Volunteer Dies In Sylmar Church Parking Lot During Food Drive

58-year-old Arturo Franco Melendez died Friday after being pinned between two vehicles during a food drive at a Sylmar church.

Volunteer Dies In Sylmar Church Parking Lot During Food Drive

SYLMAR (CBSLA) — A 58-year-old man died Friday after being pinned between two vehicles during a food drive at First Southern Baptist Church in Sylmar.

Arturo Franco Melendez, who was volunteering at the time, is being remembered for always wanting to help others.

“There aren’t words to explain what a great human being he was,” Melendez’s widow Teresa said through a translator. “He was a great friend, a great brother and a great son.”

Melendez lived in San Fernando but had been volunteering twice a week at the food bank in Sylmar over the past few years.

“He was enthusiastic and it was such a delight to be around he seemed to enjoy what he was doing,” said Pastor Ray Grubb of Valley Hunger Relief Of Sylmar.

Police believe it’s possible the driver mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal and hit Melendez as he was loading food donations into a car.

Church members say the driver was elderly and distraught by what happened. Police are still investigating but say it appears to have been a tragic accident and that no crime was committed.

Officials said new efforts are underway to protect volunteers at similar events.

“I understand the public’s anxiety and urgency to get the resources they need for their families; however, we can’t afford to put even more lives at risk,” said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, Chair of the City’s Public Safety Committee. “I urge the public to exercise greater caution and honor operating guidelines and exercise patience while you wait in line.”

A press release Friday said that Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez will introduce legislation to increase on-site traffic safety measures to ensure safe ingress and egress as well as proper loading procedures.

These measures will be put in place to protect volunteers and the public participating in these events.

Source : CBS Los Angeles More   

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Stars Unite For Coronavirus ‘One World’ Charity Concert To Support Health Care Workers

Celebrities came together for a star-studded night dedicated to recognizing health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Stars Unite For Coronavirus ‘One World’ Charity Concert To Support Health Care Workers

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Celebrities came together in a virtual charity event on Saturday to recognize health care workers who are on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

“One World: Together At Home” ran for eight hours, beginning with an online stream for six hours and ending in a two-hour concert hosted by Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert.

There were performances by Lady Gaga, Andre Bocellio, Stevie Wonder, Lizzo, Elton John, John Legend, The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, and more.

Former first ladies Michelle Obama and Laura Bush also spoke during the event.

The concert — put on by the World Health Organization and anti-poverty group Global Citizen — raised money for the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Some of Southern California’s own heroes were featured in the concert special.

Pippin Ashton, the medical director of a coronavirus unit in Whittier, is responsible for making sure her staff has the personal protective equipment they need to stay safe as they care for patients battling COVID-19.

“Even though we may be covered head-to-toe in our protective equipment, we have to make sure we hold their hand or give them the personal touch, the family touch that’s so important because they’re lacking that,” Ashton said.

Ashton said new concerns have emerged because of the role they’re taking on during this pandemic.

“Several staff have moved out of their homes, living in hotel rooms or staying with each other so they don’t bring anything home to their families. There are some families that tell them they don’t want them at home,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking.”

Registered nurse Kim St. Laurent, who is also the mom of a nurse, is now caring for recovering coronavirus patients dealing with more than just physical symptoms.

“Anything from PTSD, depression,” St. Laurent said. “They’re having a lot of deep psychological effects from the isolation they experienced not being able to see faces of their health care workers for one month.”

Jon Coligado, a Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician, said he was floored by the line-up at tonight’s event but says his job is rewarding in itself.

“We’re happy with a thank you — ‘thanks for the treatment, thank you for walking me to the door, thank you for folding my blanket,” he said.

Source : CBS Los Angeles More   

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