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Take a swing at helping Jowell Griggs
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For several years, Jowell Griggs helped organize a local NCAA March Madness tournament pool among friends.
I looked forward to getting involved in the field of 64 of the top Division I men’s college basketball teams – 66 if you count the play-in game – and would compile sports pages from various publications consisting of tournament brackets, team analysis, rankings, player information, etc.
In the past, I’ve taken part in other March Madness brackets. But I especially looked forward to the one organized by Jowell since it was also an opportunity to meet with her and catch up on the latest news.
News between friends might be considered gossip. So be it. We had plenty of common friends, in some cases, just by mere coincidence.
Jowell had several stints at the Bulletin – of course, I often kidded her that the “eighth time (working here) is a charm” – but we used to chit-chat about those people we knew during her time at Give Every Child A Chance, the tutorial service located back then across the street from the newspaper office.  She also worked at Big League Dreams.
On New Year’s Eve, Jowell informed most of us via text of her sudden unemployment status. A few weeks later, I ran into her at the funeral of Bulletin ad representative Bev Proctor. She was looking forward to her time off.
It wasn’t too long after I heard from colleagues that Jowell was diagnosed with cancer. Yet I didn’t have the heart to mention it to her even when I saw her at the soft opening at the local JC Penney. Instead, I asked, “Are you doing another NCAA pool?”
 Besides, Jowell’s oldest son, Andrew, was home visiting from the East Coast.  I just didn’t find it timely to broach the subject about her health.
No matter. She talked about her battle with cancer in a recent story by Dennis Wyatt, with photos by Hime Romero.
“How’s Jowell doing,” I asked Hime at the time.
“She’s the same old Jowell – laughing, kidding, joking,” he said.
Now, I know I shouldn’t be surprised. I heard much of the same from other friends and colleagues.
On the day she went into her first chemotherapy treatment, I received a text from Jowell.  She had received my tournament bracket and that it would be OK for me to cut a check for the amount of the buy-in fee.
With her husband Leo as the sole supporter, the Griggs family could use support from the community as Jowell continues to undergo treatment.
“In this time of trial, finances have become an additional stress on the situation,” said ‘Friends of Jowell Griggs’ fundraising committee.
On Sunday, June 14, the group is organizing a golf tournament at the Jack Tone Golf Course in Ripon.
All proceeds will go directly to Jowell and her family.
As a valued member of the community, Jowell has been involved in numerous volunteer endeavors, including the local Boys & Girls Clubs, the Measure M school bond committee, Sober Graduation, Fourth of July, and the Sierra and Manteca High boosters, to name a few.
The four-person scramble golf event will begin at 8 a.m., with June 5 as the deadline to register.
Cost is $75 per golfer and consists of green fees (golf cart not included) and a tri-tip lunch. Cost for non-golfers to take part in the barbecue luncheon is $10.
Prizes will be awarded to the first-, second-, and third- place teams, and individual honors for those closest to the hole and longest drive.
Those looking to make a donation or inquire about more information can call (209) 823-3256 or (209) 612-0869.
To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail