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A reader writes … By Thomas Henderson

February 26, 2001

Valentine's Day wasn't a particularly good day for me, as sometimes happens. I had brain surgery in late December 1999 and have had some recovery-related difficulties.

My wife, Edith, my children, grandchildren and close, personal friends John and Rene Grass, Dr. Mahomed Suliman and his wife, Fatima, and their children, Ken and Martha Williams and Norm and Margo Newhouse, all have been wonderful. We expect caring from our friends and family, and they have shown it to me in thousands of ways.

Why this letter? I want to tell you about the caring I have experienced from others.

The impetus to write this letter recently came in my physician's office. Something occurred and I was somewhat confused. When that happened, the physician showed he personally cared as a human, as well as a physician. When I got home, I felt I had to share the perspective on caring I received from him and others. This letter is a "thank you" to all those who have cared, because that caring has helped me deal with my situation.


At my school the entire faculty has been wonderful. I want to especially thank Sue Smith and other friends who have come by the house to visit: Jack Lee, Jill Johnson, Ozzie Martinez, Raquel Fernandez, Sonja Yturralde and Angela Rodriquez. Others such as Elena Wylie, Chris White, Diana Delgado and Rosie Von Flue have spoken to me by phone. These friends have helped me maintain a feeling of belonging to Kennedy Middle School; my friends at the El Centro Elementary Teachers Association including Bruce Roberts, Sherry Poore, Holly Barkalow, Ernie Bristow and Glenice Waters, who have kept me up to date on events related to contract negotiations. Friends at Wilson Junior High, my former school: Bob Hawkins, Bob Duncan and Mike White, have come by to visit, and I have spoken often with Margie Beltran, Diana Rooney, Cindy Benavidez and others.

Although I have known some of the people at the district office for years, I couldn't help but be touched by the concern shown by every staff member I have spoken to. I want!

to especially thank "Butch" Taylor, Carla Rayon and Betty Jones in personnel. Cheryl Villa and Ila Walsh in business services have been so helpful in providing me vital information.

My wife works at Valley Independent Bank, an institution she has grown with and really loves. I have come to know many people there. However, I never expected the level of caring there would extend to me at home. From the corporate offices Dennis Kern, Marty Plourd and Harry Gooding, Janice Grady and Lupita Islas have been wonderful. Pam Fletcher, branch manager, Jennifer Araiza, Ivan Leal, Diane Cervantes and the tellers on the line have impressed me with their caring.

Recently I called for my wife because I was in a fair amount of pain. The receptionist, Elvita Gonzalez, detected a problem from my voice and immediately put me through to my wife.

Nancy Thornberg, Cheryl Alford and Janina Soto, as members of the Chamber of Commerce, know my wife and each has gone out of her way to let me know they are thinking of me.

Perhaps I am different from you, but until I came to personally know some doctors, I attributed to them the qualities of intelligence, diligence and hard work. Quite frankly, in my mind, personal caring simply wasn't expected or required of doctors with so little time and so many scientific procedures to follow. Yet, time and again, I have found them to be very caring. In the El Centro Regional Medical Center clinic, Dr. Muzzarelli and his staff have exhibited professionalism, which I expect, and caring, for which I am appreciative.

Dr. Calvin, his wife, Peggy, and his staff, especially, Leticia Ayala and Chris Carrillo, have helped me deal with things, when I have become confused or distressed. My friends, Dr. Anand, Dr. Singh and his wife, Dr. Thomas, and their collective staffs, although not directly involved in my treatment, ask about me and show their caring.

The members of St. Anthony's parish, especially Pat and Dane Thomson, Bob and Maria, Georgene Kelley, Connie and Tom Barrington and Father Giani have been wonderful.

So why am I writing this extra long, late and public Valentine? I have heard people say you can't get good medical service in the Imperial Valley. I have heard people say folks just don't care anymore. I'm here to tell you that statement simply is not true, that although the Valley isn't perfect, I have personally experienced caring from a wide variety of people in many settings.

Rather than thank "them" collectively, I have tried to name them personally, because each has cared personally. Because of my memory problems, if you are unnamed and have been one of those that have cared, please accept my apology and my thanks. Each and every one of you has shown that caring is love and love is caring.

THOMAS HENDERSON is an El Centro resident.

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