Midtown Palo Alto resident Annette Glanckopf Ashton will receive the 13th Senate District Community Champion award on Jan. 11 for her tireless work toward community disaster preparedness and bringing the community together, State Senator Jerry Hill's office said.
Hill will honor Ashton for her efforts in organizing the Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN) association, and for her commitment to disaster preparedness. The honor is given to residents who have "gone the extra mile" to serve their communities and bring people together, Hill's office said.
He will present the certificate to Ashton during the next "Java With Jerry" constituent event on Saturday, Jan. 11 from 9 to 10:30 a.m., at Printers Cafe, 320 S. California Ave. in Palo Alto. Mark Flegel of Flegel's Furniture in Menlo Park will also be honored as 13th Senate District Small Business of the Year for 2014. The event is open to the public.
Ashton has long been an advocate for neighborhood disaster preparedness. She is a founder of Palo Alto Neighborhoods and spearheads its effort to develop block- and neighborhood-preparedness coordinators, who are trained in communications and basic first aid. The neighborhood groups have become the backbone of the City of Palo Alto's Office of Emergency Services, helping coordinate communications and community aid during a disaster.
Palo Alto Vice Mayor Nancy Shepherd said that Hill picked the right person to represent a Palo Alto community champion. She met Ashton when the latter was on the board of Leadership Mid-Peninsula, now Leadership Palo Alto.
Ashton is "very steadfast in her commitment to civic engagement," particularly when it comes to uniting professionals on the city staff and community volunteers around an idea, Shepherd said. She lauded Ashton's effectiveness and her focus in bringing volunteers together to work on some of the labor-intensive aspects of emergency preparedness.
"She's that glue. She's the thread that goes through the needle. She really drills down and gets things done. If we ever have an emergency in Palo Alto, there are a couple of people who will be there before us, and she will be one of them. If there is one volunteer I look to, it is Annette," Shepherd said.
Ashton is retired from a career in strategic planning and business development and information technology in health care. She is the past president of the Peninsula Stroke Association (now the Pacific Stroke Association) and chaired the Santa Clara County Health Advisory Commission's Emergency Medical Services Committee.
She is currently vice-chair of the Midtown Residents Association and a longtime member of the Palo Alto Rotary. In the latter capacity, she worked to organize several volunteer projects, including adding new play structures at Hoover Park and shading the Greer Park picnic area.