Saturday night was the 10th annual Oakland Firefighters Random Acts awards dinner. It's a fundraiser, but it's also a chance to celebrate and honor some of the people who make Oakland better.
Random Acts was started by Oakland firefighters, to give back to Oakland and help with some of the things they see day in and day out while on duty, but also to give them a chance for positive experiences. They see lots of bad: accidents, fires, victims of violence. Years of that takes its toll, so engaging in Random Acts can help the process of healing by letting them experience some good.
McClymonds High basketball coach Brandon "Boozy" Brooks. Not only has he led the Warriors to multiple state championship games, he's made a positive impact on his players outside of school, too. They're regularly involved in community service events, and the players say the coach is like a father to them. They may not all end up in the NBA like McClymonds' alums Bill Russell, Antonio Davis, Joe Ellis, Paul Silas, and Nate Williams, but they'll be better people for it. Coach Brooks was given the Citizen Hero award.
Mikey's Meals website. Shaheda and Mikey were given the first-ever Mom & Pop Green Community Service award.
DonateLifeCalifornia.org. It turned out the young man was a Raider's fan -- he had a Raider's tattoo that his parents didn't know about. In a nice gesture, an Oakland Raiders rep heard about the connection, and had Raider great Jim Otto sign a picture to the parents.
A pretty amazing group of Oaklanders, no? A bunch of other people were helping make the event happen and were on hand to honor the award recipients. Rita Williams of KTVU News was once again the MC. The principal of Franklin Elementary School (which has taken part in OFRA's "books and balls" program), Jeanette MacDonald was there. Andy Pumphrey, a past Citizen Hero award recipient, was there to cheer on this year's winner. (Andy saved his niece in a 2.5-story fall and was paralyzed from the chest down. Andy is now able to walk unassisted; you may have seen the KTVU segment on it that Rita Williams did a while back.) Karla Jackson, of the Ariel Outreach Mission, was there to sing a song she'd written to thank OFRA, Local 55, and the OBFFA for the support they've given her mission.
Part of the plan for Random Acts was to spread it all over the country and the world, as firefighters and other first responders face the same problems everywhere. Berkeley Firefighters Random Acts was one of the first programs based on the one here in Oakland, and were given a shout-out for their raising of $30,000 for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Albuquerque Firefighters Random Acts was there. Even mayor Jean Quan and her husband were there -- check out the brief mention in her recent newsletter.
I'd also like to thank some of the many businesses that supported the event:
Linden Street Brewery (I was especially thankful for this)
Oakland Audio Visual Service
California Canoe and Kayak
East Bay Blue Print
Plus there are lots more outside Oakland, and I know I'm forgetting some (I had to make thank-you slides for all the businesses and groups that supported the event, and it was a lengthy list this year). Thank you all!