2019 District 9 Star Awardees

Pam Foley
3 min readAug 2, 2021
Left to Right: Mayor Sam Liccardo, Michael Melillo, Councilmember Pam Foley, Karen Adamski, Don Burger, Vice Mayor Judy Chirco, and Ed Chirco

I always strive to highlight those with an outstanding record of giving back for the greater good. Each year we open the District 9 Star Application with the hopes of highlighting our community’s unsung heroes. We spread the opportunity to apply far and wide so we can hear stories of people doing great work throughout our community — stories that deserve to be uplifted.

After the application window closes, we review the submissions and assess their positive impact on our community. Many nominations were received this year, and we are honored to share these stories with you and take this opportunity to spread some positivity during these pessimistic times.

Below are the three individuals and organizations we selected to be the 2019 District 9 Stars —

Don Burger

Don was nominated by the one and only Former Vice Mayor Judy Chirco for his dedication to bettering his community by spending over twenty years of valuable volunteer work on the Cambrian Little League. His selfless commitment has kept the children of our community safe by ensuring all equipment and fields are properly maintained. Mr. Burger views no job as too big nor too small, whether he is tasked with purchasing snack shack supplies or fixing old equipment, Don is dependable and always willing to help the League succeed. He is receiving this award because he tirelessly works to ensure a positive experience for all the players and all the parents at the Cambrian Little League athletic field. Congratulations, Don!

Karen Adamski

Karen was nominated by her neighbor, Vicki Bowes-Mok. Karen’s anonymously hand-painted signs of everyday encouragement have brought many smiles to her neighborhood. Her signs say “pay it forward,” “love,” “sing,” and “joy.” On top of that, Karen has made a commitment to brighten her neighborhood through her wonderful contributions to The Art Box Project and Karen’s lending library, among her many other thoughtful creations, displays her giving and welcoming spirit that inspires other members of her community to give back to those in need. Karen Adamski focuses her time and energy on spreading positivity through her joyful art and her compassionate, kind attitude to everyone around her. Congratulations, Karen!

Michael Melillo

Michael has worked diligently to unify the Valley View/Reed community through robust public outreach efforts and by the formation of the Valley View/Reed Neighborhood Association. He put forth tremendous efforts to make the first National Night Out event at Paul Moore Park a great success and cultivated a friendly environment for neighbors to meet and make lasting connections. Mr. Melillo’s dedication to public education and support for student enrichment is seen in his advocacy to expand opportunities in the arts and in his active participation in the Reed Parent Teachers Association. I am honored to call Michael a friend, and honored to recognize Michael as a 2019 District 9 Star. Congratulations, Michael!



Pam Foley

Wife & Mother. Former SJUSD Trustee. Real Estate Professional. Rotarian. Housing Advocate. San José District 9 City Councilmember & Proud San Jose Booster