THE COWARD who shot and killed Dublin Elementary School head custodian Thomas Cunningham in a senseless act of violence remains at large.

Cunningham, his 13-year-old daughter and their two dogs were walking back from a store after buying ice cream near their home in Hayward the evening of Nov. 24 when the shooter reportedly became enraged that one dog was sniffing his leg.

While police are asking for the public's help in capturing the suspect — described as a black male between 18 and his early 20s, between 5-foot-6 and 5-foot-10 with a very slight build — the community has come together to support the family of a man known fondly by students as "Mr. Tom."

A series of fundraisers has been put together to provide Cunningham's daughter, a student at Dublin Elementary School, with money for a college scholarship.

Upcoming events include:

  • Wells Middle School Winter Concert at 7:30 tonight.

  • Wells Middle School gift-wrapping on Friday at Barnes & Noble in Dublin, and on Saturday and Sunday at Dublin's Holiday on Ice (at the new Toyota dealership next to Hacienda Crossings) and at Rios-Lovell winery in Livermore.

    A couple of other events were held earlier this week.

    If you're unable to attend these events, you can visit any Wells Fargo Bank branch and make a donation to the Thomas Ray Cunningham Fund.

    Dublin United Soccer League Award: The DUSL, more than 1,000 players strong this past season, recently awarded its first annual Tom Grywczynski Volunteer of the Year award.

    Tom was a father of four and a volunteer coach who lost a 20-month battle with leukemia in August. His two sons still play for Dublin.

    The award "honors Tom and his selfless spirit. He was always ready to lend a helping hand," says Joe Washington, a DUSL board member.

    Winning the inaugural award was Greg Summerset, who in addition to coaching two teams and serving on a league committee was instrumental in helping launch the Jr. Shamrocks training program for future soccer players.

    New hiking Trail: Thanks to the cooperation of East Bay Regional Park District, the Dublin Parks Department and Discovery Builders, Dublin will soon have a nice new hiking trail and easy access to some existing trails.

    As part of the Schaefer Ranch housing development in west Dublin, a trailhead staging area will be created over the winter and opened in the spring.

    "About 4½ miles of trails will be accessible from the staging area when complete," said Jim Townsend, manager of trail programs for East Bay parks.

    The Martin Canyon Creek Trail extensions will add about ¾ of a mile more. The park will include a segment of the Calaveras Ridge Trail, as well as the Donlon Loop Trail.

    Four Cheers for Fallon Cheer!: Congratulations to the Fallon Middle School competitive cheer team, which has a lot to yell about.

    The 33-member squad, led by Cheerleading Director Kristine Cousins and coaches Colleen Carrion and Christina Brown, has taken first place at all four competitions they've entered this year.

    The girls' very sophisticated routine has received high praise from judges and has earned the Fallon team an invitation to compete at the USA Cheer Junior Nationals at Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim in February.

    Good luck, girls.

    Reach Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.