Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Train engineer Skip Carlstrom drives the Storyland and Playland train in Roeding Park in Fresno. The children’s parks were the beneficiaries of a recent fundraising party that brought in $11,000.
Train engineer Skip Carlstrom drives the Storyland and Playland train in Roeding Park in Fresno. The children’s parks were the beneficiaries of a recent fundraising party that brought in $11,000. sflores@fresnobee.com

Thumbs up to Good Samaritans Kirk Cardoso and two men thought to be concrete contractors, who risked their own safety to save the lives of Codee Cardoza, her 9-year-old daughter, Paiden, and her son, Ethan, 2. Cardoza was in an accident Oct. 7, rolling in her SUV across the southbound lanes of Highway 99 near Avenue 12 and slamming into the center divider when Cardoso saw her on his way to Fresno. Dodging cars with drivers watching the accident but making no effort to stop, he first got to Cardoza, who screamed for him to help her kids. He smelled gasoline and saw flames flickering. He rescued Ethan from his car seat, while two others pulled Paiden out of the car. Setting the child by the side of the road, he went to Cardoza, whom he pulled out of the burning car by the belt loop of her jeans. “I just thought those kids are too young to die – that family is too young to die,” he told The Bee’s Rory Appleton. “I would have died to save them after hearing those screams.” Everyone is doing fine.

Thumbs down to the looky-loos who stood by that fiery crash, recording the crisis with their cellphones and doing nothing to help. “Someone put a phone in my face – that’s the first thing that happened when they pulled me out,” Cardoza said. “My son was sitting on the highway alone. No one was helping him.” Cardoso agreed: “That day separated the mice from the men. All these people with cameras – not helping me or the boy. Thankfully, those two contractors stopped to help.” In that short time, we saw the best and worst of the Valley.

Thumbs up to the Pinedale Boys & Girls Club and Lowe’s. The Pinedale neighborhood club has impressed Lowe’s so much the business is providing a $49,286 grant to complete much-needed renovations throughout the club, including a new gym floor, LED lighting, painting and electrical repairs. The goal is to provide a safe and inviting place for Fresno young people. Three cheers!

Thumbs up to major sponsor Caglia Environmental and community volunteers who put on the Princesses and Pirates Fairy Tale Ball at Storyland. The family event drew a large crowd of costumed children and parents Oct. 3 and raised $11,000 for renovations at Storyland and Playland.

Thumbs up to Fresno State men’s associate head basketball coach Jerry Wainwright for writing inspiring notes to former players, coaches and managers. About 300 to 500 of these handwritten notes are sent each week and it has been his decision to do this for the past 30 years. The coach told Clare Ansberry of The Wall Street Journal that it would be easier and cheaper to email or text, but Wainwright says he prefers to hand-write his notes and include a famous quotation. “I love getting a personal letter because I know what went into sending it,” he told Ansberry. “It’s such a great compliment.” This man is a legend.

Thumbs up to a generous anonymous donor and Central Valley Veterans for opening the new Hospitality House, which will provide short-term housing to families with loved ones at the Fresno Veterans Affairs Hospital. Homeless veterans’ families also are welcome to use the house at 2035 E. Princeton Ave. in case of emergency. An anonymous donor provided the funding so the respite can be provided at no cost to the families. To donate or help out with the house, go to centralvalleyveterans.org.

Thumbs up to Central Valley Community Foundation, the new name for the Fresno Regional Foundation, for including a place for nonprofits to meet for free in its new offices at Fig Garden Financial Center. The 2,500 square foot space, called Center for Community, also will be a place where the foundation can offer professional workshops and training sessions on nonprofit leadership. Great idea!