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Local officials join Dennis Kennedy at presentation of Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan. Morgan Hill at the time, and shared the community’s concern that a solution be found. He met with a group of us and threw his support behind the formation of the South Valley Dayworkers Committee, and we started matching workers with jobs.” Dennis was also instrumental in founding the Morgan Hill Community Foundation, along with Gene Guglielmo, Greg Sellers and others,” Banuelos said. “Over the years he has brought a lot of integrity to community leadership in Morgan Hill. He really has the heart of a public servant. “I can remember working alongside him on City Beautification Day one year. One of the volunteers said ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if the city politicians were here helping out?’ when someone pointed out that the guy pulling weeds right next to her was Mayor Kennedy.” Kennedy’s love of swimming inspires his ongoing involvement with the Morgan Hill Aquatics Foundation and their support of the City’s Aquatics Center – a first-class facility that he helped get off the ground before retiring as mayor. “Whenever I go there on a hot summer day and see folks enjoying a cool swim in the pool, I smile all over again because the people of Morgan Hill threw their support behind it, and it will be enjoyed for generations to come.” Kennedy is also a big believer in supporting the arts. In recent years, the South Valley Symphony was looking to build community awareness and they turned to Kennedy for help. According to Claudia Rossi, “We have a very accomplished symphony orchestra, so it was frustrating for supporters to see empty seats at the performances due to lack of awareness. Dennis lent a helping hand with everything from planning a fundraiser and securing sponsorships to handing out flyers. He’s a big picture guy who doesn’t mind rolling up his shirtsleeves for a good cause. He always talks up the merits of the work of others, often recognizing their talent even before they see it in themselves.” Kennedy’s long-time friend Bert Berson told of a trip they took to Africa in 2012. “We were on a safari in the Serengeti, spending a day with a tribe of Bushmen. Our guide spotted wild game and set off on a run, gesturing for us to follow. Dennis was the only one who could keep up! But Dennis’s eyes really lit up when we visited the local schools. He wanted to know how the students were doing and what they needed to succeed. He’s a very kind man who sees a worthwhile cause, rallies people behind it, and gets the ball rolling.” “The public needs to know the hard facts about our limited water resources and the vulnerabilities of our existing water infrastructure. I want people to know the many ways that they can be part of the solution.” Dennis Kennedy 76 G M H T O D A Y M A G A Z I N E MARCH / APRIL 2015 gmhtoday.com and past President of the Downtown Association, and was a founding member/ past President of the Morgan Hill chapter of Sister Cities International. He was a past president of the Santa Clara County Cities Association, a member of the Silicon Valley American Leadership Forum, and a member of Morgan Hill Rotary Club. Leadership Morgan Hill presented him with its Leadership Excellence Award in 2007 in honor of his distinguished record of community service. “Sister Cities was a pet project of mine,” Kennedy said. “It takes strong advocates in both cities to get things going. Gene Guglielmo had a connection with the Mayor of San Casciano, Italy, and helped established our first official sister city relationship. Jess Ambriz introduced us to the Mayor of San Martin de Hidalgo, Mexico, which became our second sister city. When Judy and Murv Little joined, they helped us establish Mizuho, Japan as a sister city. And it was Bernie Mulligan, another dedicated goodwill ambassador, who facilitated our adoption of Headford, Ireland, as well as Seferihizar, Turkey.” Kennedy has also helped to elevate cultural diversity in the local community. When Claudia Rossi ran for and won a seat on the Morgan Hill Unified School District board in 2010, she said Kennedy was a great encouragement. “He was on the Morgan Hill Times editorial board at the time, and the paper was looking for a candidate to endorse,” Rossi said. “While the board grilled us on some contentious issues, Dennis listened, acknowledged and engaged each candidate in a dialogue. He wanted to understand what was behind the views of others and to get people collaborating. “Dennis is not uncomfortable with people’s differences and always promotes open dialogue to find common ground.” Morgan Hill Community Foundation board member Mario Banuelos described Dennis Kennedy as a man with a strong sense of social justice. “In the late 1990s, local day laborers were having trouble finding work. Dennis was Mayor of