Tags >> homeless
Apr 19
2010

Red Cross Heroes 2010

Posted by Bruce Robinson in weather , volunteer , teens , students , Sonoma County , seniors , resources , poverty , nonprofit orgs , homeless , economy , community , animals , activism

Bruce Robinson

For the seventh consecutive year, the Sonoma and Mendocino Counties chapter of the American Red Cross is honoring a group of 10 local citizens as Real Heroes among us.  Continuing our own informal tradition, the North Bay Report has prepared these profiles of this year's honorees in two categories.

Good Samaritan, Youth:

It started as a Girl Scout assignment, but Jackie Andreucci’s "backpacks for the homeless" project turned into something bigger.

In this picture, taken outside the Redwood Gospel Mission near downtown Santa Rosa, Jackie Andreuecci (left) and Chops staff member Diana Curtin deliver a backpack to a man who identified himself just as "Olie."

 

Animal:

Suzy Melvin loves her animals. That’s why she’s made a special effort to help low-income senior citizens keep their pets.

Melvin's Silver Paws program operates in partnership with the Animal Shelter League at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter.

 

These are the other 8 award-winning heroes, and summaries of their stories:

Good Samaritan, Adult: Kevin Smith was driving on Highway 101 when he saw a tractor truck pulling a 38 foot cargo trailer drift off the road, proceed down an embankment and hit a 70’ tall eucalyptus tree. As the truck burst into flames, without hesitation or concern for his own safety, he stopped his car, ran to the truck and found the driver in flames. Smith pulled the man out through burning diesel fuel, rolled him on the ground and used his hands to put out the flames. Smith suffered smoke inhalation and burns to his hands and legs but refused medical treatment, choosing to stay with the victim. Smith is from Ukiah.

Good Samaritan, Senior: After working with high-risk children for 30 years in treatment centers and as a behavioral consultant, Lia Rowley envisioned a village for these children, to keep them safe and help them. When 12-year-old Georgia Moses, a girl Lia knew, was murdered, Rowley was compelled to make her vision of a village a reality. Today, she runs The Children’s Village, a community of family-style homes that currently houses 24 foster children and four “grandparents.” The Children's Village is in Santa Rosa.

Law Enforcement: Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman is a professional who has responded beyond the call of duty for more than 20 years, at times, risking his own life to save another’s. One afternoon in August, Sheriff Allman came upon an automobile engulfed in flames. He was able to pull a woman from the car, tending to her until help arrived, even as the area surrounding the wreckage caught fire and the scene became chaotic. Unfortunately, the woman succumbed to her injuries days later and Sheriff Allman suffered second degree burns on both of his hands. Sheriff Allman is based in Ukiah.

Education:  “Whatever you do, try your hardest,” is the motto that Ann Butler lives by and instills in her students. Nurturing and guiding her students, the Montgomery High School and Santa Rosa Junior College English teacher is committed to helping students at all levels prepare and succeed in college and in life. One life-changing project she instituted was journal writing for underachieving students that resulted in “Take a Walk in Our Shoes: Stories from the Fifties Hall,” a powerful and unflinching book of stories that include such challenges as physical abuse, drug use, rape and unwanted pregnancy. Her commitment has resulted in students who were expected to fail becoming enthusiastic and hopeful, and successfully graduating from high school. Butler teaches in Santa Rosa.

Medical: Kaiser physician Dr. Joshua Weil continuously puts those in need before himself. He has traveled to places including Sri Lanka, Louisiana and Haiti in time of disaster to offer medical aid. Most recently, he left his vacation in Mexico to assist in efforts to set up a clinic in the epicenter of the Haiti earthquake. Though conditions were harsh, he saw 40-75 patients a day, helping survivors in whatever way he could. Dr. Weil works at Kaiser Hospital in Santa Rosa.

Military: Marine Lance Corporal Hubert William Perkins Jr., also known as “Billy,” was on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan riding in a Cougar vehicle. Suddenly the 17-ton vehicle hit a concealed bomb, shattering Perkins’ left foot and seriously injuring both lower legs. None of the other five Marines with him was hurt. Because the Cougar took the hit first, it prevented any Humvees traveling behind them from being completely blown up. Although doctors wanted to amputate his leg, Perkins is now walking with the use of a cane and external fixator. He has no regrets, speaking with gratitude of his help for the Afghani people, as well as his fellow Marines. Perkins grew up in Santa Rosa and lives in Rohnert Park.

