July 28, 2012
I Care: A True Patriot Shows His Gratitude




By graveside, a family mourns for the loss of Joe Woltmon, a World War II veteran and purple heart recipient. Solemn leather-clad Patriot Guard Riders form a circle around them, each holding an American flag, creating a silent cocoon of protection and support. Their concern is felt in the deep rumble of their motorcycles and seen upon furrowed brows.
As a Patriot Guard Rider, Tom Jefferies, 69, has attended more than 500 events honoring military service members. He immigrated to the United States as a child, and says he loves this country even more because he had to work for his citizenship.
"We hope in some small way we've made it easier to deal with," he said about the Woltmon funeral. "Although we don't know them it feels like we're closer because it gives us a chance to show that we care."
"It's my way of saying thank you for what you do," he said. "I cherish the freedom those people have dedicated their lives to giving."

July 22, 2012
I Care: Searching for Linnea Lomax


His brown eyes are earnest, pleading as he hands out fliers in search of a woman he's never met. "Missing girl. Linnea Lomax," he says to the throngs exiting the California State Fair, holding pictures of Lomax, 19, who disappeared from a mental health facility June 26.
Instead of having fun like most people his age, Avery Hughes, 18, volunteers full time during summer break before his senior year in high school. He joined the search on July 11, when the search effort slowed from having hundreds of volunteers to less than twenty. After two hours on the job he was crying. Later, he cleared his schedule to volunteer indefinitely.


Last year, Hughes spent two months on the streets in Germany, never knowing where he was going to sleep or get his next meal. "I'm a guy and Germany's not as dangerous. This scares the pants off me," he says. "She's young. She's beautiful. She's just really vulnerable." Hughes does whatever is needed to help find Linnea - including interviewing the homeless, mopping the floors, providing tech support or answering the tip-line. He barely sleeps at night always knowing there's something more he could be doing. "Emotionally it's the most taxing thing I've ever done," he said.

July 14, 2012
I Care: She Won't Give Up on Giving

20120702_AOC_ICareDillon_114w.jpg Working by feel, 101-year-old hands grasp a green crochet needle and guide rainbow colored yarn through a cluster, then out of it to catch the yarn and pull it through again. Jerry Dillon misses. She tries again, and misses once more, sometimes taking three times to successfully complete one stich.
Having lost most of her sight to macular degeneration in 1998, Dillon sees a grey hole where her beloved project is. "I guess I'm pretty stubborn," she said. "I'm not going to give up."
20120702_AOC_ICareDillon_089w.jpg Dillon has been sewing, knitting and crocheting for charity since the 1940s. Using the one last crochet stitch that she can accomplish, she creates beautiful afghans, and gives them to Project Linus, which provides handmade blankets to children in need.
Although she never meets those who get her afghans, she knows they are appreciated. "I hope it'll keep them warm and they give something to someone else," she said. "That's how payback works."

July 7, 2012
I Care: A Human Connection


The hypnotic sway of a rocking chair, the deep quiet voice of a familiar visitor. The tiny fingers of an infant grasp round the solid thumb of a man who cares deeply for her. Unaware of the tubes coming from her body and draped across the lap of her human cradle, Fatima Ortiz-Cervantes slips gracefully into a slumber highlighted with rhythmic pats on her back and tender strokes across her cheeks.


Jim Donoghue, 64, who never had children of his own, will stay for hours if she needs him to. Every baby needs to be held - especially the ones spending their first fragile days in the UC Davis Medical Center Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, where he volunteers. "They need somebody to take care of them and watch out for them," he said.
His love will be felt after he's gone: He's willed all his earthly possessions to the care unit.