Published June 17, 2014
Volume 22, Number 6


Awards Honor Community Patriots

Ed Kinney 
Ed Kinney, former Pleasanton Mayor, and namesake
of the Community Patriot Awards

By Zoe Francis

One person can truly make a difference to an entire community.
That’s the idea behind the annual Ed Kinney Community Patriot Awards to recognize outstanding individuals who give freely of their own time to improve Pleasanton.
“The goal is to inspire and recognize,” Jerri Long, awards spokesperson, said. “The idea is to inspire by example in hopes that people who hear about what these people have done will say, ‘Hey, I can do whatever my passion is to make a difference.’ “
The awards are given annually by Make a Difference: Today and Always. It’s the umbrella group for a handful of community projects, including the awards and the July 4 celebration to which the awards are tied.
The awards, now in their 10th year, are in honor of Kinney, a former Pleasanton mayor and longtime emcee for the city’s all-volunteer Fourth of July celebration,who died of cancer in 2005.
“We were all so impressed with the kind of human being that Ed Kinney was that we wanted to figure out a way to memorialize him and to use him as an inspiration for others,” Long said. “The idea that Ron Sutton had was to inspire and recognize those who serve the community in an extraordinary way.”
Sutton is a local business owner and community activist who was close friends with Kinney. Sutton, Long, Kinney and a few other dedicated volunteers worked together on the city’s all-volunteer Fourth of July celebration held at Lions Wayside Park.
Each year, the two award winners are recognized at a private reception, but public honors are bestowed on July 4 at the city celebration.
“The big deal is we present them to the community at the Fourth of July celebration,” Long noted.
This year’s honorees are Eric “Otis” Nostrand and Bob Silva. Nostrand used his diagnosis of epilepsy at age 48 to launch a monthly group to provide support and education for others dealing with epilepsy.
The list of Silva’s community involvement is lengthy, including being a youth soccer referee,an active member of the Foothill High School band boosters and announcer for the annual Foothill Band Review for more than 20 years. He has served on numerous education and city committees. Silva also led the Hacienda construction team and oversaw development of the park’s infrastructure.
“One of the things that’s special about the award is that the previous recipients are the ones who get to choose future recipients,” Long said.
There were roughly two dozen people on this year’s selection committee. Nominations come from committee members because “people who are really involved in service know who else is really involved in service,” Long said with a laugh. “So far, we have had no lack of candidates.”
The key to all award winners is that they go above and beyond their regular jobs and commitments to help the community.
“So many of these are very busy people,” Long said. “They figure out ways to really pitch in and help in a huge variety of ways, despite being very busy with their day jobs.”
This year’s Fourth of July celebration at Lions Wayside Park, at Neal and First streets, is on July 4 from noon to 1:30 p.m. The celebration, formally called Celebrating Freedom and Its Evolution Since the Revolution, has the theme this year of Women in Civil War.

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