Santa Barbara Seniors Step Up During Coronavirus Pandemic
Seniors clapping for Gene Marasco at Palm Tree Apartments
By Bonnie Carroll
Everyone in the Santa Barbara Community has been experiencing the surreal day-to-day life since the Coronavirus Pandemic hit the world and the US. Small and large groups within our community have shown amazing compassion not only for the terrible loss of life but for the medical professionals and first responders around the world and along the Central Coast who have been fighting to save lives often putting themselves in grave danger.
I was touched to discover a group of senior residents in my own Palm Tree Apartments who decided to meet each night at 7 pm to clap and sing in honor of the doctors, nurses and first responders throughout the world who are risking their lives to save others; including those who lost their own lives trying to fight the Coronavirus. The inspiration for this evening gathering included two news items showing people in Italy and New York City on their balconies singing and applauding for their heroes. All Palm Tree residents kept the six-foot separation on their patio's and clapped, while the building manager Gene Marasco sang an Italian aria. Gene Marasco's song reminded us all of the terrible loss of life being experienced in Italy and was a touching tribute.
Marasco has managed the Palm Tree Apartments with his wife Jean for many years, is from an Italian immigrant family who all sang, and he was an opera singer in his twenties. He has continued to sing at holiday and family events over the years and loves entertaining. His granddaughters Angelina and Arianna Battistone, along with wife Jean assisted him with the production of his first CD “Canto Per Te – I Sing for You” that features his favorite Italian and American songs.
Armies of women throughout Santa Barbara are sewing face masks to help a bevy of groups, including seniors, hospital staff members, food workers as well as many local area business' and organizations. One of the residents at Palm Tree who is whipping up dozens of masks is Cynthia Woo who has provided her masks to neighbors, friends and Food Bank volunteers who are offering special services to seniors needing brown bag food during the quarantine. The mask she gifted me is chic, safe, in compliance and so appreciated.
A great guy who has attracted deserved attention and admiration is Adam McKaig, a local real estate star, who began shopping trips to help friends and neighbors in need during the first days of the quarantine and now has his own 'Adam's Angels' group of volunteers who are operating out of EOS, and spend their days shopping and delivering articles to those needing assistance and the homeless population in the area.
Santa Barbara is an amazing community that always rises to the call in times of great tragedy and emergency with residents who truly care and will work 24/7 to be of service to those in need. It is inspiring to be a part of this city, know these people and help in whatever small ways I am able. Considering Santa Barbara has barely recovered from the terrible fires and floods which plagued the community a few years ago it is doubly impressive to see how quickly kind volunteers have once again jumped into action to help.
Alys Martinez of KEYT3 has been presenting special programing honoring the heroes of the Coronavirus Pandemic in our area, which includes an army of people of all ages who are shopping for neighbors during the quarantine to ensure they have food, water, prescriptions medicines and of course toilet paper. Restaurant chefs including Jose Andres, World Central Kitchen, have prepared whole meals to feed the area Sheriffs and Firefighters, while Anthony Carroccio and Andrea Slaby of Organic Soup Kitchen are providing the Cottage Hospital doctors and nurses with healthy plant-based soups. Please view the programming honoring these true heroes by visiting the KEYT3 website. If you know a group or person who is a hero contact Alys at [email protected].