As the fall season rolls in, and leaves gently fall I find
myself reflecting on the past year.
As the fall season rolls in, and leaves gently fall I find myself reflecting on the past year. Many of us focus on the big happenings of the world that make us admire those who serve their communities and country and do great things to make our lives better. I, too, have found kind-hearted people who do great things without all the fanfare right here in our own community. They are small acts of kindness that might have been overlooked, but are deserving of recognition.
Donald Giles who has driven a bus in our district for 14 years is one who goes beyond his call of duty. He transports many of our disabled students to and from school tending to their specific needs. But Donald does not stop there. When his friends are in need, he jumps in to help. When a co-worker broke her arm, he was there to keep her spirits up with frequent visits and drove her to run errands. When another was diagnosed with arthritis, he was there from the start to assist her with tasks. My family and I have benefited from his generosity also as he continues to assist my parents who are both disabled like myself, do some of the more difficult home chores that we no longer can do.
I also know of two women who work at Gilroy High School who go the extra distance for others. Today’s teachers and their assistants have full plates as they prepare daily classes and tend to their many students. Mrs. Donelle Dickey and Mrs. Marilyn Lerma work with Special Education students.
They help their student’s face and overcome the challenges that lie before them and their disabilities in their studies and in their daily lives. Recently a family of one of their students was going to need to find a place to move or possibly have to leave Gilroy soon. They saw how distressed the student was at having to leave and miss the chance to graduate. Both women sprang into action looking for options. They contacted local agencies to seek assistance and even took time out from their own schedules to transport the family to their appointments.
And when they say “Many hands make work light,” they must have been referring to my garbage man, Eddie Parraz. The day after Halloween some who came into our neighborhood to trick or treat left a messy trick; garbage and rubbish that littered a section of Welburn Avenue. My Dad woke up early for his daily walk, and was saddened to see the mess. Many of them leave early for work and would not have the time to clean up in front of their homes, so since Dad is retired, he decided to take on this large task alone. Eddie, who was collecting the garbage, as he does every Friday, jumped right in to speed up the process that would have taken longer due to my father’s disability. He quickly disposed of the piles Dad was gathering up, and continued to come back in between driving his route until the mess was completely picked up. Keep in mind that this part of Welburn Avenue has heavy traffic speeding by which made this job more challenging.
That is what makes these people in our community heroes. They do not need to travel to some big city, or foreign land to help others. Nor will the deeds they do out of the goodness of their hearts be on the evening news. Instead they see a person in need and in their own special way help to lighten the load. People are always in need, especially at this time of the year, and I hope our community will look at these fine role models and examples of kindness and risk reaching out to others in need or too proud to ask for assistance.
In closing, this Thanksgiving I have a lot to give thanks for: Eddie I am thankful you have my street on your route; Mrs. Dickey and Mrs. Lerma thank you for caring about the whole student; Donald I am proud to call you my dear friend who is there in a time of need; and Dad I am honored to be your daughter! You are all some of Gilroy’s heroes that makes this place we call home great!
Jennifer A. Ortiz, Gilroy
Submitted Monday, Nov. 18