COVID-19 pandemic made the project much more difficult

By Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Congrats to Bellarmine College Preparatory senior and Morgan Hill resident Kristof Sochan who fulfilled all his requirements for his Eagle Scout rank. His project was the construction of a couple of pergolas — two 14-feet by 10-feet wooden shade structures — over the bocce ball court at the Centennial Recreation Center. They will keep players well shaded in the afternoon sun.

The complications that arose from the COVID-19 pandemic made the project much more difficult for Sochan. After carefully drafting a plan to create the structures, he received the unfortunate news that the CRC had lost all funding for his project due to a city budget deficit.

Photo courtesy Kristof Sochan
From left to right: Sam Zahrt, Will Zahrt, Brett Stocksick, Kristof Sochan underneath the shade structure they built.

“Quickly adapting, I turned my project into an online fundraising campaign and called as many friends, family, and community members as I knew,” he told us. “Within 48 hours of launching my campaign, I reached my initial fundraising goal of $2,800 to cover the cost of wood, hardware, tools, a dedication plaque, and even lunch for my volunteers.”

The 18-year-old is grateful for all 42 donors and nine construction volunteers who allowed him to carry through his service project six months in the making. He would especially like to thank Brett Stocksick and Lynn Liebschutz, two scout leaders in his troop, who mentored him through his journey to becoming an Eagle Scout.

Best wishes for your future endeavors, Kristof.

Maria Skoczylas and her daughter, Francesca Paist, help those in need at the Gilroy Compassion Center. With the cold approaching, they lamented that the Morgan Hill Winter Coat Collection for the Homeless annual coat drive was cancelled due to COVID-19.

If you have a gently-used (or new!) coat you might want to donate to help a homeless adult stay warm, please bring it to Maria’s garage at 908 Danny Boy Court in Morgan Hill between noon and 5 p.m. Oct. 12, 13 and 14. Or you can make an appointment by calling her at  (408) 779-1290. Donations to purchase coats are also accepted by making checks out to the Gilroy Compassion Center, with the memo line reading “coats.”

Photo courtesy Heidi Ferreira
Michael Abel and Zack Ferreira with some of their supplies.

Let’s hear it for the good guys. Pacific Point High School seniors Michael Abel and Zack Ferreira decided this year they would give back to those in need. When faced with how to earn community service hours, Abel got in touch with Morgan Hill’s local St Catherine’s Church and asked how he could help. He was emailed a list of items needed and he and Zack filled 50 one-gallon sized Ziploc bags with everyday essentials.

“To hear the excitement in one’s voice when telling them they would get a disposable razor was almost too much,” said Zach’s mother, Heidi Ferreira, in an email. “They bagged up a pair of socks, laundry detergents, shampoo and Chapstick, face masks, soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, razors and shaving cream as well as feminine hygiene products. Essential items for health and basic needs that most of us we tend to overlook.”

Photo courtesy David Parrott
David Parrott served in the U.S. Army during the Gulf War.

In the Sept. 23 issue of Morgan Hill Life, our story on Army veteran David Parrott’s struggles with homelessness and the challenges of finding housing in the expensive Silicon Valley over the past several years put a spotlight on the issue that is a growing challenge in the South Valley. We have some good news. Parrott moved Oct. 1 into an apartment in San Jose, with financial help from Veterans Affairs.

Publisher Marty Cheek took him out for a lunch at Rosy’s at the Beach in downtown Morgan Hill to celebrate. During their conversation, Parrott praised the people of our city for their warmth and generosity. When one citizen found out Marty was going to have lunch with the veteran, the anonymous person pulled out a crisp $100 bill and handed it to him to give to the veteran to help him out. Parrott, whose father is a retired San Jose cop, especially praised the Morgan Hill Police Department for the professional and humane way its officers dealt with him during his stay in town.

Robert Airoldi