Rescue Professional: Helicopter pilot Paul Bradley, Deputy Wade Borges and paramedic Scott Freedman face unexpected challenges and risks when they’re called on to help. The three were dispatched to a vague location on San Pablo Bay where two boaters and an 18-month old child were being pulled out to sea. With winds blowing more than 45 miles per hour and the boat rapidly sinking, Bradley, Borges and Freedman worked quickly as a team to find the boat, facilitate a 100-foot-long-line rescue, and lift the child and adults to safety. The boat sank 5 minutes later. The three rescue professionals work out of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department in Santa Rosa. Paramedic Freeman's full-time job is as Fire Captain in Novato. Deputy Borges serves on the Santa Rosa Police Department.

Environment: Longtime community activist Ann Hancock has been dedicated to making a significant, positive difference in climate protection since 1997 when she started Sustainable Sonoma County, and, in 2001, the Climate Protection Campaign. Through her efforts and those she inspires, Ann has helped lead Sonoma County in setting eight national precedents. She persuaded Sonoma’s 10 municipalities to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and 100% have pledged to do so. She works regional and nationally to help people and institutions implement sustainability throughout their communities. Hancock lives in the West County area.

A committee of community leaders chose these Heroes. They were:

_    Vince Albano, CEO, Mary’s Pizza Shack

_    Barry Friedman, Vice President, Friedman’s Home Improvement

_    Nick Frey, President of Sonoma County Winegrape Commission

_    Kay Marquet, Executive Director, Chop’s Teen Club

_    Tim Campbell, Unit Coordinator, Medical Reserve Corps, California Tribal Nations Emergency Management Council  

_    Sharon Root, Owner, Double Eagle Financial  

_    Diana Lane, Director of Respiratory Care, Ukiah Valley Medical Center

_    Nancy Dougherty, Founder, Teen Counseling Project of Sonoma County.

 

Mar 17
2010

"Eclipse of the Sunnis"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in women , war , religion , poverty , politics , news , media , land rights , journalism , international , immigration , homeless , families , employment , author

Bruce Robinson

One little-reported consequence of the war in Iraq has been the displacement of an estimated 2 million former citizens who have fled to neighboring nations or even further. Their story is the subject of Eclipse of the Sunnis,  a new book by NPR Mideast correspondent Deborah Amos.

Amos began covering the Middle East for NPR more than 20 years ago, and renewed her interest in the region following the 9/11 attacks. Even though she sees the Iraqi Sunnis as complicit in their own downfall, as instigators of the sectarian insurgency, she also believes their situation as an enormous population of displaced professional and middle class families is an important story, one she felt could best be told by presenting the human faces of some of those involved.

The split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims may appear to be the result of religious differences between two factions within Islam, but Deborah Amos cautions that this interpretation is a simplistic misreading of the complex geopolitics of the Middle East.

It’s a convenient shorthand to speak of the displaced Iraqis as “refugees,” but that, too, is an over implication, in Amos’s view. Because these are mostly middle class households, they are able to monitor events and their situation in ways that are completely unknown to most poverty-stricken refugees. But their circumstances leave them vulnerable to an eroding standard of living that may take generations to recover.

Amos writes about the significance of the Iraqi general election here.

Feb 25
2010

A School for AIDS Orphans in Mozambique

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , teens , students , speaker , rescue , public safety , poverty , nonprofit orgs , medicine , international , homeless , healthcare , families , education , children , Africa , activism

Bruce Robinson

As the number of African children orphaned by AIDS continues to grow, a new model for housing, teaching and caring for them is trying to take root in Mozambique.

Malena Ruth, Founder and President of the African Millennium Foundation, says that while it is clearly her intention to create opportunities for the orphaned youth and children of her home country, she is just as clear that her vision is not just another orphanage.

Actress  CCH Pounder’s first contact with AMF was as a donor. As she learned more about the organization, she was impressed enough to join their board of directors. And she is now firmly committed to promoting the A Nossa Casa project, because she believes it will begin to make a difference in the near future.

UNICEF has projected that before the end of this year in Mozambique,  more than 926,000 children such as these with have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

 

Feb 11
2010

Foreclosures Part 1

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , rights , religion , poverty , policy , nonprofit orgs , jobs , housing , homeless , families , employment , economy , community engagement , children , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

The wave of home foreclosures that swept California in 2008 and 2009 has not gone away. In some ways, it may be getting worse.

Last year, says Brian O’Callahan, who directs the three-person Foreclosure Prevention program for Catholic Charities in Santa Rosa, his agency was contacted by roughly 3500 people seeking help with home loans gone bad. Out of that number, about 600 met the criteria for his HUD-funded program (first mortgages only, primary residence of the borrower). And only a quarter of those 600 were able to get significant assistance. For many of the rest, the best they could offer was sympathy and someone to listen.

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