District News

Melanie Hodges, District Eleven Governor Receives Centennial Year Proclamation

Melanie Hodges, District Eleven Governor Elect and President of Altrusa International of Golden Valley, Jackie Brunello receive a Proclamation from the City of Santa Maria, CA acknowledging Altrusa's  Centennial Year.  Mayor Alice Patino thanked Altrusa for their service to the community of Santa Maria. 


                        by – M. Rose Mitchell Waring

In stark contrast to the horrors and ravages of the Southern California wildfires of Tuesday, May 13, 2014, Saturday, August 23, 2014 brought clear skies and glorious sunshine to San Diego county. 

Altrusans and friends from the San Diego North County Coastal Club gathered to enjoy a long-awaited time of joy and healing for one special family who had lost their home and all its contents on that Tuesday afternoon in May. 

The fires had been burning during our District Eleven Conference, being held at Humphrey’s on the San Diego bay.  While we enjoyed education and association our hearts bled for all the devastation going on nearby.  Conference attendees saw a need and took action!  Seven hundred dollars was collected and sent to our Altrusa International Foundation’s disaster relief fund. The donation was designated to help local San Diego area fire victims.

Realizing that there would be many needs to be filled in our north county area, Rose contacted the International office to ask for a grant to stretch the reach of our commitment. With the support of Governor Denice Gilb and prompt processing of our request, came a check for One thousand dollars.  We began  to inquire about who might need immediate assistance.  The answer came quickly.  Rose had received an e mail from a fellow Project Linus Coordinator, asking her to get blankets to the children of  her cousin’s friend, who had lost her home in San Marcos.

A bit of research revealed the immediate and ongoing needs of the Sekerke family.  Delivery of the blankets  (on a Friday) to a “borrowed” house (whose owners were out of town for a week and where the family had set up temporary residence) revealed that the owners were returning  on Sunday and  Dad, Stan, daughter Sierra, age 9, daughter Sage, age 6, twin Boys, Stosh and Brayden, almost three, and Mom, Amanda who was expecting a baby boy in October, needed to move out, but were  without a place to go.

As soon as she left the family, Rose called Jan “Big-heart” Riggins, President of Altrusa SDNCC club, and shared that news.  Jan immediately said , “they could live in Theresa’s place.”  Jan’s daughter, Theresa Heldt, an SDNCC member, was living and working in Florida so her three bedroom townhouse was without residents. 

           A quick telephone call to Amanda, who was so stressed at the time that she asked Rose to call her husband Stan, brought an expression of gratitude and relief.   The die was cast when we realized that preparing Theresa’s place would take more than a little effort as all her belongings were still there, in the places where they were used for daily living. 

        The journey began when Rose called her friend, “Altrouser” John Stark, a long-time supporter of everything Altrusans do, and they headed to meet Jan to work on taking things to store in Jan’s garage to ensure that the Sekerke family could live  in relative comfort while awaiting their new rental home. 

      Preparations continued as SDNCC Altrusans joined us the next day with the packing, cleaning, “child-proofing” (we had to swap out a glass dining table for a wooden one,) among other things.  Stan Sekerke also came with his pickup truck to assist with the moving of boxes and boxes to Jan’s garage.  We did get the place ready for the family and they lived there for almost three weeks until they could move into their newly rented place.

     We invited the other two Altrusa Clubs (San Diego and Chula Vista) in San Diego County to join us in the festive occasion of showering this family with items they still needed to try to get back to living a “normal” existence.  Each of the clubs had their own activities going that day so were unable to be present, but each sent generous measures of Target gift cards for family use!

      This missive is our way of expressing our gratitude to each of you for your generosity and caring.  We have gained new friends and supporters in the Sekerke family and they thank all of us for our caring support as they reinvent their lives.

      Know that your caring does indeed lead to a better community and that we are grateful for this opportunity to serve the very real needs of others.

     Baby Zeke arrived on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9: 30 a.m. weighing in at 8 lbs. 5 oz.  Mom, baby, siblings and extended family are doing well.

    Thank you for your caring support District Eleven Altrusans!

Altrusa International San Diego North County Coastal Club



Melanie Hodges, District Eleven Governor Elect and President of Altrusa International of Golden Valley, Jackie Brunello receive Proclamation.
Blankie for Baby Zeke
Sekerke Shower 9/14/14
Baby Zeke asleep
Papa Stan and baby Zerke
Sekerke twins turn 3
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