Emerging from a two-year, pandemic-forced hiatus, the Palo Alto Tall Tree Awards are back this year and making up for lost time.
The Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce and Palo Alto Weekly have announced an unprecedented 10 honorees — individuals and organizations that have exemplified outstanding service to the Palo Alto community and beyond.
For only the third time ever, this year's Tall Tree ceremony, scheduled for April 21, will include the Global Impact Award. This special award recognizes a community member whose work has had a long, significant influence beyond Palo Alto in the areas of technology, education, environmental stewardship, medicine, the arts or other fields.
The co-recipients of the 2022 Global Impact Award will be Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody and Stanford University Professor Dr. Yvonne "Bonnie" Maldonado, who specializes in pediatrics and epidemiology. Both are being recognized for their unparalleled frontline work during the extended coronavirus pandemic.
The Tall Tree Awards have been given to community members since 1980, but the 2020 awards event was put on hold after the pandemic shutdown was announced in March 2020. The 2021 event was canceled.
Now, four recipients chosen in 2020 and four from 2022, in addition to Cody and Maldonado, have been announced and will be celebrated for their civic contributions.
The winners for outstanding nonprofit are theater company Palo Alto Players (2020) and land-conservation group Peninsula Open Space Trust (2022).
The outstanding professionals are Cammie Vail (2020), the retired executive director of the Palo Alto Community Fund, and Pastor Paul Bains (2022), the founder and CEO of Project WeHope, the founder and president of United Hope Builders and a police chaplain for East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, and Menlo Park.
Chosen as the outstanding citizen volunteers are Hal Mickelson (2020), who has led the Palo Alto Rotary Club, Stormwater Management Oversight Committee and Palo Alto Museum, among other civic roles, and Roger Smith (2022), co-founder of Friends of the Palo Alto Parks and co-founder and chair of Mothers Against Murder, among other volunteer work.
The outstanding business awards go to commercial real estate firm Premier Properties (2020) and hotelier Homewood Suites (2022).
The Tall Tree ceremony will be held at the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center at 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on April 21. The plan is to hold an outdoor reception and indoor presentation of awards, public health conditions permitting.
The cost to attend is $100 per individual. More information about the Tall Tree Awards, including ticket purchasing, will be posted at paloaltochamber.com on Feb. 7.