S E C T I O N
Community S TO R I E S A B O U T P E O P L E A N D E V E N T S I N T H E C O M M U N I T Y
The author of this story, Barbara Wood, is a resident of Woodside who has been a Red Cross volunteer since 2006 and a Red Cross disaster responder since 2008. By Barbara Wood Special to the Almanac
n Saturday, July 6, at about 11:30 a.m., Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crashed at San Francisco International Airport and burst into flames. Within minutes of the news, the local Red Cross responded and by the end of the day had nearly 70 volunteers and employees hard at work. A little more than 14 hours later and 16 miles away, at 1:45 a.m. Sunday, July 7, a six-alarm fire was reported in a 72-unit apartment complex in Redwood City, displacing more than 100 residents. Within hours the Red Cross was staffing, first, an evacuation center and then a shelter for those residents who had no place to go. By the end of the day nearly 40 Red Cross workers had joined in the response.
It took 100 firefighters from eight agencies (including the Menlo Park and Woodside fire protection districts), 23 engines, five ladder trucks and 4 million gallons of water to put out the fire, according to Malcolm Smith, a spokesman for Redwood City. Both Red Cross responses continued for weeks. This is the story of how local volunteers helped the Red Cross handle the two incidents. ‘Jill’ Chen-Kuendig’s story
When Red Cross disaster mental health volunteer Chih-Mei “Jill” Chen-Kuendig learned there had just been a crash at SFO, she knew what to do, because in September she had been part of an airline crash drill. Ms. Chen-Kuendig, a marriage and family therapist doing post-doctoral work with traumatized children who speaks Mandarin, Taiwanese and some Cantonese, was soon sent to the airport. She volunteered without hesitation, despite the fact that she had both an See DOUBLE DUTY, page 19
How local Red Cross volunteers responded to a simultaneous double disaster of an airline crash and apartment-complex fire
Photo by Red Cross volunteer Donna Stroop
Red Cross mobile feeding units at the airport provided food, beverages and snacks to the responders, investigators and partnering agencies after the July 6 crash, serving more than 2,300 meals and nearly 3,600 snacks. The crashed airliner can be seen in the background. July 31, 2013 N TheAlmanacOnline.com N The Almanac N 17
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C O M M U N I T Y DOUBLE DUTY continued from page 17
arm and a leg in a cast after a fall at home. Ms. Chen-Kuendig soon found herself in high demand, especially by many of the nearly 70 Chinese students, ages 13-17, who were on the flight. “They really needed someone who speaks their language,” she says. She also translated and offered counseling for other passengers, the FBI, the airlines and Homeland Security. She assured those she was helping that “the Red Cross will be there for them,” she says. She also helped them find others to continue working with them once home. “I am just a bridge, helping them connect to resources,” says Ms. Chen-Kuendig, a Montara resident. “For me, I am just honored to serve those people and be a good helping hand for them.” Despite already having volunteered many hours at the airport, Ms. Chen-Kuendig continued to help there through the night in the center where passengers were being interviewed. At 8 a.m. the next morning (Sunday, July 7), she returned to the Red Cross headquarters that had been set up in Burlingame. There, other Red Cross volunteers had to convince Ms. ChenKuendig to go home and sleep before returning to help again, which she did on Monday, after work, when the families of the students who had died on the flight arrived and needed her counsel. Then, on Wednesday evening after work, Ms. Chen-Kuendig spent five hours at the National Guard Armory in Redwood City that had been set up as a shelter for people left homeless by the apartment-complex fire. “I was really able to connect with the residents,” she says. Red Cross volunteers were on-site around the clock, helped by volunteers from local Lions clubs who were trained as shelter workers. “I think it’s just teamwork,” Ms. Chen-Kuendig says. Peggy Bogart’s story
Woodside resident Peggy Bogart had taken Red Cross disaster training classes but had been in the Burlingame Red Cross office only once before she found herself helping with a major disaster the day after the crash. In two weeks, more than 200 volunteers from the Bay Area and other Northern California towns, and as far away as Los Angeles, pitched in to help with both emergencies. “Some people just reach so deep to help other people,” she says. “It
Chuck Nile’s story
Photos by River Gurtin
Top: Red Cross volunteer Geoff Ziman assists a resident after the Redwood City apartment-complex fire. Below: The Red Cross set up a portable headquarters outside the Redwood City Armory, which served as a shelter for those displaced by the fire.
