Thumbs up to the appropriately named Patience family siblings – separated by adoption as children – for their unrelenting search for each other. Mirasol Espinesen only saw her youngest brother once as an infant.
This week, Espinesen was able to see him for a second time more than three decades years later, when his flight landed at Fresno Yosemite International Airport. Jorick Soriano, now 33 and living in Oceanside, hugged his sister and their middle sibling, Kirk Patience, 36, of Fresno. Espinesen lives in Tennessee with their mother.
Espinesen and Soriano began searching for one another on their 18th birthdays. The eldest sibling searched written records for Anthony Patience – Soriano’s birth name. She kept the search to herself. About 10 years ago, Soriano placed the following ad on Adoption Registry Connect’s website: “I was born July 12, 1982 in a military hospital in Twentynine Palms. From what clues I’ve been able to gather, my birth father’s last name was Patience. I was adopted through a family friend, my current father’s sister Cindy. All I seek is some kind of closure, as my entire life all I’ve been wondering is how my birth family has been doing and if they would like to connect in any way.”
Espinesen’s partner found the post in 2014. She reached out to him. And the rest is just a wonderful family story. “I was nervous coming off of the plane,” Soriano said as the exited the airport. “Now – I feel warm, hungry and mostly happy.”
Thumbs up to Juan Vargas Castillo, a farmworker, and Jesus Fafolla, a foreman, for discovering the remains of Debbie Hawk and reporting what they found. She was reported missing in 2006 and her former husband, Dave Hawk, was convicted of her murder though the body never was found. Castillo found part of a jawbone and another bone while working a barley field near Stratford. Initially he thought they were animal bones, but he couldn’t stop thinking about it.
On March 18, he told his foreman, Tafolla, what he had seen. They went to the site and found the rest of a jawbone and a leg bone. Tafollo realized the remains were not animal bones when he saw fillings in the molars. Despite convictions for her murder and embezzlement of his children’s trust fund, Dave Hawk never revealed the location of the body so she could be respectfully and properly cared for. Debbie Hawk’s family is finally, gracefully, relieved.
Thumbs up to Mai Der Vang, 34, an English teacher at Clovis Community College, for winning the prestigious national 2016 Walt Whitman Award. The award for her manuscript, “Afterland,” comes with a $5,000 cash prize and a six-week residency in Umbria, Italy. The award is presented by the Academy of American Poets to writers have had never had a book of poetry published. Her book will be published next year by Graywolf Press. Vang, born and raised in Fresno, is Hmong American and her book is a collection of poems about the Secret War in Laos during the Vietnam War era.
Thumbs up to UnitedHealthcare for providing 100 Easter baskets filled with goodies to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County. The baskets full of books, art supplies, gift cards, toys, games, snacks and treats will be delivered this week to children ages 4-12. The clubs operate an after-school program that supports academic success, character, citizenship and healthy lifestyles. UnitedHealthcare provides full health benefit programs.
Thumbs up to Mohammad Hobab of Deli Delicious restaurants in Fresno for being named Restaurateur of the Year by the Fresno chapter of the California Restaurant Association. The group recently honored 28 restaurants and other food companies during its Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards. Also winning awards chosen by 2,500 restaurant industry peers were Stefanelli Distributing Inc., beverage purveyor/supplier of the year, and Yosemite Linen Supply, purveyor/supplier of the year.