HAYWARD -- A longtime Castro Valley community activist and a veterinarian who donated thousands of hours helping wounded and sick animals will be posthumously honored by the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District.
Harry Francis, who died last year, was chosen for the Board of Directors' Award for Distinguished Recreational Service. He served on the Hayward Area Recreation and Park District board in 1995 and 1996 and the Castro Valley Sanitary District board for 15 years after that.
The district chose Dr. Russell Hackler for a special recognition award. Hackler, a Castro Valley veterinarian who was killed in an airplane accident in November, volunteered at Sulphur Creek Nature Center, which rescues injured wildlife.
HARD parks superintendent Larry Lapore, who nominated Francis, praised him for being actively involved in the community. "He was influential in getting a skate park for Castro Valley at Adobe Center," Lapore said.
Francis also was an active representative for the Alameda County Special Districts Association and helped raise money to preserve and improve community services, according to the park district.
Over the years, Hackler donated more than 2,400 hours of veterinary care to Sulphur Creek, which credited him with saving hundreds of animals.
South Hayward Parish was chosen for the Organization Award for 2012. In 2011, the parish launched a program called "Homeless Angels," which focuses on self-sufficiency for the homeless by creating art and jewelry-making and creating market plans, part of its Community Action Network job creation program. The program has moved six people to stable housing and jobs.
The winners will be recognized at an invitation-only luncheon on Jan. 25.