by Velva Rowell
Anyone who frequents OMVNATalk, the email list for our neighborhood association, has seen a name pop up fre-quently over the past couple of years. Hugh Donagher has only been living in OMV for three years, but, during that brief time, he has built a reputation for community involvement and activism as well as for interesting and informative restaurant reviews. I sat down to have a coffee with him one morning when he was between meetings.
Hugh was originally from a small town in Connecticut. “That’s where my sense of duty and obligation to the community was born.” The town had three elected officials and approximately 12,000 residents. The town was (and still is) run by town meeting, and all of the boards are staffed by volunteers. Hugh says of this experience, “I grew up knowing that if you’re not involved, you’re leaving it to other people.”
Hugh left Connecticut in 1992 for San Diego, CA where he met his partner, Brian. The couple moved to Mountain View when Brian found a job here. Shortly after they arrived in Mountain View, Hugh saw a notice that Margaret Abe-Koga was resigning from the OMVNA board. He decided to throw his hat in the ring because “I’ve always been involved wherever I’ve lived, and this seemed as good a way as any of getting to know people and being of service.”
Hugh’s work with OMVNA has included membership on the board, participation in the OMVNA CERT program, newsletter articles, and active participation on the OMVNATalk email list. Most recently he co-organized what was hopefully the first of several neighborhood mixers at a downtown restaurant.
Hugh spends the bulk of his time on his work with the Lions, which he first joined 22 years ago. Lions International is the world’s largest service organization. Hugh is currently a member of the Sunnyvale Lions chapter and was instrumental in forming the Leo chapter at Mountain View High School. He is currently working on starting a Mountain View chapter which hopes to charter sometime next summer.
Along with the local Kiwanis chapter, the Lions collected and distributed 50 backpacks for school children this year. They are also hoping to offer free vision screening at the Day Worker Center. Lions also connected Hugh with the Soap Box Derby and Habitat for Humanity where they build houses one day per month.
Hugh says that his volunteer work helps him to see the world as a better place. “One of the things I love about community service is that it is the antidote to the evening news.”
• Lions International: http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/index.shtml