makes you want to help also.” On Monday afternoon, July 8, when she was scheduled to resume her caseworker training, Ms. Bogart instead went to Redwood City to help set up a client service center near the shelter. “At the same time there was that big plane crash there was a big fire right in our backyard that felt really personal,” Ms. Bogart says. “San Mateo County got a big hit.” Ms. Bogart says that her “baptism by fire,” inspired her. “Rather than frightening me, it encouraged me,” she says. She plans to do more Red Cross training classes and get more local experience and then volunteer for a national disaster. Paul Tarantino’s story
Menlo Park’s Paul Tarantino has long worked in the food industry so volunteering to help the Red Cross feed its clients is natural for him. He spent four days helping feed the residents
and workers in the Redwood City shelter. Mr. Tarantino says his many contacts in the food business have helped him plan how the local Red Cross chapter will feed very large numbers of people after a major disaster. Food for the shelter residents, he says, came from donations by organizations such as the Salvation Army, St. Anthony’s Padua Dining Room and the Lions Club, or was purchased at a discount from local restaurants. “We got lots of positive feedback,” about the food, Mr. Tarantino says, including a round of applause from the residents on Thursday night, their last night in the shelter. “I like giving people a nice healthy meal because it makes them feel better,” he says. The Red Cross says it provided 2,300 meals and more than 3,400 snacks after the airline crash and 3,128 meals after the apartment building fire.
Chuck Nile, who recently moved to Woodside from Atherton, has been a Red Cross volunteer for 12 years, helping local residents displaced by fires and teaching Red Cross partners to be shelter workers. On the night after the plane crash, he was assigned to a family assistance center, set up at a hotel near the airport, where he relayed information from the center to the Red Cross. Mr. Nile says he was able to meet with Deborah Hersman, chairwoman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “I was really impressed with the NTSB,” he says. The Red Cross had mental health volunteers on site and helped airline passengers replace lost medications and prescription eyeglasses. “We were just there for support,” he says. A few days later Mr. Nile worked in the Red Cross headquarters relaying information gathered by Red Cross representatives in the airport’s emergency operations center. Next, he was sent to the Redwood City shelter, where the Red Cross had set up a clientassistance center that enabled displaced residents to get help from many organizations at one location. Many organizations worked with the Red Cross on the response, ranging from the Fair Oaks Community Center and InnVision Shelter Network to the Office of Emergency Services, Salvation Army, and Hope Animal-Assisted Crisis Response. My Story
In the past five years, I’ve helped with nearly a dozen national Red Cross operations after hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. But that didn’t stop
me from cursing at my car radio when, after having worked until 11 p.m. on the first day of the Red Cross response to the airline crash, I heard about the Redwood City apartment building fire. “@#%*!,” I said. “We can’t possibly handle one more thing!” I should have known better. As an organization that daily responds to disasters both large and small, the American Red Cross plans, trains and practices how to handle all of them ... even two disasters at the same time. While I slept that night, the Red Cross had sent volunteers from all over the Bay Area to help with a fire less than four miles from my home. After one more day in the Red Cross headquarters helping with the airline crash, I went to Redwood City to work in the shelter and service center. There I was impressed to see how the partnerships our Red Cross chapter has formed helped the more than 100 residents of the building get back on their feet and find new homes. The task is a difficult one because the building was low-income housing and our county has a shortage of affordable rentals. That work is still ongoing while the Red Cross continues to prepare its volunteers and the communities it serves to be ready for the next disaster that may strike. A
About the Cover: Local Red Cross volunteers, from left: Peggy Bogart from Woodside, Paul Tarantino from Menlo Park, Barbara Wood from Woodside, Chuck Nile from Woodside and Chih-Mei Jill Chen-Kuendig from Montara. Photo by Michelle Le/The Almanac.
