2018 CREST (Cupertino Recognizes Extra Steps Taken) Awards
Each year the City of Cupertino presents its CREST Awards, “Cupertino Recognizes Extra Steps Taken,” to honor the outstanding contributions of Cupertino community members. The 2018 CREST Awards Ceremony was held on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at the Cupertino Community Hall.
The Winners are...
Lifetime Achievement: Alysa Sakkas might be best known in recent years as a volunteer for the Cupertino-Toyokawa Sister Cities organization. But she has also volunteered for the Rolling Hills 4H Club and numerous schools. Alysa has received the Presidential Community Service Award every year since the program began under former President George W. Bush. In 2014, former President Barack Obama presented her with the prestigious President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Individual of the Year: Larry Dean is a longtime Cupertino resident who is one of the cofounders of the volunteer organization Walk Bike Cupertino (est. 2014), a group with a simple mission to make Cupertino a better place to walk and bike. Since the beginning, Larry has been researching, developing, and acting on how to make walking and biking safer in and more convenient for the community. He has encouraged City Officials and staff to prioritize and fund infrastructure improvements in the City that provide ease of access and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
Organization of the Year: inAtalent is a 501c3 organization has been serving the seniors, assisted living, seniors with memory care and rehab center residents. The mission of inAtalent is to bring joy to these communities by utilizing talents of volunteers. Some of the shows have included Bollywood dancing, Indian Classical Dancing, music, and singing.
Rising Star: Sarang Deshpande a sophomore at Monta Vista High School, contacted then Mayor Savita Vaidhyanathan to offer volunteer services to the City. As a result, Sarang provided staff support to the Mayor during the City’s 4th of July festivities, including ensuring he was on time at all of his scheduled appearances and posting on social media. Sarang later volunteered in our Recreation and Community Services Department on a Teen Center Outreach Plan. Recently, Sarang approached the Cupertino Teen Commission as a co-founder of Budding Leaders, an organization designed to offer free leadership workshops for youth. The organization was created to help youth develop social, communication, and leadership skills necessary for life.
Innovator of the Year: Bob Zeidman is a 25-year Cupertino resident. Bob invented the computer science field of Software Forensics, having developed the algorithms and technology behind software correlation and the procedures for identifying copied software code. Bob was named the 2010 and 2015 Outstanding Engineer in a Specialized Field from IEEE for “Innovative Contributions in the Area of Forensic Software Analysis.
Public Safety Champion of the Year: Deputy Jonathan Lau joined the Sheriff’s Office in April of 2014. He worked in the Courts Division until he was selected to work at the West Valley Patrol Division in 2017. In 2017, Deputy Lau was credited for helping in the arrest of numerous suspects involved in residential and vehicle burglaries. Deputy Lau shows up each and every day to serve the people of this community. During every interaction with the public Deputy Lau strives to serve as a role model for others within the agency to follow.
Sustainability Champion of the Year: Kristin Jensen Sullivan was an environmental studies instructor at De Anza College for 21 years before retiring in mid-2017. During her tenure at De Anza College, Kristin motivated and inspired hundreds of students and community members to get involved in climate protection and environmental justice issues. The City of Cupertino’s Sustainability staff had the opportunity to work with many of Kristin’s environmental studies students to certify 15 De Anza College departments as certified green businesses and conduct visual trash audits to protect creeks from litter. Kristin’s leadership also led to meaningful reductions in water use, energy use, and waste at the college.
CREST Awards Ceremony 2018
Changes to the CREST Awards
For more than 30 years, the City of Cupertino has recognized its outstanding community volunteers with an awards program. Hundreds of residents and community organizations have been honored with the award, now known as the CREST (Cupertino Recognizes Extra Steps Taken) Awards.
Unfortunately, over the last five to 10 years, fewer and fewer applications have been turned in. So the pool of applications has shrunk.
The City decided to turn this circumstance into an opportunity to look at how best to use the CREST Awards program to better reflect the Cupertino community. After some internal deliberation, the City decided on seven new categories (four volunteer and three distinct awards):
- Lifetime Achievement Award (Volunteer)
- Individual of the Year (Volunteer)
- Organization of the Year (Volunteer)
- Rising Star Award (Volunteer)
- Innovator of the Year (Technology)
- Public Safety Champion of the Year
- Sustainability Champion of the Year
The City hopes that these new categories will not only attract more nominations, but will capture a larger array of residents whose individual contributions to Cupertino go beyond volunteerism.