Off the bat, my title means nothing! I am just not wanting to take the time to invest in coming up with something catchy and creative. So “got milk” is borrowed. Of course it has relevance because our family goes through milk so quickly that my neighbors are often checking in with that very question!
A couple things; I am slow to approve first time comments because I forget that I have them waiting. Or I forget that is how I have the blog set up. I will get to it, though it takes a while, but once your first comment is approved you will no longer need mediation for subsequent commentary. Also, I have written a letter of gratitude toward our business community. I have been petitioning our local, city paper to run it as well as the Orange County register. However, getting anyone to respond is challenging. So I am going to put the letter here in case it is never published for the appropriate people to see. Not that this group is inappropriate, just that I am hoping to give a little “free publicity” and recognition to the businesses mentioned. Anyway, here it is:
A Community Effort
By Rivka Bent, 9/2011
Back in February of this year my son, Cole, returned home to San Juan Capistrano from serving in the United States Marine Corps. In March, one month after his return, thanks to symptoms from hemorrhage, we learned he had a rare, cancerous brain tumor on his brain stem propelling him into immediate surgery. During the two months hospital stay and these past four months of rehabilitation, our family has had the privilege of experiencing the generosity and compassion of so many people. As is customary with illness of any kind, family and friends rally around and support the familial unit being affected. However, in this letter, it is the generosity of the community at large that I wish to highlight.
Because Cole is military affiliated, there are many avenues of correspondence which are required. Faxes, certified letters, copies, over-nighted documents, etc. I cannot thank Bill and Susan Odelson, of the Paper Annex in Marbella Plaza, enough for their unconditional help. They have established, “Cole’s Tab”; a non-existent account where they keep the balance due at $0.00. Yet they weekly fax, copy, and mail out a multitude of information on Cole’s behalf without giving it a second thought. Additionally, Bill, a veteran himself, has kept a watchful eye over my correspondence methodology to ensure every “i” is dotted and “t” is crossed. Who would have thought our local mail-station/stationary counter would care so much? While our balance due on ‘Cole’s Tab’ is zero, our debt of gratitude can never be repaid.
Another fine example of giving comes from our neighboring city of San Clemente. Back in June I took Cole to the Ole Hanson Beach Club to see if an aquatic class could accommodate him and his rehabilitative needs. The manager of the pool, Marty, generously took Cole’s cause into consideration and welcomed him to utilize any and all of their equipment. On that first meeting we were also greeted by one of the instructors, Vicky, who offered her rehabilitative knowledge and expertise to Cole, twice a week for the entire summer; free of charge. Debra and Cane, other instructors who teach at the Ole Hanson pool, were considerate enough to share their rented time in the water, allowing Vicky to work her magic with Cole which ultimately improved his strength and balance. Everyone at Ole Hanson looked upon Cole with a compassion that brought me to tears every time we went. As with Bill and Susan, our gratitude to all of the people we encountered this summer while at Ole Hanson is immeasurable and forever felt.
In addition to the two aforementioned community establishments, there are multiple community members who have offered support. For instance, Buddy the owner of Frio our downtown gelato/frozen yogurt hub, has shown compassion towards our family and slipped Cole a gelato “on the house” once or twice. An associate working at Kinko’s, learned he was photocopying Cole’s medical chart to send overnight to the VA and decided to take the expense out of his own pocket. There is more than one Costco employee praying for Cole’s recovery as well as Greg from Staples who has faithfully been praying for Cole since his deployment to Afghanistan in 2010. Professors and staff from Saddleback College inquire often into Cole’s progress along with Professors Carmenmara and Beatrice who visited Cole in ICU more than once. Boy Scout Troop 724 has come alongside our family with generosity and hands on assistance. Optometrist, Dr. Joe Heinrich, has donated an eye exam, and Ocampo’s Landscaping is keeping up our yard. The librarian at the San Juan Library, the owners from Hummingbird Café, and Arthur from the Old Barn have given us much encouragement during the difficult days in our journey.
The concept of “it takes a village to raise children” is credited to Hillary Clinton; however, the practice of it falls into the hands of our southland community. Though we have traffic congestion daily, and frustrations that come from living in crowded areas, we also have a community support system that assuages the tension of gridlock and smoothes the wrinkles of our differences. We are a community of varying races, faiths, political views, and parenting styles. Yet when challenges arrive, we become of the same blood and of the same purpose. Our village is strong because it is full of compassionate and beautiful people. We are honored to be a part of it.