighbors: Tony Macchiano, Pleasanton. Macchiano has used his passion for barbecuing to help raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Tri-Valley non-profits over the past 30 years. For example, he has been barbecuing for the Pleasanton Tulancingo Sister City Association for more than 30 years; the George A. Spiliotopoulos Invitational Tournament (GASIT), which provides scholarships for high school students, for more than 20 years; and for the 100 Club of Alameda County, which supports families of public safety personnel killed in the line of duty, for over 20 years. Backed by his award-winning Lickety Spit BBQ team, Macchiano plans, shops, preps and cooks, and sometimes even serves.

This year's Tri-Valley Heroes sponsors are San Ramon Regional Medical Center; Robert Half; Monterey Private Wealth; Harrington Art Partnership; Phillip G. Vermont, Randick O'Dea & Tooliatos, LLP, Attorneys at Law; and DoubleTree by Hilton, Pleasanton at the Club.

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