WITH GRACE, HUMILITY and her usual sense of humor, Patricia Stillman,
rode in a carriage pulled by a bicyclist in the Alameda County
Fair Parade on June 22. Sunol's 2002 Community Hero shared her
conveyance with Dublin Community Hero Richard Guarienti,
and reported with a laugh, "We're both environmentalists
and we enjoyed the fact that we were riding in a non-polluting
The Fair's Community Hero Program requires that each nominee
exhibit a community-minded spirit, be actively involved in community
programs, illustrate great strength or ability in a civic/service
effort, commit self-sacrificing acts for the benefit of others,
and be admired for his or her achievements. Local service organizations
- in our case, the Sunol Business Guild - make nomination forms
available to residents, and nominations are sent directly to
the Fair Board.
Pat fulfills the selection criteria in so many ways. A social
and environmental activist since her college days at Syracuse
University in the late 1940's, community activism is Pat's life
work. In 1989, when a fire devastated Sunol's downtown, she
helped raise money for several people who lost their businesses.
When a 2,640 home development was proposed for Pleasanton ridge,
Pat went door-to door with flyers in Sunol, inviting everyone
to a town meeting. When a sign-in sheet was passed around the
room, Save Our Sunol (SOS) was born.
Thanks to the dedication of activists like Pat and her colleagues
in Pleasanton, voters stopped the development project. Under
her leadership, SOS championed and won the restoration of the
Willis Polk Water Temple, damaged by the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Pat was also a member of the committee that drafted the language
for Alameda County Measure D, the successful open space initiative.
She regularly attends meetings at the tri-valley, county, Bay
Area, and state levels, and works at the Sunol polls every election.
With support from Bart, her husband of over 50 years,
and their beloved dog, Pudder, Pat is dedicated to keeping
the Sunol Valley an agricultural and environmental gem for future
generations to love and enjoy.
The Fair's Community Heroes were also recognized at a special
awards ceremony at the Fairgrounds after the parade. Alameda
County Fair Association CEO Rick Pickering introduced
the heroes and told of their accomplishments, and Livermore
Postmaster Bernard Gilliam presented each one a pin bearing
the Post Office's new stamp honoring the heroes of September
11. They each also received a commemorative plaque and had their
pictures taken with the parade's Grand Marshal, Bay Area baseball
great and humanitarian, Joe Morgan.
Many Sunolians may not be aware that Pat has been an enthusiast
baseball fan longer than she's been an activist. I suspect the
hug she got from Joe Morgan was the perfect finish to an exciting
day. Thank you Pat, for all you do for Sunol.
POSTAL THEFT ALERT: There have been several reports
lately of mailbox break-ins in Sunol. Such theft can be a very
costly nuisance. One resident reports that a box of new checks
was stolen from her mailbox and more than 25 checks were forged
and cashed before she discovered what had happened. Hopefully,
after filling out a pile of forms and making dozens of phone
calls, she will get her money back - a stressful process with
The deputy sheriffs she spoke to stated that identity theft
is the number one crime in our area and recommended using locking
boxes or Post Office boxes, and shredding all mail that includes
personal information - especially credit card offers. Sunol
Post Mistress Joan Hall is very concerned about the problem
and seconded the recommendation to install locking mailboxes.
She has one on display in the Sunol Post Office that sells for
about $20 in hardware stores and invites Sunolians in to check