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tv   NBC Bay Area News Special Bay Area Proud  NBC  January 20, 2018 6:30pm-7:01pm PST

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announcer: given just one year to live, how would you spend it? a facebook engineer decides music will be his message. eric: my violin playing is how i build community. michelle dunn: why don't you go play? announcer: two east bay area women are bonded forever after the effort to save one life ends up saving three. sue reale: it's like saving lives comes full circle. announcer: but first-- june amrhein: i have many memories and i'm the only child that does. announcer: the story of an honor many decades overdue and the daughter who made it her mission to see it happen. june: you know what? i was never going to give up. announcer: here's nbc bay area's garvin thomas. garvin thomas: our first story tonight begins a few years ago, 75 to be exact. june amrhein says when she was a little girl and many young men in her town left to fight world war ii her father did his part by filling a need at the local police department.
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tragedy followed but all these years later june's story finally has a happy ending. june: right, here's his wallet. garvin: of all the things june amrhein still has of her father's, not every one fits neatly into a bag. june: this is his draft card. garvin: to this day, there's one june proudly wears for all to see. june: i inherited his smile. that's what everyone tells me that remembered him. my father's right here. garvin: remembering louis phipps, it turns out, is what this story is all about. the oldest of his five children, june was just nine years old when he died. june: i have many memories and i'm the only child that does. garvin: in 1942 louis phipps, an ashland, massachusetts, police officer, was assaulted by a drunk patron at a bar. he died of his injuries just a few days later.
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june: and i just couldn't believe it. do you know, this was my hero. how could he be dead? garvin: for a number of reasons there was never recognition of the fact that officer phipps died in the line of duty. june: his police badge. garvin: something that always bothered june but didn't come to the surface until the 1980s when another fallen officer's picture went up on the wall at ashland police headquarters. june: and i said, "why isn't my father up there?" you know, and this is when the wheels started to work for me. garvin: they turned in vain for some 30 years until june recently uncovered a long-lost document. june: "struggled with a man who had been drinking." garvin: and then found a sympathetic ear on the ashland police force. june: he said, "this should not be a problem." garvin: within a matter of months, june got the news that louis phipps's name was being added in may to the fallen officers' national memorial in washington, d.c. june: and i just sat down and cried.
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i couldn't believe it. garvin: all june had to do was get to the airport to get to the ceremony. leo capovilla: it was a no-brainer. garvin: which san mateo county sergeant leo capovilla was more than happy to arrange. leo: this was a fellow officer that gave his life. i didn't even have to think twice. ♪ ♪ through the dark night garvin: june says the ceremony was all she knew it would be because, for her, there was never a question if this honor would come; simply when. june: you know what? i was never going to give up. garvin: it never hurts to ask for help. it's a strategy 18-year-old esther lucas definitely believes in and she's got nearly 2 million reasons why. the sunnyvale resident has left behind quite a gift for her community. esther lucas: some in here. garvin: like many other girl scouts, esther lucas has a lot of experience selling things to adults.
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esther: this was for cookie sales. garvin: even with that track record though, this 18-year-old is herself a bit surprised at the sale she recently closed. esther: so i came home after that. i was, like, "that's a lot of money. did i really do that?" garvin: this all began when esther was looking for a project to earn her gold star, the crowning achievement to a career in girl scouts. esther: i wanna do something where i can help people who don't have the same things as other people. garvin: the people esther settled on were children with disabilities. she realized she never saw them at her local playgrounds, even ones supposedly handicapped accessible. esther's research on the topic led her to magical bridge, a fully accessible and wildly successful playground in palo alto. esther was convinced it was just what her city needed.
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all she had to do was convince the city of it. male: next, we have some speaker cards. garvin: so in september of last year-- male: and i'm gonna start with esther lucas. garvin: availing herself of the public comments period during city council meetings. esther: good evening, mr. mayor and honorable council members. my name is esther-- garvin: esther used her 2 minutes to make her pitch. esther: why do i not see many kids with those disabilities at the park? esther: they said that they liked the idea and that they just can't go forward and that they would have to think about it. male: i just have a few words i wanna say. garvin: well, they did more than just think about it. this summer the city, thanks to esther's lead, allocated $1.8 million to begin transformation of one of their playgrounds into magical bridge, sunnyvale. male: so again, esther, thank you very much. garvin: it is, esther admits, so much more than she had ever hoped for when she walked up to the microphone last september. so much sweeter, we should add, than any box of cookies.
