There was a story earlier this week on the front page of The Daily Triplicate about a local hero whose quick actions saved a woman's life.
Eric Richcreek, a 32-year-old Crescent City man who works as a security supervisor at Lucky 7 Casino, was catching a little sun along the Chetco River Tuesday afternoon when he heard cries for help from friends of a woman who was drowning. Richcreek jumped into the river and pulled the unconscious woman onto the riverbank. She wasn't breathing, but thanks to training he had received through his job, Richcreek knew exactly what to do: he performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compression until the 41-year-old woman was able breathe on her own.
Our hat is off to Mr. Richcreek, but maybe he isn't the only hero in our midst. Several local entities and agencies have come together this week in an effort to save the Del Norte County Library's Wonder Bus an act of institutional heroism in our book.
The specifics haven't been worked out, but First 5 Del Norte, the Del Norte County School District, the Del Norte Childcare Council, Head Start, the city and the county have committed to finding a way to get the library's mobile reading service for disadvantaged children up and running again.
Since 2001, the Wonder Bus has traveled to Smith River, Gasquet, Klamath and other outlying parts of Del Norte to spread the joy of reading and learning to lower-income kids. In a community like ours, where poverty levels are high and educational levels are well below the state average, the Wonder Bus helps meet a very real need.
Many children here are simply not exposed to books at home, either for pleasure or for learning. Many also don't have access to computers at home. Both factors can put them at a disadvantage in school.
The Wonder Bus which rolls into outlying areas with a cargo of books, computers and learning games aimed at kids has been parked since July 1. It is a casualty of Measure A's oh-so-narrow failure to win two-thirds voter approval in the June election. The ballot measure, which fell just 42 votes short of passing, would have provided $400,000 annually in sales tax revenue to the cash-strapped library, which now operates on an yearly budget of just $180,000.
It costs $80,000 a year to operate the Wonder Bus. That those who deal with youth and education in our community understand its importance enough to band together to save it speaks volumes about its value in improving young lives.
As schools Superintendent Jan Moorehouse said, "We hope the tool that enriches the community can continue to enrich it."
The Daily Triplicate