For 30 years my father worked in the personnel department at Kaiser Hospital in Fontana and over the years he learned that the people of any corporation or company are its driving force. A company is only as good (or great) as the people who run it and work for it, he often told me during dinnertime conversations or on one of our many trips to Stockwell & Binney, our local business supply store at the time. And like corporations, communities are only as strong as the individuals who call that community home. Last week I had the opportunity to attend several community events that reminded me just how rich our community is in “human resources.”
Unforgettables Caring Hearts Awards in Redlands
For four years, Tim Evans and his Unforgettables Foundation have honored “caring hearts”, those individuals, companies, and organizations that have contributed their time, talent, and other resources to helping others. This year’s awardees included people like Dorene Kloby whose “Cinderella’s Dream” organization provides donated prom dresses to girls with life threatening diseases. She partners with licensed cosmetologists to help the girls prepare for their magical evening. Or Lea Cash whose Brightest Star Foundation helps build the dreams and self-esteem of kids in the foster care system and provides services to those who have aged-out of that system and find themselves on their own without any family support.
Riverside’s Black History Parade
While the intent of the annual parade is to celebrate Black culture and Riverside’s African-American heritage, I attend every year to also socialize with other civically engaged individuals and leaders. This year was no different. I had a chance to talk to Jalani Bakari who is preparing to take a group of local high school students to China as part of the Riverside International Relations Council, Fire Chief Michael Moore, and our top law enforcement leaders Riverside Police Chief Sergio Diaz and Riverside County Sheriff Stan Sniff. I chatted briefly with Chief Diaz and parade organizer Craig Goodwin about plans to improve the relationship between the police and young African-American males through a mentorship program, and then I enjoyed the food.
The African-American Coalition of Moreno Valley
Honored at Moreno Valley’s African- American Coalition Valentine’s Ball were individuals in Riverside and Moreno Valley who have made outstanding contributions in the areas of education, business, history, legacy & tradition, and civil rights: educator Debra Johnson, small business owner Robert Bratton, Dr. E.M. Abdulmumin of the DuBois Institute, NAACP President Woodie Rucker- Hughes, and retired US Air Force Master Sergeant Buford Johnson were the honorees. Johnson was honored for his contributions to African-American history as a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen. He was the first African-American Jet Crew Chief to serve in a combat zone. The African-American Coalition, founded by Dr. Denise Fleming, has grown to over 200 members and organizes a number of community service programs from drug and alcohol abuse prevention classes to scholarship programs and concerned citizens meetings.
It is the people of our region who make the community good and who can, as we continue into the future, make it even greater.