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esther: it's real--it's been really cool and it's also been really eye-opening what one small thing can do. garvin: ali graham is a 6th grade science and math teacher who wants to be simply known as a good teacher. but she's becoming known for more than that, though. you see, recently, she pulled off a remarkable feat of makeshift engineering. what she made was pretty special and she wants her students to learn an important lesson from it. ali graham: what i need you to do is, when you get your test, you'll put your name on the top. garvin: a few years ago when ali graham got a job as a 6th grade math and science teacher at creative arts charter school in san francisco, she was thrilled. ali: i'm gonna pass this out. then i'm-- garvin: ali did, however, have one reservation about teaching middle school. ali: i'm, like, "oh, shoot. like, what if it's middle school all over again?"
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ali: sophia, right there. garvin: what ali means is that these years can be tough for kids who are different and ali has been different for most of her 25 years. ali: i was really young. i was 18 months old and i got a disease called meningococcemia and so it cut off the circulation to my feet. garvin: two below-the-knee amputations were needed to save ali's life. they didn't, however, slow her down. in fact, ali says she never really felt different as a kid until, you guessed it, middle school. ali: well, i had, like, a hard time 'cause i was bullied a lot. garvin: as she's reached adulthood, ali has become ever more comfortable with her story and her two prosthetic feet. still, she never wants to call too much attention to them. she wants to be known not as the teacher with prosthetics, but just simply a good teacher. female: please welcome ali graham. garvin: which is why a choice she made this summer was
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so out of character. ali: yeah, it was a big deal for me to do that. female: she's made some newspaper rods and woven them together. garvin: as part of a science teacher camp at the exploratorium there was a competition to build something from packing material. ali: the thing looks pretty sturdy. garvin: what ali built-- ali: so now we have a whole leg. garvin: was a working prosthetic leg. ali: i'm gonna put that one over there. and we're gonna test this out. garvin: which she then demonstrated. ali: take a few steps. garvin: to a surprised audience. garvin: she won the competition. ali: that was a big hurdle for me to, like, get through emotionally and then being able to just do it and have people react in a positive way and not like a, "oh, that's weird" kind of way, was, like, reinforcing. and so i feel like i've grown even more. ali: it's pretty durable. garvin: ali thinks this was a transformative moment for her. never more focusing on what she's missing but about what it can add. ali: for one, help educate kids. teach them about, like, having empathy and caring about another
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person who's different from you. announcer: coming up on this "bay area proud" special, it's the performance of his life. ♪ announcer: the message a facebook engineer and violinist has for others after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
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it's true for many musicians but never more than with the man you're about to meet. eric sun is an engineer by profession and has had a great career at facebook, rising from intern to manager. but if you ask, that's not what's most important to him. it's music and he's spending the rest of his life proving it. garvin: in community theaters across the country, "fiddler on the roof" has been a staple for more than 50 year. ♪ ♪ i wouldn't have to work hard garvin: but this 4-week run by the sunnyvale community players is destined to be one of a kind.
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you see, this is violinist eric sun's first performance with them. it will also be his last. eric: i was diagnosed with glioblastoma which is the most lethal and incurable form of brain cancer. garvin: that diagnosis came just 1 year ago with a prognosis to match. eric, an engineering manager at facebook, took a long hard look at just how he wanted to spend that time. eric: my wife karen and i started thinking about, okay, what is-- what are the things that i want to leave behind. what are the things that i want to be remembered for. garvin: bringing people together, building community, was the answer. and music was to be their means. garvin: eric had played violin since he was a young boy but life's responsibilities had pushed that pleasure down the list of priorities.
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so eric set about spending hours upon hours resurrecting his talent. and when karen learned of the "fiddler" performance, she had an idea: for eric to perform a particularly difficult solo, the violin cadenza. music director kevin surace had only to be asked once. kevin surace: when i was told i said, "you're gonna make it. i'm gonna help you make it there. i'm gonna help you make it. learn this part." garvin: others in eric's shoes might have chosen more selfish pursuits and no one would have blamed them. but eric spent months perfecting what was to be a gift he didn't wanna get but give. eric: my violin playing is how i build community, how i bring people together. how i show my appreciation for everything that people have done for me. ♪
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garvin: so for 8 minutes in the middle of each performance eric steps to the center of the stage. he, the audience, and the cast are then bonded by the beauty of music and the fragility of life. ♪ garvin: a shared experience that teaches all of us to do what brings you joy because none of us know when our song will end. announcer: coming up on this, "bay area proud" special, getting clean then giving back. del: and i put a crack pipe in my mouth for 18 seconds and it took 18 years to get it out. announcer: the "mayor" of one of san francisco's most troubled areas turns his life around to help his community build a better life. and learning from the best bay area kitchens, the groundbreaking program that's been changing lives
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for more than 20 years. the energy conscious whopeople among usle? say small actions can add up to something... humongous. a little thing here. a little thing there. starts to feel like a badge maybe millions can wear. who are all these caretakers, advocates too? turns out, it's californians it's me and it's you. don't stop now, it's easy to add to the routine.
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join energy upgrade california and do your thing.
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in spite of that nickname, del seymour is not a politician. he is, instead, a former drug dealer and addict who's using his experience to help his troubled neighbors turn their lives around. garvin: at the intersection of turk and eddy, right in the middle, in where del seymour hit rock bottom. del: this is where i had the fight right here. garvin: it was 2009 and del was in a fight over an unpaid drug debt. del: and i'm rolling around in the middle of the street with this guy 30 years younger than me and about 150 pounds heavier than me. i'm a granddaddy. i'm in my early 60s and i said, "what the hell am i doing? what the hell am i doing?" garvin: it was, del now says, the last time he ever used drugs, as vivid a memory to him as the first time, close to 20 years earlier.
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del: and i put a crack pipe in my mouth for 18 seconds and it took 18 years to get it out. del: most of these kids you see out here, i dealt with their moms and dads. garvin: eighteen years using drugs, selling drugs, sleeping on the streets of the tenderloin. but after that fight, del began to put his life back together. del: i've been seeing you around. i just haven't had a chance to say hello. garvin: and now helps others do the same. it began with an offbeat idea: walking tours of the tenderloin. del: so this hotel also served as a jim crow hotel. garvin: del sharing his world with groups of outsiders. it was during one of those tours a young female drug dealer called out to del. del: she came over and said, "del, what are you telling those white folks? i hope you're telling them we don't wanna be doing this. hope you're telling them that we need to put pampers on our babies just like they do but they don't let us in twitter. they don't let us in apple. so we gotta do this crazy stuff we're doing. hope you're telling them that.
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and that, dell, i know you want me off this corner. what do you want me to do? where do you want me to go?" del: this class is in session here. garvin: del didn't have an answer then but does now. that's because soon after, he started code tenderloin, a job training program for those who want to do what he did. del says in the past few years they've placed dozens in good-paying jobs. and del, once infamous in this neighborhood, is now in demand. the "mayor" of the tenderloin some call him. del says he still regrets all those years lost to drugs but what he's doing now isn't penance for that. he simply wants to improve the neighborhood, not by pushing the current residents out but by helping them up. del: that's not penance. that's reward. that's a great--if that's penance i'll do that every day. garvin: if you make a positive difference in a single child's life that's an amazing accomplishment.
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so what do you say about a woman who's helped a thousand? well, you can say a lot. we first introduced you to betty ewing 3 years ago and recently checked back in as she marked an impressive anniversary. garvin: in some ways it was destined that erickson valentine would one day work in a restaurant. just ask him about memories from his early childhood in haiti and the first two things he mentions are food. erickson valentine: a lot of bananas. bananas and hardboiled eggs, yeah. garvin: but then there is a third. erickson: and then the orphanage. garvin: erickson was adopted at age 7 by a family in palo alto. still, the trauma suffered during those early years means at 18 erickson still lives with learning disabilities and developmental delay, the kind of things that might make it hard to land a job at a high-end restaurant like the sea in palo alto.
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except erickson has someone special on his side. betty ewing: hundreds. garvin: and he's not the only one she's helped. betty: hundreds, hundreds. garvin: betty ewing was once the owner of a string of successful bay area restaurants. then one day she had an idea. betty asked a nearby high school to send over students who were struggling, either with poor grades or bad behavior. betty: who's having tilapia, anybody? garvin: and she put them to work in her kitchen. one by one, betty watched them transform. betty: getting from a very slumped-over, immature, uncooperative to somebody who will just walk right up, shake your hand. garvin: it worked so well, betty turned the idea into her own non-profit, the el cajon project, and has been seeing it do wonders for now 25 years. betty: and here i am. it's still got legs of its own and if those kids didn't have the success i probably wouldn't be doing this
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but i just keep doing it. garvin: and not just the success for the students. at restaurants like the sea chefs say the el cajon kids end up being some of their best employees. yu min lin: they are always following instructions. they will never come here late. they always come to you on time. to be honest with you, that they never come here late, they always comes early. garvin: and that clearly makes this a recipe worth sharing. announcer: coming up, two east bay area women bonded for life. the dogs' tale that brought them together and how it ended up saving not one but three lives. woman: so, greg, it's a lot to take in. woman 2: and i know that's hard to hear, but the doctors caught it early. hi, blake! my dad has cancer. woman: and i know how hard that is to hear. but you're in the right place.
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man: and dr. pascal and her team, they know what to do. they know what to do. the doctors know what to do. so here's the plan. first off, we're going to give you all... (voice fading away)
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first off, we're going to give you all... we wanna take a moment to say thank you. thank you to the more than 100 people who helped make our first ever "bay area proud" blood drive a success this fall. after 6 years of covering stories of people doing good i was inspired to do a little something myself.
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in memory of my late father, a physician, i organized the blood drive. with the help of the stanford blood center, we collected 120 units of blood, enough to save close to 400 lives. we look forward to doing it again next year. finally, tonight, a unique animal rescue story. two women who didn't even know each other are now bonded for life in a couple of ways. michelle: why don't you go play? garvin: michelle dunn is a woman in the habit of rescuing things. michelle: what's up? garvin: her new puppy archie just the latest in a long line of them going all the way back to childhood. michelle: i was always bringing stray cats and dogs and everything else home. garvin: but you only have to follow that string back a few months. sue: is that your auntie michelle? garvin: and you'll discover michelle's greatest rescue. you see, she learned about archie from a facebook post by susan reale. sue had just rescued archie's litter mate, chipper, from oakland animal services and wanted to help
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find a home for his brother. sue: i knew i had to help this dog. garvin: sue had been wanting to rescue a dog for quite some time but had put off taking care of one until she took care of herself. sue: for 2 years i was watching my kidneys fail. it was pretty devastating. garvin: sue had been diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease, which brings us to michelle's other recent rescue. michelle: mostly because if i was in that situation i would want somebody to do the same for me. garvin: at the time, the two didn't even know each other but, again, a facebook post by sue asking for help made its way to michelle through a most unlikely series of connections. sue: michelle is the girlfriend of the younger brother of my boyfriend's best friend from the '80s. garvin: and so not long after seeing sue's post, michelle sent her a message.
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michelle: something along the lines of, "hey, sue. you don't know me but i'm at the hospital right now getting tested to give you my kidney." sue: there's no words to express how do you thank somebody for wanting to give you a kidney. it's-- garvin: the transplant has been a success so far. and the two women, bonded by a shared organ and now by rescued puppies, have grown ever closer. their story, evidence that a great act can sometimes have even greater results. sue: well, she would have never had this wonderful dog that she loves if, you know, she hadn't donated the kidney so it's like saving lives comes full circle, really. garvin: you can see new "bay area proud" stories every tuesday and thursday evenings on "nbc bay area news" at 5 p.m. and if you know someone who should be featured, i'd love to hear from you. you can find links to my facebook, twitter, email on our website, just scroll down to the "bay area proud" segment.
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right now on access, dylan pharaoh's emotional breakdown. that her father, woody allen molested her as a child. allen to this day says no but dylan has given new life to these claims. nine accusations in "60 minutes" in 1992.
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>> is it illogical that i'm going to at the height of, of a very bitter acrimonious custody fight, drive up to connecticut, where nobody likes me, i'm in a house full of enemies. mia was so enraged at me and she gotten all the kids to be angry at me that i'm going to drive up there and suddenly on visitation, pick this moment in my life to become a child molester? >> overcome with emotion, dylan wiped her eyes watching the video of her estranged father in which he denies her sexual abuse allegations. now married and the mother of a 16-year-old daughter, dylan told gayle that she thought she would be able to handle watching the clip. >> he's lying and -- he's been lying for so long. and it is difficult for me to see him and to hear his voice. i'm sorry.


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