2011 'Lifetimes of Achievement' honorees announced

Avenidas celebrates seven outstanding local seniors

A former mayor, a career-development expert, an environmental and education volunteer, a gifted speaker, a voter advocate and a pair of senior-housing leaders are the recipients of the 2011 Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement Awards.

Jim Burch of Palo Alto, Betsy Collard of Mountain View, Jan Fenwick of Los Altos Hills, Dick Henning of Los Altos, Veronica Tincher of Palo Alto and Bill and the late Carolyn Reller of Palo Alto were selected by the nonprofit senior-service organization Avenidas for their contributions to the community. The honorees, who are required to be older than 65, were announced at a reception at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto Thursday.

"Caring and commitment are two hallmarks of each of these outstanding nominees. They all have made their mark on their community and for that we are grateful," Avenidas CEO Lisa Hendrickson said in a statement.

Former Palo Alto Mayor Burch has been active in community service since the 1950s, when he worked with such organizations as Boy Scouts of America, United Way, NAACP and Urban Coalition, which he co-founded. He volunteered for 36 years with Foundation for Global Community, until its closure in December 2010, and, along with his wife Wileta, has also produced educational seminars and television documentaries.

Betsy Collard, former Stanford University alumni volunteer relations director, served for 21 years as program director for the Career Action Center, a job-search nonprofit, and is the author of "The High-Tech Career Book." She's also volunteered with Community School of Music and Arts, the Mountain View School Board, the American Red Cross, the Mountain View Human Relations Commission and the Day Worker Center of Mountain View.

Over the past quarter-century, Jan Fenwick has worked and volunteered for environmental organizations such as the Purissima Hills Water District, the Peninsula Conservation Center and Environmental Volunteers, as well as educational organizations including the Community School of Music and Arts and the Foothill-De Anza College Foundation board.

Dick Henning, in addition to founding the Foothill College Celebrity Forum Speakers Series, which he has directed since 1968, has delivered hundreds of speeches to clubs, schools and businesses. He served on numerous community boards and personally raised funds for and delivered wheelchairs to the needy in Third World countries.

Fifty-two-year League of Women Voters leader Veronica Tincher works on outreach to new and young voters and has also volunteered with Legal Aid and AARP Tax Aide. She's also chaired the Santa Clara County Mental Health Board and served as treasurer for the boards of Keddem Congregation and the Palo Alto Jewish Community Center.

Bill Reller and his late wife, Carolyn Reller, are responsible for the creation in 1990 of Palo Alto Commons, a south Palo Alto residence for seniors, which Carolyn operated until her death in 2010. She is the first posthumous recipient of the Lifetimes of Achievement honor. Both the Rellers are known for their years of active community service, including Bill's work with the Palo Alto Community Fund, Peninsula Open Space Trust, the Palo Alto Board of Realtors and the Mid-Peninsula YMCA.

The seven honorees will be celebrated at a public reception Sunday, May 15, from 3 to 5 p.m. at a garden party at a local home. The event is sponsored by Avenidas, Palo Alto Weekly and Palo Alto Online.

Tickets can be purchased for $75 by contacting Avenidas at 650-289-5445 or online at Proceeds from the reception benefit senior programs at Avenidas.

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Like this comment
Posted by Debbie Ford-Scriba
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2011 at 11:32 am

A fabulous slate of well-deserving honorees, as always. Kudos to Avenidas for once again recognizing individuals who do so much to make the mid-Peninsula community the extraordinary place it is.

Like this comment
Posted by Bill Burch
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Way to go, Dad! I couldn't be more proud of you. Bill

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Short story writers wanted!

The 33rd Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult (15-17) and Teen (12-14) categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by March 29. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category.

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