OpEd: Who will pick up the torch of our rich inheritance?

By Claudio Escobedo, Lake of the Woods

It was very nice to see so many people of our Mountain Communities at the memorial for Dave "da Handyman" Geniwiecz at the Frazier Mountain High School Saturday, Jan 19. Dave’s family, lifelong friends and members of our community gave inspiring testimonials. The slide presentation showed us a wider spectrum of the life and contributions of both Dave and Alice, his lovely wife of 29 years.

I could write for days and days of the great things that Dave did for the people of our mountain, from helping to make the Frazier Mountain Park skate park possible for our youth, to the enormous task he took upon himself to create the famous Name Your Price Thrift Store. This special place helped so many members of our community as they passed through hard times. It also provided the opportunity for others to contribute goods and volunteer their time to a unique project.

The Name Your Price Thrift Store was a monumental help in providing the financial support needed to sustain the Mountain Communities Boys & Girls Club during its early stages. Now it continues helping charities and individuals in need.

The testimonies given during the memorial [and those still online at The Mountain Enterprise website] make it clear that Dave helped the community in many different ways. He provided furniture and clothing to the needy (including personal home delivery in many cases!). He enjoyed the challenge of receiving special requests for particular items-like a special chair for an impaired child. It is not possible to detail here all the various projects and good deeds Dave accomplished while we had the privilege to have him among us.

A great person has left. Dave will be deeply missed by all of us who got to know him well, and by those who felt his helping hand guide their lives in a positive way.

Who will carry on?

This Community Hero is not among us anymore, but the needs of the many will continue? and the projects that Dave had on his agenda are still very much alive. This fact opens the door to many questions that our community needs to carefully consider.

Who will carry on with Dave’s journey? Who will pick up the torch and continue the race?

Not many of us can do single-handedly what Dave da Handyman did every day of his life. He was unstoppable in the hard work and dedication that he give to his cause!

But perhaps, as a community, we can maintain the noble tradition that Dave established with so much work and dedication. We need to see this as a great opportunity to pick up and continue the race. The elements from this noble project are still in place, just as if Dave was here to attend to business tomorrow morning.

A unique inheritance

Dave da Handyman has provided a unique inheritance for our community. It is up to us to accept his gift and to carry it forward.

Dave was always laughing. He seemed to be always having fun. The opportunity to be part of his great legend, to be a contributor to this great tradition, has been given to all of us.

We each have the opportunity to share our talents to help other members of our community,

Let’s quickly review the state of Dave’s projects:

Mike McClure is still at the wheel of the thrift store truck to go pick up donations and discoveries. The great ladies and volunteers at the Name Your Price Thrift Store are still there, all working and eager to welcome you anytime you visit the store [now at 628 Alhambra Trail, behind Frazier Park Market, (818-448-9007)].

For members of our community who are now retired but would like to restore a great sense of adventure and accomplishment in their lives, this is the window of opportunity to participate and volunteer.

I cannot think of another sense of purpose more rewarding than this in the life of an individual.

All members of our community can help support this noble project by continuing to provide donations to the Name Your Price Thrift Store, and by going to shop at the store when you have needs. Our community can continue-as Dave did for so many years-to provide means to those in need in our Mountain Communities. His support of other charities can also continue.

Yes?it is vital that all of us get involved in one form or another to help maintain this unique tradition that Dave da Handyman created.

Not many communities have received a noble inheritance like this, providing opportunities to participate and to enjoy the privilege of being a hero in your community.

Claudio Escobedo was the founding vice-president of the Mountain Communities Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors. His wife Tricia was the club’s second treasurer; she is a manager for McDonald’s in Lebec. They live in Lake of the Woods. Escobedo is quality control manager for the Landing Gear Overhaul Division at Circor Aerospace Inc.

This is part of the January 25, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

Have an opinion on this matter? We'd like to hear from you.