How to help ■ Visit tinyurl.com/Red-201 for information about the free training the Red Cross offers disaster volunteers. The Red Cross also needs volunteers to help with blood services, to assist military service members and their families, and to teach lifesaving skills. ■ Go to tinyurl.com/Red-202 for information on what assistance the residents of the Woodside Road apartment building need. ■ Visit tinyurl.com/Red-203 to donate to the local Red Cross chapter and help it respond to local disasters. ■ Visit tinyurl.com/Red-205 to donate to the American Red Cross and help it respond to national disasters. ■ Visit tinyurl.com/Red-207 to donate to the American Red Cross to help it with all its endeavors, including blood services, assisting military members and their families, and teaching lifesaving skills.
July 31, 2013 N TheAlmanacOnline.com N The Almanac N 19
C O M M U N I T Y
Thomas John Schafer, DDS, MSD May 14, 1934 – July 12, 2013
Surrounded by his loving family at the Veterans Hospice Hospital in Palo Alto, California, Tom lost his battle with gastro-esophageal cancer on July 12, 2013. He was born in West Allis, Wisconsin, to Ann Nystrom Schafer and John Kenneth Schafer. Tom had a younger sister, Sally Patricia. During the second grade, the family moved to Ottawa, Illinois, where his dad was the store manager of Sears and the police commissioner. They later moved to La Grange, Illinois, when his dad became head of Sears trucking in the Chicago area. A varsity football player, defensive end and offensive tackle, Tom graduated from Lyons Township High School in 1952. He attended the University of Illinois in Champagne, Illinois, was a member of the ATO fraternity, and went on to the University of Illinois Dental School in Chicago, graduating in 1958. In the fall of 1958, Tom joined the Army as a captain, completing his dental internship at William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, Texas. In 1959, he was transferred to Korea for thirteen months, doing general dentistry at Camp Kaiser on the 38th parallel and then oral surgery at the main hospital in Seoul. He spent the last two years of his army career at Fort Ord in California, continuing with general dentistry and periodontics. It was during that time that he met his wife, Sharon Weigel, in Carmel in 1961. “He had a particular love of American Airlines and their stewardesses,” says Sharon, “and I just happened to be one of them.” In 1962, Tom entered Baylor Dental University in Dallas and received a Master of Science in periodontology. Tom and Sharon were married in 1963 in the chapel at SMU. They returned to the Bay Area in 1964 and Tom started private periodontal practice in Menlo Park, moved his ofﬁce ﬁve years later to Welch Road in Palo Alto, and became Board Certiﬁed. He served as President of the Mid-Peninsula Dental Society and belonged to the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology. After
practicing for 34 years, he retired in 1992. Tom and Sharon lived in Portola Valley for six years and in Atherton for 41 years, joining the Menlo Circus Club and the Sharon Heights Country Club. Over the years, they hosted spectacular theme parties for their many friends (40th birthday, Egyptian, disco, tennis, opera, Christmas, and “glad to be alive after a heart attack”). In retirement, Tom enjoyed social tennis, golf, couples’ bridge, and many school reunions. He and Sharon cruised and traveled the world. At home, Tom found pleasure in gardening and was an all-round Mr. Fix-it—a one-man yellow pages. An exceptional innovator, he created remarkable indoor-outdoor features long before smart houses; a car entering the driveway, for example, triggered their music system. Friends remember Tom’s easygoing manner, his warm, accepting ways, straight-forward honesty, and ever-present sense of humor. A handsome man, always a gentleman, a loyal and thoughtful friend, Tom was a wonderful husband, father, and grandfather—a solid citizen and great human being. He felt blessed by his beautiful wife and constant companion, Sharon, their family, friends, and an extraordinary life. Tom is survived by his wife of ﬁfty years, Sharon, son, John (Jack) Schafer, daughter, Shannon Schafer Lewis, son-in-law, Craig Lewis, and only grandson, Tyler Lewis. Other family members include brother-in-law, Roger Hurt, niece, Linda Hurt Ruiz, nephew, David Hurt, and many grandnieces and grand nephews. He is predeceased by his parents, Ann and John Kenneth (Ken) Schafer, sister, Sally Patricia Schafer Hurt, and his favorite uncle from Arkansas, Elmer Nystrom, whose salt-of-the-earth spirit and stories Tom admired and inherited. A celebration of life was held at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, Menlo Park, CA, and Menlo Circus Club, July 16, 2013. In lieu of ﬂowers, please send donations to Pathways Home Health at 585 N. Mary Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94085, or the VA Palo Alto Hospice Unit at 3801 Miranda Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304, or a charity of choice. PA I D
Update on school board races Two school board members appointed earlier this year to fill vacancies on the Portola Valley School District board have taken out candidate papers — and one of them has filed — to run for the seats in the November election. There are three open seats. In the neighboring Woodside Elementary School District, with three seats open, only one person, Claire Wilbur Pollioni, has taken out papers. None of the incumbents had done so as
of early Monday, July 29. Portola Valley district trustee Caitha Ambler filed as a candidate, and trustee Karen Ann Tate pulled papers. Both women were appointed to the board in April to replace Scott Parker and Ray Villareal, who had resigned in the previous weeks. The third open seat is now held by Bill Youstra. Open seats on the Woodside school board are now held by Continued on next page
Betty Lee Betty Lee, born November 26, 1926 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, passed away peacefully in her home in Santa Cruz on July 25, 2013. Betty lived in Menlo Park for the majority of her life and devoted herself for over 40 years to the education of young children as a teacher and Director of the Kirk House Preschool at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. She touched the lives of many young students and cared deeply for each one. Betty brought a remarkable spirit of generosity, loving heart, warm smile, and contagious laugh to every aspect of her life, including her family, her nursery school children, her friends at Eastern Star, and her many other communities.
Betty had a large, loving family in both California and Canada. She was married to Stanley Lee for 39 years, with whom she raised their son Russell in their Menlo Park home. She enjoyed countless visits, chats, travels and cups of tea with her sisters, brother, g ra ndd aug hters , nieces, nephews and many friends. Her bright enthusiasm and unconditional love and kindness will be carried on by all those who were lucky to have Betty in their lives. Please join us in celebration of the life of Betty Lee at the Menlo Park Presbyterian Church on Tuesday, August 6 at 10:30 am. In memory of Betty, please read a book to a child. PA I D
O B I T UA RY
O B I T UA RY
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20 N The Almanac N TheAlmanacOnline.com N July 31, 2013
C O M M U N I T Y
New El Camino bus service By Renee Batti Almanac News Editor
pilot program that has been running buses along El Camino Real from Daly City to Palo Alto on weekends has been so successful that SamTrans is creating a similar new weekday service beginning Aug. 12. The difference: Whereas the weekend service picks up riders every 20 minutes, the weekday program will provide service every 15 minutes, SamTrans says. With the launch of “Route ECR,” SamTrans will eliminate the existing routes 390 and 391, which weren’t interchangeable at some locations and ran only every 40 minutes, SamTrans spokeswoman Jayme Ackemann said. “With the new Route ECR service, SamTrans expects to
provide mainline service that is easier to understand, more reliable, more convenient and more frequent,” Ms. Ackemann said. All buses will pick up riders at the same stops, “so customers won’t have to worry about whether they are on the right bus,” she said. The El Camino corridor has the heaviest bus ridership — 50 percent of all riders — in San Mateo County, she said. With the change, bus travel to San Francisco, now available on the Route 391 bus, will end. The cost savings from that move will allow SamTrans to “invest more heavily in its Peninsula service,” running every bus into Palo Alto, Ms. Ackemann said. To get to San Francisco, riders will have to use Route 292, Caltrain, Muni or BART. Go to tinyurl.com/SamTrans31 for more information. A
Briefs: Tour de Peninsula on Sunday Now in its 22nd year, the Tour de Peninsula cycling event will take place Sunday, Aug. 4. Cycling on the short route of 20 miles and the long route of 31 miles start at 8 a.m. at Coyote Point Park in San Mateo. The Metric Century for advanced cyclists, which covers 63 miles, begins at 7 a.m. A kids’ route of one to six laps of a closed loop around Coyote Point Park starts at noon. On the day of the event, registration begins at 6 a.m. Cost is $55 for adults, $25 for those 12 to 17 years, and free for kids 11 and under. The start and finish line is at the Eucalyptus picnic area in Coyote Point Park.
