Supervisor Ken Yeager is doing something wild to fight AIDS

Sal Pizarro| San Jose Mercury News| Link to Article

 Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, right, talks to Steve Ellenberg about his plans to participate in the AIDS/LifeCycle in June. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, right, talks to Steve Ellenberg about his plans to participate in the AIDS/LifeCycle in June. (Sal Pizarro/Bay Area News Group)

If there’s one good thing about term limits for Santa Clara County Supervisor Ken Yeager, it’s that he’s not running for anything on June 5. Instead, he’ll be riding his bike — a lot.

For the first time, Yeager, 65, will be participating in the AIDS/LifeCycle, a seven-day, 545-mile bicycle ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles taking place June 3-9.

“I’ve been wanting to do this ride for as long as I’ve known it’s existed, which is 25 years,” said Yeager, who was the first openly gay elected official in Santa Clara County. “HIV/AIDS is as much about my life and my community as any issue has ever been.”

The fitness-minded supervisor is an avid hiker and bicyclist who participates in mud runs and obstacle courses. But even with that background, Yeager has been working with the South Bay Blaze training group since October. On April 1, he was among a 51-person group that took a grueling 6-plus hour ride to the Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton and back.

A fundraising event for Yeager’s effort was held last Thursday at Deluxe in downtown San Jose, hosted by former Health Trust CEO Fred Ferrer and Paul Hepfer, the Health Trust’s senior vice president of programs who oversees the agency’s AIDS Services. Yeager has raised $7,500, and having blown past his original fundraising goal of $5,000, he’s readjusted his aim to raise at least $10,000.

“Ken Yeager has raised more money for HIV than any elected official in this county,” Ferrer said. “I’m delighted that we have this opportunity to thank Ken and support him on this absolutely crazy, stupid ride.”

SCOUT SALUTE: The Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay Council of the Boy Scouts of America honored a quartet of community leaders Thursday night at the 13th annual Character Awards, which drew a crowd of 275 people to the Rotary Summit Center in downtown San Jose.

This honorees at this year’s dinner, chaired by Brad Baron, were Genstor Systems co-founder Raj ChahalDavid Ginsborg, Santa Clara County’s deputy assessor; Blach Construction executive Tony Mirenda; and Realtor/Broker Elizabeth Monley, who also serves on History San Jose’s board of directors.

HERE’S TO VOLUNTEERS: The Los Altos Community Foundation paid tribute to 19 dedicated volunteers from Peninsula nonprofits at the annual Gardner Awards, held March 21 at the University Club in Palo Alto. There was plenty of applause as each recipient came on stage to get an award and a handshake from Los Altos Community Foundation CEO Joe EyreLarissa Robideaux, executive director for the Center of Excellence in Nonprofits, provided an inspiring keynote that touched on her father’s dedication to nonprofit service, an idea that I’m sure the audience of 250 could embrace.

And on April 17, the Junior League of San Jose recognized more than 100 community members at its 49th annual Volunteer Recognition Luncheon at Villa Ragusa in Campbell. Of those, 11 volunteers received the prestigious Crystal Bowl Award, along with something new this year — a $500 stipend for the honoree’s nominating agency.

Phil Mastrocola from Grace Baptist Church received the Voluntarism At Its Best Award, which includes an additional $1,000 stipend. Kaiser Permanente presented the Thriving Volunteers Award to grassroots organizing agency PACT (People Acting in Community Together).