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Stay Calm And Treasure the ‘Helpers’
A cornucopia of notes, quotes and random thoughts . . .
With every new terrorist attack, these words from Fred Rogers – the late host of the children’s TV show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” – become meaningful once more to people of all ages:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.’ You will always find people who are helping.”
Before the recent bombing in Manchester, England, I could not have picked 24-year-old “Pop Princess” Ariana Grande out of a lineup with Snow White, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle and Mulan.
However, two weeks after the heinous attack outside the arena where she was performing, Grande proved she is more than a pretty-faced singer. For starters, she helped organize an event that raised more than 12 million dollars for the deceased victims and their families, the survivors, and first responders.
Perhaps an even greater, and more difficult, thing Grande did was be a “helper” by visiting with the children and adults still in the hospital – and with the grieving parents of the young victims who died.
On a much lighter note, I am not a fan of rainfall showerheads – they make shampoo get in my eyes.
Speaking of shampoo, nobody asked me, but following the directions on the bottle – “Wash. Rinse. Repeat.” – is as harebrained as hand-washing dishes after removing them from the dishwasher.
Speaking of harebrained, organizers of the Springfield Soccer Club in Nebraska disqualified an 8-year-old Mili Hernandez, and her 11-and-under team, from its tournament because she has short-cropped hair and “looks like a boy.”
Harebrained, and heartless, tournament officials stuck to their decision even when the parents of tearful Mili produced their daughter’s insurance card to prove she is a girl.
Proof once again that youth sports should ban adults from being within 400 yards of all fields, courts, tracks and swimming pools.
I find it hard to believe how overused the word “unbelievable” is.
Ben DeWitt’s dedication to philanthropy is, I dare say, unbelievable.
Over the past seven years as Race Director of the “Mountains 2 Beach Marathon” from Ojai to Ventura, DeWitt, now age 30, has helped donate more than $250,000 to the event’s charity partners.
This year’s M2B Marathon on May 28 generated nearly $65,000 for the Ventura Unified School District, Ventura Education Partnership, Ventura Hillsides Conservancy, Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura Community Partnerships Foundation, Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, and the high school cross country programs at Nordhoff, Ventura, Buena and Foothill Tech.
Additionally, 600 pounds of food were donated to Foodshare and 500 pounds of clothing were given to Goodwill.
“As a Ventura native and product of VUSD, I am proud and extremely humbled to be able to give back to my community,” says Ben, a “helper” who makes Mister DeWitt’s Neighborhood a better place.
It takes worn-out running shoes to finish a marathon – and worn-out paintbrushes to create a masterpiece, worn-out pencils to master calculus, worn-out tools-of-any-trade to reach your goals.
Nobody asked me, but considering how rare it seems to be, I think the term should be “uncommon sense.”
Let me finish full circle with a story from the horrific London Bridge attack that would have made Mr. Rogers smile through the tears.
According to “The Sun” British newspaper, 33-year-old Richard Angell was with friends eating dinner at the Arabica Bar and Kitchen when the terror attacks occurred outside the restaurant.
After the panicked customers and staff eventually emerged from safe hiding, Angell refused to let the devils win, defiantly vowing: “I’ll be going back to the same restaurant to finish my meal, pay my bill and give them a double tip. They cared about us and our safety.”
He added: “If me having a G&T (gin and tonic) in a nice bar, flirting with handsome men, upsets them – I’m going to do it more.”
A “Keep Calm And Carry On” attitude that is so perfect, it is unbelievable.
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Woody Woodburn writes a weekly column for The Ventura County Star and can be contacted at WoodyWriter@gmail.com.
Check out my memoir WOODEN & ME: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach and Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece” and my essay collection “Strawberries in Wintertime: Essays on Life, Love, and Laughter” …
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