Thumbs up to Maple Creek Elementary School students in the Clovis Unified School District for collecting $4,402 for the Leon S. Peters Burn Center. Leadership class president Samuel Otta was selected to put on a gown and visit Pete Dern in the unit. Dern is the Fresno fire captain who is recovering from severe burns he got while fighting house fire in central Fresno March 29. He remains in critical condition from burns over 65% of his body. Burn center clinical director Sandra Yovino said Dern told Otta: “ ‘I’m touched deeply from the bottom of my heart.” The remaining leadership students had been told they wouldn’t be able to see the fire captain, but Dern told hospital staff he wanted to acknowledge the students’ gift, so they clustered outside his hospital room and waved at him through the doorway and glass window. These are lessons in kindness, math, communication, business, nonprofit development, philanthropy, social work, psychology, leadership and anatomy that won’t soon be forgotten.
Thumbs up to Fresno State’s broadcast journalism students for winning first place awards in the Associated Press Television and Radio Association (APTRA) contest that recognizes excellence in broadcast journalism among members from 13 western states. Martin Vargas won Best Feature for his report, “California Drought Impact: Running out of Water; Megan Rupe won Best General News for her story “Tabletop Exercise: University Prepares for Active Shooter Situation.” Rupe, Tamara Hill and Yocelin Gallardo won Best Newscast for their April 2, 2014 Fresno State Focus newscast. Fresno State Focus airs on Xfinity channel 94 and U-Verse channel 99. The program is streamed live on CMAC.TV on the “Education” channel and on the YouTube channel Fresno State Focus TV.
Thumbs up to Storyland/Playland’s humble anonymous benfactor, promising $200,000 in matching funds for the repairs needed to reopen the popular children’s recreation areas in Roeding Park. If matched by community funds, the gifts would ensure the board has nearly half of the $850,000 needed to allow children to ride the carousel, cruise around the lake in a paddle boat and have a birthday party in King Arthur’s Castle. Valley Yellow Pages also helped out by donating the cover of its new book and putting a return envelope for donations into each directory. Since then, $40,000 has rolled in for the children. To donate go to savestoryland.com or call 486-0516. Now is a perfect time to give because your gift will be doubled.
Thumbs up to Fresno State’s humanics program for donating $5,000 to each of three nonprofits last week. The humanics certificate program, which offers community service-related experience to students, awarded the donations to Care Fresno, Fresno Metro Ministry and Kings/Tulare County Continuum of Care on Homelessness. Very nice homework.
Thumbs up to Dutch Bros. Fresno owners Brent and Genesis Wilson for donating $4,211 to the Marjaree Mason Center. The drive-through coffee shop locations in Fresno donated $1 from every drink sold on Mother’s Day. The MMC supports and empowers adults and their children affected by domestic violence. Saving mothers’ lives: there’s no better gift than that.
Thumbs down to Congressman Tom McClintock, who represents the foothill and mountain areas of Fresno and Madera counties. McClintock voted against the USA Freedom Act, which overwhelmingly passed the House with bipartisan support Wednesday. The legislation would continue much of the Patriot Act but limit the collection of Americans’ phone call data. In voting no, McClintock bucked both House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama, as well as fellow Valley congressional delegate Devin Nunes, who is an expert on these matters. Apparently, McClintock doesn’t believe in personal liberty and the right to privacy as much as he would have his constituents believe.
Thumbs up to the Clovis coworkers and friends of Bud Rank Elementary School plant supervisor David Garcia for holding a fundraising obstacle course today for their colleague. His daughter suffers from a life-threatening genetic condition. The obstacle course begins at 8 a.m. at the school. This is exactly the kind of community the Valley should aspire to be.
Thumbs up to the Sequoia Region Porsche Club of America for donating $1,750 to the Fresno State Automotive Race Team, $1,750 to the Fresno-Madera Agency on Aging and $500 to the Clovis Botanical Garden.