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Author Archives: WSS News

Sean Rooks, former NBA Player, Graduate of Fontana High School Dies of a Heart Attack

By Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, Yahoo Sports

Hours after interviewing for an assistant-coaching job with the New York Knicks on Tuesday, former NBA center Sean Rooks collapsed and died in a Philadelphia restaurant.
Rooks, considered a warm and engaging gentleman within the basketball community, had been a player-development coach for the past two years with the Philadelphia 76ers.
“It is with deep sadness and overwhelming grief that we mourn the sudden loss of my son, Sean,” his mother, Deborah Brown, said in a statement released by the 76ers on Tuesday night. “Our family asks that our privacy be respected as we grieve during this incredibly difficult time.”
Sean Rocks, 46, had traveled to New York and back on the train Tuesday, meeting with Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek, general manager Steve Mills and president Phil Jackson about becoming an assistant coach. Rooks and Knicks officials had departed the meeting enthusiastic that Rooks might join Hornacek’s staff and that an agreement could be reached soon, league sources said.
He had gone to dinner in Philadelphia after returning from his trip to New York. He had been preparing to leave Wednesday for an NBA-sponsored trip to China. He also had an offer to become head coach of the Charlotte Hornets’ new NBA Development League affiliate.
Rocks had a 12-year NBA career, including stops with the Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers, New Orleans and Orlando Magic. After an honorable mention All-America career at the University of Arizona, Rooks was the 30th overall pick in the 1992 NBA draft.
As a coach, Rooks had been diligent in starting at the bottom of the pro basketball profession and working his way up. He spent five years in the D-League, including stops in Sioux Falls and Bakersfield, before landing a player-development job with the 76ers in 2014.

Our House Grief Support Center, a Los Angeles Nonprofit, Is Offering Two Weekend-Long, Free Camp Experiences for Children Ages 6-17

LOS ANGELES, CA- OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center is hosting two weekends at Camp Erin-LA this summer (June 10-12 and August 19-21) at the scenic Camp Bloomfield in Malibu. Camp Erin-LA is a weekend-long camp experience for children and teens ages 6 to 17 who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling, or guardian in the past 3 years. Camp is free of charge for all children and combines traditional camp activities with grief support, education, and remembrance projects. Typical fun and engaging camp favorites such as rock climbing, swimming, arts and crafts, and campfires are interspersed with projects and experiences used to facilitate expression of feelings, memorialize their loved one who died, and promote healing.

When campers arrive on Friday, they are greeted with open arms by the dozens of grief specialists and trained volunteers who guide the campers through a series of bonding and grief-related exercises, as well as fun high-energy physical activities. They begin their camp journey with an intimate Friday evening ceremony where each camper shares their name, the name of their loved one who died, and places a photo of that person on a “memory board.”   Saturday evening’s Luminary Ceremony is equally powerful and another opportunity to come together to say goodbye to their loved one by writing a message or drawing on a lantern that’s lit and set adrift across the pool. OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center recognizes every person’s grief is unique in duration and intensity, and that commonalities of experience strengthen the value of a grief support group in helping the healing process. “By offering Camp Erin-LA, OUR HOUSE puts a support system into place, offering a safe space to talk and providing the tools to cope with their grief,” said Michele Prince, Executive Director of OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center. “Camp might be the only opportunity they have to work on their grief with other kids.”

Camp Erin is an initiative created and funded by The Moyer Foundation in Seattle, WA, a non-profit organization established by Major League All-Star pitcher Jamie Moyer and his wife, Karen.  Camp Erin is named in memory of Erin Metcalf, a friend of the Moyers who lost her battle to cancer at age 17.   Camp Erin-LA was featured in an Emmy award-winning HBO documentary “One Last Hug: Three Days at Grief Camp”, which was produced in association with The Moyer Foundation and OUR HOUSE Grief Support Center.

For more information about Camp Erin-LA, please visit www.ourhouse-grief.org/volunteer-opportunities/camp-erin-los-angeles.

Omni Team Effort Reunites Missing Man with Family

Derman Redman

Derman Redman

Sixteen-year veteran Omnitrans Coach Operator (CO) Derman Redman was taking break one recent day at the San Bernardino Transit Center, and stopped to catch up with fellow CO Urbanita Ramon. She mentioned a flyer that she’d seen, asking for help finding a missing local man with developmental disabilities. He’d been away from home for two weeks.

“It lay heavy on my heart,” said Urbanita. “My brother is physically and mentally disabled, and I feel a kinship to people who live with disabilities. That’s what made me share the information with my fellow drivers – I even posted it online to help get the word out.”

The story also captured Derman’s attention, and he asked what the man looked like so that he could keep an eye out for him. Urbanita’s description sounded familiar; when she showed Derman the photo from the missing person flier, he couldn’t believe it.

“I know that guy!” said Derman. He recognized Roger, a regular passenger from his days driving Route 10. “But two weeks, wow. That’s a long time. Who knows what could have happened by now?”

Derman went on his way, but the story stayed with him all day, through his shift, and that night at home. Roger rode Derman’s bus for almost 10 years, and they had developed a good rapport.

“He was always friendly and nice,” Derman remembered. “Very quiet, but he would give you the shirt off of his back if you asked him.”

At work on his route the next morning, Derman pulled up to a stop and opened the doors as usual. There was a man waiting who looked a bit the worse for wear – his socks were muddy, and his hair was long and unkempt. But Derman thought he recognized him. He did a double take. Yes, he was pretty sure – the man was Roger!

“To be honest, the thought crossed my mind, ‘Did I summon this guy?’” Derman said. “I couldn’t move at first. Then I went up to him and asked, ‘Roger, is that you?’”

Roger simply said, “Yes,” as if all was normal.

“Are you lost?”

“No.” Very firm.

“Are you sure you’re not lost?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”

“When was the last time you went home?”

“I don’t know.”

“Are you sure you’re not lost?”

“I’m trying to get home right now,” Roger said. But Derman realized that he was at the wrong bus stop.

At that point, Derman decided to take action. Asking his bus full of passengers to “please wait, I’ll be right back,” Derman told Roger to “sit tight, and don’t move.”  Trusting Derman, Roger stayed put. Derman ran as fast as he could into the transit center, to find Supervisor Ricky Williams. He burst into the break room, out of breath, shouting “Ricky, I found that guy! The missing guy!”

Running back out to his stop to check on Roger and his passengers, Derman saw the missing person flyer on Roger hanging from the fence.

“I kept looking at the flyer and at the man. Could it really be him? And it was,” said a relieved Derman.

Ricky contacted Roger’s caregiver, Brigette Flowers, who drove all the way from Riverside to pick him up. She and her husband had been out looking for Roger every night for 12 days. He now is reunited with his family and recovering well from his ordeal.

“We got lots of calls during that time from people who said they saw Roger, but we never could pin him down,” Brigette said. “It’s drivers like Derman who see people like Roger every day, and care about them.”

Brigette isn’t Derman’s only fan. When he arrived home that night, he told his family about what had happened during his eventful day. “Daddy, you’re like a hero!” his daughter said.

“No, we just do a lot of things out there,” said Derman, trying to play down his role. But she wasn’t having it. “No, Daddy, anything could have happened to that man. You did a good thing.”