The Danville Express and its sister publications -- San Ramon Express, Pleasanton Weekly and Dublin Tri-Valley Views -- presented their first-ever Tri-Valley Heroes awards Monday night as nearly 100 family members and community supporters cheered those receiving the special honors.
Gina Channell-Allen, president of Embarcadero Media's East Bay division and publisher of the Express, said the awards were a salute to the community members "whose dedication to bettering the lives of local residents has helped make the Tri-Valley the special place it is today."
"After fielding over 75 nominations, our panel of "hero" judges bestowed awards in eight separate categories," Channell-Allen said.
The Tri-Valley Heroes 2012 "Lifetime Achievement" award went to Robert "Bob" Tucknott of Pleasanton, a well-known Rotarian who has served as a community leader and past captain of the Alameda County Sheriff's Air Squadron helping support law enforcement. He also is a pilot with Angel Flight, which arranges free air transportation via private aircraft for those in medical and financial need so they can travel to access healthcare.
Others honored at the Tuesday night ceremony, by category, were:
* Arts and Culture: Jeff Seaberg, Danville -- Actor, director and children's theater teacher
* Community Spirit: Chris Miller, Pleasanton -- Pleasanton Military Families founder and veterans' advocate.
* Courage: Sandra J. Wing, Pleasanton -- Cancer survivor and founder of Sandra J. Wing Healing Therapies Foundation, which offers support to Tri-Valley cancer residents.
* Environmental Stewardship: Sustainable Danville Area -- Encourages sustainable programs that support a healthy quality of life and a strong local economy.
* Innovation: San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District -- Conceived of and piloted the PulsePoint cell phone application, which alerts CPR-trained residents when a person is suffering from sudden cardiac arrest nearby.
* Role Model: Cassandra Bankson, Danville -- Severely bullied as a child because of her extreme cystic acne, and now a professional model, Bankson is helping others who suffer from acne to look their best.
* Rising Star: Claire Williams, Pleasanton -- Created the Read-to-a-Teen program, in which teen volunteers help young students become more confident in their reading ability and build comprehension skills.
Heroes will be profiled weekly in the Danville Express through Dec. 14 and in the Pleasanton Weekly.