With Independence Day occurring at a tumultuous time marked by a global pandemic and a national crisis over racial injustice, Climate gave local contributors carte blanche to write their perspectives on what makes America special. We will be publishing our contributors’ American Stories now through July 4. Keep an eye out for these unique and personal pieces.
Nineteen years ago, I was thinking of retiring after a career in real estate. It was about the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, and my husband and I were talking about a memorial to the people who died that terrible day. Rich suggested there should be a memorial at Sequoia High School honoring students who died while in the military. Three of our friends died during the Vietnam War —but their names were not on the Vietnam Memorial because they didn’t die in combat. Our idea was to create a memorial honoring all Sequoia students who died while serving in the military. I decided that would be a good project after I retired.
Fast forward five years, we had raised a little over $50,000 and needed $3,000 more for the project and $2,000 for a dedication ceremony. Donations had slowed, so I put a request in the Sequoia High School Alumni Association newsletter, “Smoke Signals,” asking for $5,000 to complete the project. A few days later the doorbell rang, and my husband said someone was asking for me. The gentleman had graduated from Sequoia a few years ahead of us. “I hear you need more money to finish the memorial,” he said, and handed me a check for $5,000. I was so flabbergasted I’m not sure I said anything but a meek “thank you.” After I closed the door, I cried. I couldn’t believe it.
A drive began a few years ago to raise $50,000 for the Redwood City History Gallery, which will be located on the second floor of the Lathrop House. I wrote to my guardian angels asking if they would be interested in contributing. They sent a check for $5,000. Just last month, this wonderful couple came through yet again with another $5,000 contribution to the San Mateo County Historical Association’s annual campaign.
In the theatrical world, “angels” are generous patrons who save imperiled shows. In business, “angel investors” enable a great idea or product to get off the ground. We are so fortunate in America to have an abundance of people like my guardian angels who match their good hearts to good causes.
Dee Eva of Redwood City is an active community volunteer with a particular interest in local history. She was co-chair of Redwood City’s Sesquicentennial Committee in 2017.