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Economically challenged times? Look around, were still rich
Manteca Police Community Service Officer Shaun Ferraro beams after receiving a bouquet of roses and chrysanthemums from Jordon McCain, the 7-year-old who called 911 when his dad had a seizure. Ferraro stayed with the first grader until his mother could come home from work in Sacramento. - photo by GLENN KAHL
There’s richness in our everyday life – seen through the hearts and souls of others – if we only keep our eyes open and stay alert to the warmth in our fellow man.

One such event that touched me was the love and concern one Manteca community service officer showed for the 7-year-old boy who called 911 after his dad had a seizure in their home.  She had gone the proverbial extra mile to find the work phone number for mom at a Sacramento hospital while she was staying with the first grader – not to mention her bonding with the child over Spiderman.

“He’s just an awesome kid,” was her reaction to being there for him.

She melted when he was given awards Tuesday night by the chiefs of the fire and police departments for calling for help at such a young age.  It was not seeing him being presented with those citations that touched her heart so deeply – but rather the bouquet of flowers the youngster brought to city hall just for her.

 She had made a difference in the life of that child by just being there – a difference he will carry with him into his adulthood.  

You can bet it was definitely “a moment in time” for CSO Shaun Ferraro – one she will cherish for years to come.

Ferraro has another side of her life away from the full-time job at the Manteca Police Department.  A very caring grandmother to a toddler and a part-time waitress, she always goes above and beyond to make life better for others when she gets a chance.

A former professional clown, she creates an excitement for other children as she waits on families and creates animal characters out of balloons.  She presents the fun creations to the kids at the tables she is serving.  Life has had its ups and downs for Ferraro, like the time she was hit by a car while directing traffic near an accident scene on West North Street one night last year – taking her off work for awhile.

It’s a super job being a reporter in this community – there is definitely the good to offset the bad in covering the crime beat daily.

Tuesday morning there was another event that touched me deeply – that actually left me trembling inside after talking with someone I had known and respected for over 40 years.

It all had to do with visiting an old friend living in a secure Alzheimer’s unit at a Manteca area retirement center – a visit that held its own share of unexpected surprises coupled with total excitement.

The woman’s sister – 10 years her junior – had come into the Bulletin office on Monday.  Seeing and recognizing her from my desk, I went up to the front counter to ask about the health of her older sister.  She told me she was recovering from a serious physical illness and, because of her added dementia, she didn’t know most people – she definitely wouldn’t know me.  

It was 10 a.m. Tuesday morning when I met the sister at the front counter of the retirement facility.  We signed in together before going to the Alzheimer’s unit and being buzzed into the living area of spacious and well laid out apartments.

The door was opened by a caretaker who welcomed us inside.  My friend was sitting at the door as if she were waiting just for us.  It was one of those special “moments in time” that I will never forget as she greeted me with a total unexpected enthusiasm that couldn’t be matched.

She was smartly dressed; her hair was fixed as though she had recently been to a hairdresser.  Her smile was second to none.  And, I am not overemphasizing her demeanor, but her eyes were actually flashing as she welcomed me into her hallway.

“I am so glad you came to see me,” she said.  I was totally blown away.

Her sister and I sat down in her parlor and talked – talked for nearly an hour.  This 80-some-year-old woman recalled her yesterdays and her todays shocking us both.  She was visibly interested in the features I had been covering at the paper that I shared with her.

She would even throw a gentle bard into the conversation when it seemed appropriate to her.  This friend of mine made my day – in fact she made my year – with her exuberance about life.  She told me it was time to take another family portrait, because – she explained – we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Leaving the room, she caringly called me by name, thanking me for my visit and sending a gentle wave with four fingers.  “I’ll be back next week,” I responded.  “You will,”? she asked with that wonderful smile of hers.

Walking out to our cars in the parking lot, her sister told me she would tell the other family members of this perky grandma and her reaction to my visit.  She said they would never believe her story when she told them.

My friend may not be the same in the future, because this illness is known to do strange things throughout its stages – but I’m definitely going back to see her next week.  The reaction to my visits may not be the same, but I’ve got to give it a try and attempt to let her know that I care.