Steuber is Citizen of Year
By Lou Fancher
It's oddly a relief to discover that Tom Steuber has a messy office and went to "the wrong college," according to Northgate High School Principal Michael McAlister, Steuber's close friend of 45 years and a UC Berkeley alum.
Good deeds and civic engagement earned Steuber the 2016 Lafayette Citizen of the Year award. The 52-year-old, despite having "slipped up" by graduating from Stanford University, has mentored more than 100 Eagle Scouts in his 11 years as Scoutmaster of Lafayette's Boy Scout Troop 204.
As president of Associated Services, an office refreshment business begun in 1972 by his parents, Hal and Diane Steuber, he's built the small, family-run company to serve 6,000 customers and employs roughly 130 people.The Classroom Scholarship Program that began seven years ago with a simple interaction with Janet Jackson, a fourth-grade teacher at Oakland's Allendale Elementary School, has contributed since its inception more than $100,000 to underserved school communities in the Bay Area.
Steuber says a good citizen is someone who's involved in building community and showing off the vibrancy of his or her town or city.
"On a broader basis, the common thread is engagement in civic ventures that add to the greater good," he says.
McAlister says he recognized in 1971 that Steuber had "a keen awareness of what it means to be kind." The two boys on a local swim team remained friends through the years: McAlister even taught two of Steuber's children at Acalanes High School.Steuber and his wife, Virginia, are the parents of three sons and one daughter: Kirk, 26; Katherine 24; Justin, 20; and Jared, 14.
The family lineup made Steuber an ideal candidate to lead a Scout troop when he was recruited nearly a dozen years ago.
"My kids' involvement and age span meant they thought I'd stick around for 16 years," Steuber says.
And indeed, that will be the case. He estimates it will be another two years before he "hands off the baton" of his Scouting service that has him at meetings every Monday night and working countless hours throughout the year. Fresh energy and new ideas, he says, will benefit the troop.
"Having me there a long time has provided good continuity. Often, I can remember how things were done in the past, but I also fall back on the way we've always done it.
"What will I do with all that time?" he asks. "I haven't decided. Every time I say that, Virginia laughs, because she says long before that day shows up I'll have a list of things to do."
There'll be no regret about ending his term -- and not because he isn't bursting with pride over the boys who've become men while engaging in projects that benefit local and international communities.
Like Scouts' projects that touch lives in Afghanistan and Mexico, Steuber says young people are "more globally engaged than was true in my generation," and apt to look outside of Lamorinda to find communities with greater needs.
McAlister says Steuber's heart beats with that same rhythm.
"He's an example for all of us about how to live well," he said. "He's a good steward of the planet, a good partner, good parent, good citizen. If we can think of that, we can think we're doing something right."