Thumbs Up Award

In 2001, we instituted "The Thumbs Up Award". This award was created to honor an individual or individuals for their unusual and outstanding contribution to the enhancement of our area. Their contribution must be in line with our vision to support, strengthen & enrich the quality of life in the Los Gatos Area Community. Because of the unusual and outstanding contribution requirement, this award may not be given on a yearly basis.

2010  |  2008  |  2007  |  2006  |  2005  |  2004  |  2003  |  2002  |  2001

2010 Sue Shoff

With a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology earned at the University of Utah, Sue Shoff has worked as a teacher, therapist, administrator and consultant. In 2003 she began volunteering at Good Samaritan Hospital as a "cuddler" holding babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit when parents couldn't be there. Sue saw parents struggling to be with their babies despite problems posed by living far away from the hospital, lack of transportation and finances stretched thin by their babies' hospitalizations. Sue Shoff was convinced that many of these barriers could and should be reduced not only so parents could bond with and learn to care for their babies but also reduce the stress parents suffer when their babies are hospitalized. After 4 years of planning and development, in 2007 Sue founded the ACCESS program which has been serving 500 families a year since then. In November 2009 ACCESS was featured in the San Jose Mercury News Wish Book and in June, 2010, Sue received the prestigious Jefferson Award and ACCESS received the local HCA Innovations Award for service. The Los Gatos Community Foundation, Inc. would like to say thank you to Sue Shoff for her dedication to this project.

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2008 Paul Dubois

Conceptually, Paul is a unique idea man. See a need, find a solution, and follow through until the job is done. Paul's idea to re-light the Town Christmas Tree with energy saving LED lights was his way of helping Los Gatos go "green". With the monetary donations from PG & E, Los Gatos Lion's club, Los Gatos Kiwanis club, and the Los Gatos Community Foundation, Inc. Board members to raise the balance of funds has resulted in a more beautiful Christmas tree and an economic benefit to the Town for years to come. In 1993 Paul provided the idea and solution to raise an additional $50,000 needed to complete the Lyndon Bandstand and Lyndon Cupola in Oak Meadow Park. Not only did Paul conceive the idea of selling engraved bricks as the steps leading onto the bandstand floor, he found the necessary bricks and a brick engraver, he then stored the bricks in his garage until they were ready to be cemented in place and followed through with the numbering system so that a donor could easily find their brick. Two unusual and outstanding contributions to the enhancement of our area, Thank you, Paul.

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2007 Patti Hughes, Ted Simonson and Al Simons

Between them, Patti, Ted and Al, had over 100 years of combined service to establish the "Gold Standard" for Los Gatos High School (LGHS) administrators, teachers and students. Patti was awarded the "Distinguished Teacher Award" given by President George H. W. Bush. Ted was recognized as "Best Principal" during the 47 years of his tenure at LGHS. All three were honored at a Town of Los Gatos Council Meeting for their distinguished service in education and commitment to the success of Los Gatos youth and their volunteer services throughout the Los Gatos Community. Ted and Patti both have served on the LGCF Board of Directors as well as on the Beautification Committee. Thank you, Patti, Ted and Al.

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2006 Mike Wasserman

Once in a while there comes along a man that walks his talk, one that firmly believes that credibility is built upon sound moral principles, honesty and sincerity; Mike Wasserman is one of those men. In his 2005 State of the Town address Mike stated in part, "..."uniting Los Gatans under a banner of the simplest of terms, the idea is to gather all of the Town service minded organizations and individuals together, brainstorm our community needs, prioritize those needs, and then tackle them together." This is a grassroots effort to bring together Los Gatans focused on maintaining and improving community, building community partnerships, and fostering civic pride and is in full swing. As a direct result of Mike's concept and the effectiveness of Community Unity, The League of Calif. Cities presented the Town of L.G with a Helen Putnam Award for excellence. This award recognizes outstanding cities that deliver an effective and high quality of service to residents and was given in the category of Enhancing Public Trust, Ethics and Community Involvement. Thank you, Mike.

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2005 Bill Ulleseit

On July 26, 1970 a golden spike was driven into a Laurelwood tie and the new Billy Jones Wildcat Railroad (BJWRR) began and has continued operations at Oak Meadow Park and Vasona Park. The BJWRR is known worldwide - its story appearing in many magazines and newspapers. A record company recorded a song "The Ballad of Billy Jones" written and sung by the young people of Los Gatos. The BJWRR has been featured on the national TV news program "On the Road" with Charles Kuralt. From the day that Golden Spike was driven into the tie, a volunteer with time and talent to share, Bill Ulleseit, a Certified License Steam Engineer, has been the railroad's Chief Engineer. For some 35 years Bill has been instrumental in creating the joy that this railroad continues to give to the young and young at heart who can enjoy the thrill of riding behind a real steam locomotive in the park. Thank you, Bill.

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2004 Alan & Bonnie Aerts

Generous; willing to give or share; unselfish; large; ample. These words describe the outstanding contributions to our town of their hundreds of hours of volunteer service done quietly and behind the scenes by Alan & Bonnie Aerts. Their willingness to give of their time for the betterment of our community is unequaled. These words also describe their unselfishness with financial donations to many local worthy non-profit organizations. To further their desire to share this couple has created the Alan & Bonnie Aerts Foundation for which will allow them to broaden their scope of helping others. Thank you, Alan & Bonnie.

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2003 Mary Tomasi-Dubois

"All the world's a stage," according to William Shakespeare. The Lyndon Bandstand, topped by the Lyndon Cupola, with Oak Meadow Park as the backdrop, is Los Gatos' stage, according to Mary Tomasi-Dubois. As the Rep for the Friends of Los Gatos Community Theater, Mary has been on a crusade to bring community theater back to our town on a professional level. She reached out to the Festival Theatre Ensemble, a Shakespeare company and hence forth, our town will have an annual Shakespeare Festival. The shows and programs are aimed at the whole family and will allow the entire town to come together and experience things of a cultural nature. Thank you, Mary.

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2002 Joe Pirzynski

Service as Mayor of Los Gatos during 2001 that was so outstanding it was conspicuous in its nature. This typifies Joe Pirzynski and his desire to have Los Gatos "...continue to be the best place in the entire valley to live, work, raise a family, and experience small town." Joe brought back 4th of July celebrations to our Town, established the Los Gatos Film Festival with "Screen on the Green" at Oak Meadow Park, founded the Los Gatos Disaster Aid Response Team (DART) and was instrumental in the renovation of the Town Plaza Park. Thank you, Joe.

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2001 Brian Hinman

Brian was the first Thumbs Up Award for his outstanding rescue of the Alma Fire Station which was on leased land. The State of California Department of Forestry wanted to purchase the property in order to maintain the fire station and the only firefighting helicopter used against fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains. When negotiations for the purchase were failing, Hinman stepped in, met with the sellers and bought the property with the intent to lease or give the property to the state; certainly an unusual and outstanding contribution to the enhancement of our area. Thank you, Brian.