Thumbs up to Brett Mar for taking immediate action to help two people out of a car that had overturned in the median on Shaw Avenue near Fresno State. When Mar happened onto the scene, the sedan’s wheels were still spinning in the air and the driver and passenger were hanging upside down by their seatbelts. Mar was determined to get the occupants out, despite comments from bystanders that everyone should just wait around for the pros. With no tools and dressed only in a T-shirt, shorts and athletic shoes, Mar kicked out the back and side windows of the car to help with the rescue. He escorted the people safely across the street and grabbed clothing from inside the car to wrap their injuries. Paramedics later gave him supplies for his own cuts. A coach, physical education teacher, athletic director and lead teacher for Edison Computech, Mar is well trained in first aid and CPR. His wife, Michelle, a teacher at CART, was not surprised to hear the story, saying his reflexes — running toward danger instead of away from it — are something to behold. We’ll say!
Thumbs down to Brian Stenzler, president of the California Chiropractic Association, who has been caught on video encouraging opponents of a mandatory vaccination bill to stalk lobbyists advocating for the legislation. In the video Stenzler tells an SB 277 opponent who asks about two lobbyists to follow them “all day long — follow them to a T.” California Medical Association CEO Dustin Corcoran said in a letter to Stenzler: “Your video instructing people to stalk the lobbyists has the potential to turn an already volatile situation into an explosive one with very grave consequences.” It’s pretty obvious here to see who the clear thinkers are.
Thumbs up to Alex Fierro of Visalia, age 10, for showing courage by speaking up about culturally offensive lyrics in a song taught at his school. Fierro belongs to the Wukchumni (Yokut) tribe and is a fourth grader at Shannon Ranch Elementary School. After his parents and tribe joined in his complaint to the school board about the lyrics, it was pulled from a list of songs at Visalia Unified School District. “He’s a typical 10-year-old, but he’s very knowledgeable about the goings-on in Indian country.” his mother, Debra Fierro, said. The song, entitled “Twenty-one Missions,” is about the Spanish missions in California and is written from the point of view of the padres. One of the lyrics states, “Men of faith, the Good News preaching, praying, teaching, searching, reaching out to the red man’s soul, oh, what a noble goal.” Another: “No need to hunt or a gatherer be, come little Indian, dance with me.” Last month, Alex came home from school and told his mother he didn’t want to sing a song in music class. “It has words I don’t like.” His sensitivity and courage are to be admired.
Thumbs up to Fresno police officers Sean Cowart, Sgt. Diana Trueba and Jeremy DeMoss, who are being hailed as heroes after rescuing a disabled man trapped in a burning home last week. The officers arrived at the home at 475 W. Lexington Ave., near Ingram and Nees avenues, where family members told them a disabled person was trapped at the back of the house. Without typical smoke and fire protection equipment, the officers ran to the back, smashed a sliding glass door and found the victim in bed. There was heavy smoke in the home, so the officers crawled into the house to stay below the smoke and dragged the person to safety. Trueba was taken to Saint Agnes Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation. Cowart and DeMoss remained at the scene. Five family members also were taken to a hospital where they were treated for non-life threatening injuries. Well done!
Thumbs up to the Fab Five — Noah Arsitio, Corben Beaty, Jeffrey Forbes, Evan Murai and Daniel Shin of Riverview Elementary School. This band of inventors this week raised enough money to create their water-saving app. You’ll know them by their bright yellow T-shirts with “Got Water?” written across the chest. They pitched the idea to business and city leaders at Bitwise Industries technology hub near downtown and got a whole lot more than hearty applause. In the past two weeks, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce and major businesses including AT&T and PG&E donated $51,000, enough to fund the development of an app that could be ready by September for city dwellers across Fresno to download for free. Bitwise computer coders will do the heavy lifting and they are providing the boys with lifetime scholarships to the company’s Geekwise coding workshops. We’d like to propose a toast — with sparkling water, of course — to the group and their adult supporters.