Taking fond memories of Truckee with me
December 20, 2002
I’ll never forget the day I did a ride-along with Tanya Schnitzius, who is truly the backbone of the local senior meals and meals-on-wheels programs.
As usual, funds were dwindling and volunteers scarce, so I had decided to profile the program in hopes of drumming up some much-needed community interest and support.
It was during that frightfully cold week we had early last winter, when the mercury dipped well below zero and many – myself included – found themselves with frozen pipes and subsequently, no agua.
While on a home meal delivery at the trailer park off Highway 267, Tanya and I discovered an elderly woman inside her double-wide, melting dirty snow that she’d scooped up off of the parking lot in efforts to make drinking water.
Horrified, Tanya went to Safeway – on her own time and dime – to purchase several jugs of drinking water for her housebound client, who happened to have no family or friends in the area to speak of.
Not only does this program provide our seniors with a hot, real meal, but it works to ensure their mental and physical well-being. Often times, lunch hour at the senior center or a visit from the meals’ delivery truck, is the only chance for human contact that these people have all day.
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Luckily, a group of concerned community members has stepped up to the plate and created a senior council to keep the kitchen open and the program on track.
The ultimate survival of the program, however, is impossible without more community support.
As I prepare to leave Truckee and the Sierra Sun, my one hope is that this kind of community support will surface, whether it be through donations to the Adopt-a-Senior program or through people volunteering and visiting with seniors at the center.
I am optimistic about that happening, though, as the people I’ve met this last year are some of the most generous, selfless, community-minded folks that I’ve yet to come across in my travels.
Truckee definitely spoiled me with all of the comforts of a small-town life that I had never before known – making me curse the traffic, crowds and “Me first” aggressive attitudes of the Bay Area lifestyle I had grown up in.
“I’ll never go back,” I’d often say to myself.
But now, here I am, going back. I guess I still have a little city girl in me that I need to flush out of my system.
There is no way I could leave here, though, without thanking some of the incredibly patient, helpful and inspiring people I’ve worked with and gotten to know over the course of the year.
First and foremost, I need to thank those I’ve met through my work in the schools: Laurie Martin, Jane Loomis, Rachel Falk, Kathleen Gauthier, Marlys Zusy, Pat Gemma, Ginger Charlton, Bob Nehls, John Britto, Jayna Gaskell, Barbara Ferrera, the TTUSD board, all of the teachers who’ve let me invade their classrooms and most of all, the students, who’ve made my job so much more fun.
I’d also want to thank Ruth Hall, Teri Smith, Melinda Maehler, Pam McAdoo, Lauri Ferguson, Tanya Schnitzius and Dave Dunlap, as well as Alan Harry and Peter Holzmeister at the Truckee Donner Public Utility District for taking the time to explain the intricacies of electrical, water and broadband systems to a girl who can barely program her VCR.
There are so many people I could name and I know there’s many that I’ve left out. I guess I’d just want to thank everyone I’ve interviewed for their openness and honesty with me when sharing their stories.
I also need to thank the amazing, talented staff at the Sierra Sun and my pals at the Tahoe World. You have all been a much-needed serrogate Tahoe family to me, especially during the difficult stress-ridden times. Thank you for that.