Saturday, February 6, 2010

Warming the Cockles of your Heart

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful…

Raindrops keep falling on my head: As I place pen to parchment (figuratively speaking of course) this morning, there is evidence of rain in the desert. A week ago there was rain for a few days and the total rainfall for those few days was more than the entire rain that was measured in 2009. More rain last night and predicted today as well as tomorrow. The phenomenon is called “El Nino,” which is Spanish for “little boy,” and was supposedly named for the Christ child. El Nino (pronounced el neen’-yo) is a good thing since the desert southwest has been in a drought for more than a decade and Lake Mead, which provides water to the Las Vegas Valley, has seen its water level shrink over that decade. Here’s hoping the drought is over and the Colorado River fills the lake to the brim.

I guess that’s why they call it the blues: Meanwhile, back in our old hometown of Clairton, PA the weather issue is of a different nature. My spies who still live in our old hometown tell me that this morning (Saturday, February 06, 2010) some 20 inches of snow have fallen in the Greater Clairton area, which includes the teeny suburb of Pittsburgh and other villages. Interstate highways in the area as well as the Turnpike are void of traffic. The electricity is off in Clairton and surrounding communities. The weather channels on the internet tell me that today’s high in Clairton will be 25F, with an overnight low of 7F and tomorrow’s high is expected to be 21F. Let’s hope that electricity comes back on. Otherwise be sure to have a blazing fire going in your house – provided of course, that you have a fireplace.

Another Clairtonian of note: Richard Bruno grew up in Clairton. He excelled in his studies after graduating in the late 1960s and went on to Duke University where he earned a degree in Mathematics. Richard returned to the area and enrolled in med school at Pitt and did his residency in Family Practice in South Carolina. For the next 20 years Dr. Bruno treated diplomats and their families at various U.S. Embassies and served as personal physician to Secretaries of State. Six years ago Dr. Bruno retired from civil service and accepted a faculty position at Lynn University in Miami, FL, teaching algebra and Scientific Literacy.

Dr. Bruno was part of Lynn University’s “Journey of Hope” team, 14 faculty and students that focused on community service. They were doing their work in Haiti, providing food for the poor, when the earthquake struck January 12. In fact, the team was at Hotel Montana in the middle of the area that was destroyed. On January 15, eight students who had been rescued returned to Miami. It was reported February 13 that Dr. Bruno's body had been recovered.

January 28, President Ross of Lynn University announced that while they still held out hope, the time to grieve has come. We send our condolences to the family of Richard Bruno, a Clairton boy/hero, missing and presumed dead in Haiti.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree: Dr. Bruno had three daughters, all of whom were inspired to make their marks in life. Middle daughter, Kelly, has a “chip off the old block” attitude. Kelly Bruno, 25, like her dad, is a Duke graduate and medical student at North Carolina. Her dad not only inspired her to pursue medicine (as he did an older sister to go into nursing and the younger sister to study forensics) but Kelly inspired Dr. Bruno start training for triathlons.

Despite a rare birth defect that forced Kelly’s right leg to be amputated at six months of age, she became a world-class triathlete and Ironman competitor while wearing her prosthetic. By age 18 she was a track star. She beat out 400 other contenders to be selected to as a ball girl (court attendant) at the U.S. Open at the National Tennis Center in New York last year. She makes it into this blog by virtue of being sired by a Clairtonian. That’s the only thing she wasn’t able to do on her own.

Cold weather? Warm up with this: We often focus on the Clairton of days gone by, but there are many heartwarming stories in today’s Clairton. Take for example Dr. Jerome Stevenson, pastor of the Morning Star Baptist Church in Clairton. While attending a CHS basketball game last year he noted that the players were not all wearing the same shoes as they do on many teams. In fact, many players’ shoes were ragged and looked like regular school shoes. So he did a little research and found out that the cost of purchasing new shoes for every player on both the boys and girls basketball team at CHS would cost about $1600.00. A lot of money, right? Not for Pastor Stevenson’s congregation.

The congregation raised the money and the pastor prevailed upon the management at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Homestead to offer a 10 % discount on top of the sale price that had already been discounted by 30%. And that’s not all! Not all the required sizes were available at the store in Homestead so store employees called other stores in the area to complete the shoe buy. The shoes were presented at halftime of the first game of the season.

But wait, there’s more! Dr. Stevenson and his parish have a new project. He is currently raising money to pay SAT fees for CHS seniors who are unable to afford the College Board tests. He intends to continue that project each year. Bravo, Dr. Stevenson. In case any blog reader would like to help in Dr. Stevenson’s efforts, contact information is: Morning Star Baptist Church, 307 Shaw Avenue, Clairton, PA 15025-1848. Phone: (412) 233-3644 or 233.7289.

A little blogging music Maestro… “With a Little Help from My Friends” by the Beatles.

Dr. Forgot

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