Home / Local (page 22)

Local

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.”

Memories of Childhood

Dr. Jean Peacock is pictured with a quilt from her grandmother Mrs. Ella Lee of Sulphur Springs, Texas. Her grandmother was 96 when she died in 1978. The Anthropology Museum at California State University, San Bernardino opened an exhibition this week called, “Re/Collect: Memories of Childhood.” Check out the museum at: “Re/Collect: Memories of Childhood, Curated by Dr. Arianna Huhn & student Assistant Curators,” anthro.csusb.edu/resources/anthropology_museum.htm.

 

Black Minds Matter Briefing Addresses State of California’s Black Students

PASADENA, CA – Over a hundred community members attended an informational briefing on California’s nearly one million Black youth, hosted by Assemblymember Chris Holden (AD – 41) and The Education Trust–West at Pasadena City College. The “Black Minds Matter” briefing examined the recently published Education Trust-West report, “Black Minds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black Children in California.”

“Over the past 165 years, court cases and policy decisions have shaped the educational experiences of Black children,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden.  “Despite some progress, the unfortunate reality is that opportunity and achievement gaps continue to persist, leaving California’s nearly one million Black youth under age 25 facing an uphill battle to get the education they desire.”

“Black students are the least likely to graduate high school in four years and the most likely to be placed in remedial, non-credit bearing courses in college,” said Ryan J. Smith, Executive Director, and The Education Trust–West. “We can dismantle the obstacles placed in front of California’s Black students – if we collectively believe it’s possible.”

The panel of experts and guest speakers highlighted the findings and promising practices legislators and educators can consider in addressing disparities and inequities in access, opportunity and achievement.

“I agree with the report. We need to do more, and we need to do better,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson. “We are implementing several specific recommendations in the report, increasing funding, particularly for the neediest students, and increased local control. We are focused on equity, working with stakeholders to ensure high-quality education for all students.

Recommendations for school districts leaders in the report focus on expanding access, improving school climate and strengthening and supporting meaningful authentic family engagement efforts. Black Minds Matter stresses the need to use data to identify gaps in access to rigorous courses and target more resources and opportunities to students who are struggling academically. To further address closing these gaps, districts can build and strengthen formal partnerships between districts and community-based organizations representing African American communities.

“I applaud Assemblymember Holden and Assemblymember Weber for displaying the very type of leadership and firm commitment that we need to close opportunity and achievement gaps for all of California’s students,” said Smith.

Participants in the briefing included Chris Holden, Assemblymember for 41st Assembly District; Ryan Smith, Executive Director for Education Trust – West; Tom Torlakson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction; Yvette Gullatt , Vice Provost and Chief Outreach Officer for the University of California Office of the President; Dr. Christopher D. Jimenez y West, Instructor, Social Science Division, Pasadena City College; John Pointer, Student Body President, John Muir High School; Felita Kealing, Pasadena Unified School District African-American Parent Council; Trudell Skinner, Principal, Blair High School; Dr. Mack Hines, Pasadena Unified School District African-American Student Success Initiative; and Darvin Jackson, Monrovia Unified School District, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources.