PORTLAND, Ore./BAKERSFIELD, Calif.-As the nation tries to return to their normal Monday routines following Friday's deadly shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and with recent acts of violence against innocent victims dominating the media landscape nationwide, the CSUB Roadrunners took time Monday to thank those who teach and serve every day.
The morning started with head men's basketball coach Rod Barnes speaking to a Monday morning church service for employees at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore., where the Roadrunners are set to play the University of Portland Monday night. Barnes talked about his journey that brought him to Bakersfield and the role that his faith played in those events.
Barnes spoke for about 20 minutes to a crowd of 50 employees at the medical center after being invited to speak by Comcast SportsNet Northwest college basketball writer Greg Crawford, who also works and volunteers at the hospital. Barnes also took time following the service to chat with hospital workers, many of who had the same message for the CSUB coach "that's just what I needed to start my week."
Portland is one of several local communities to be effected by random acts of violence after a single gunman opened fire at the Clackamas Mall last Tuesday, killing two people and seriously injuring another who remains in critical condition.
Back in Bakersfield, CSUB supporter Jason Cohen wanted to do something to encourage local teachers in the light of recent events and the loss of life in Connecticut. Cohen reached out to CSUB Athletics administrators and coaches to help him deliver 200 yellow roses to every elementary school in Bakersfield, with a focus on getting them in the hands of first grade teachers.
Cohen says he was incredibly happy that CSUB student-athletes and staff were able to help in pulling this gesture of kindness off on such short notice.
CSUB swimming and diving, one of the teams remaining in town over the holiday break, along with cheerleaders and the 'Runner girls dance team did just that, stopping in on first grade teachers throughout the morning and afternoon and showing their appreciation for their work with young students in our community.
One first grade teacher, Mrs. Sandoval at Ramon Garza Elementary School in Northeast Bakersfield, teared up as she was presented with the flowers, while others were pleasantly surprised to see the 'Runners in their classrooms and thanking them for their work while in some cases taking time to interact with the first grade students as well.
See the photos from Monday's Events: