It’s hard to know where to begin with our Saturday roses/raspberries ritual. It’s been one of those weeks.
We’ve handed out roses to those who pitched in to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey. But there’s been a recent development that requires another visit in the aftermath of a storm that swamped Houston — NFL player J.J. Watt’s fund-raising efforts for Harvey victims.
Watt plays for the Houston Texans, and he decided to use his social media platforms to seek donations to help those who were flooded out. His goal was to raise $200,000.
Here’s the rose-worthy part — by week’s end, Watt’s efforts had raised more than $27 million. There was one big, $5-million chunk from a single donor, but the rest came in small amounts.
Pro athletes are known for their inflated egos, but Watt’s effort on behalf of Houstonians is a whole different story.
Despite what national and world politics might lead one to believe, there are many heroes among us, and many of them fly under the media’s radar.
One of those is Senior Airman Lanimarie Baclian, who’s been volunteering since February with Vandenberg Air Force Base’s AADD, which stands for Airmen Against Drunk Driving.
Members of our military are, believe it or not, ordinary people in the sense they work hard and play hard. Sometimes, after a tough week of carrying out orders and completing assignments, they like to unwind, which can and often does involve a couple of drinks with friends.
What the AADD volunteers do is man the phones, and when they get a call from a soldier or airman who may have had one too many, the AADD folks drive the call-in back home.
We named Senior Airman Baclian in this piece, and for her a bouquet of roses, but we could have named dozens of other AADD volunteers. And Baclian said it best:
“Driving under the influence can have a significant impact on other people. A person is putting other peoples’ lives at risk when they decide to drink and drive. My mom instilled in me at a young age that when you make that choice and you end up crippling or killing someone, that feeling stays with you forever. No amount of good will bring that person back to life. You may think you're fine, but it's not worth your life and someone else's as a result of poor decision-making.”
A rose-worthy program, for sure.
The big event hasn’t even taken place, but we have the roses ready and waiting for its sponsors and participants.
We’re talking about the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which is planned for Saturday, Sept. 30, at Waller Park.
Alzheimer’s has morphed into a modern-day epidemic. It is the nation’s sixth-leading cause of death. As Americans age, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease will rise rapidly, increasing far beyond the more than the 5 million Americans suffering now — including more than 10,000 in Santa Barbara County.
As anyone with a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s knows, this disease affects an entire family.
And finally, a rose to the Santa Maria Recreation and Parks Department’s effort to reach out to young men struggling to find the right path in life.
The department’s First Tie Initiative does just as the name implies — offers young men their first necktie, the international symbol of business success. With the tie comes two days of tutorials on how to become a productive, law-abiding member of society.
Because we all know, every employer is crazy about a sharp-dressed man.