How to make dumplings
The free interactive demonstration and tasting party is presented by the Friends of the Menlo Park Library. For free van service for seniors and those with disabilities, call 330-2512 to schedule a pickup.
Boris Wolper April 8, 1924 – July 22, 2013 Native San Franciscan Boris Wolper, a lifelong resident of the Bay Area, passed away on July 22, three and a half months after celebrating his 89th birthday. Boris had a zest for living that inspired everyone who knew him, and his joie de vivre, curiosity, and generosity took many forms. He was always ready for an adventure, traveling the globe with Marilyn, his sweetheart and wife of sixty-four years; introducing his daughters to California’s natural and historic riches; exploring new restaurants with his grandchildren. Boris was politically, culturally, and socially engaged, supporting causes and institutions he believed in. He and Marilyn attended a wide variety of sporting and cultural events. A lover of good food and wine, he was always eager to try new restaurants and recipes. He attended every Stanford-Cal Big Game from 1942 to 2011, skied and played tennis for many years, and enjoyed annual trips to the Sierras with his hiking buddies Howard Eisenberg, Bob Kohn, Dick Zukin, Paul Kaplan, Roy Goldberg, and Joe Samson. With his positive outlook and “glass half full” attitude, he never let a painful hip or injured arm stop him from pursuing his interests and activities. He and Marilyn enjoyed a vibrant social life, remaining close to dear friends from their early days while forging equally strong new connections through the years.
Born April 8, 1924, to Mariam and Mordecai Wolper, Boris attended Lowell High School in San Francisco, graduating from Sequoia High School in Redwood City. He began college at the University of California Berkeley (where he was a member of Pi Lambda Phi fraternity), attended Ohio State University while serving in the Army during World War ll, and earned bachelor’s and MBA degrees from Stanford University. His professional life comprised nearly sixty years as a commercial and industrial real estate broker. He was a member of the Woodside Planning Commission for thirteen years. Boris is survived by his wife Marilyn, daughters Julie Brenner (Ellis) and Andrea Wolper (Ken Filiano), grandchildren Sharon Brenner and Elliott Brenner, sister Malkah Carothers (Don), cousins, nieces, nephews, in-laws, and a network of friends of every generation who, even if not related by blood, considered him brother, father, uncle, grandfather. Throughout his illness, Boris and his family felt greatly supported by the outpouring of love from relatives and friends far and near, new and lifelong. The family asks that donations in Boris’ memory be made to Music@Menlo (musicatmenlo.org), the Hebrew Free Loan Society (hf ls.org), or Pathways Hospice Foundation (http://pathwayshealth.org/foundation). PA I D
O B I T UA RY
Author and teacher Andrea Nguyen will demonstrate how to make dumplings three ways with just one filling and one dough at 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3, in the downstairs meeting room at the Menlo Park Library, 800 Alma St. in Menlo Park. Continued from previous page
Wendy Crandall, Marc Tarpenning, and Bettina Pike. Those wishing to run for elective office in the Nov. 5 election have until 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, to file candidate papers. If an eligible incumbent doesn’t file by that time, the filing period for that race will be extended until 5 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 14.
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