Beloved cross country standout makes comeback after heart ailment
By Juliette Funes
WHITTIER – Whittier High School student Mason Tellez got a resounding Cardinal welcome from his peers, teachers and friends when he returned to the campus for the first time since recovering from a devastating health event that at one point left him unable to walk or talk.
With the help of his parents, chants and cheers from the audience, and a standing ovation from the more than 2,400 students and staff members at Whittier High, on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, Mason walked across the stage of Vic Lopez Auditorium on his own and gave a heartfelt “thank you” to his Cardinal family.
“Mason is known for his positive spirit and work ethic and is a true Cardinal With CLASS,” said Whittier High School Principal Lori Eshilian. “He has expressed hope of regaining his speech, walking on his own and graduating with his class, and I have no doubt that Mason can accomplish anything he sets his mind to.”
Mason has been undergoing months of extensive therapy and daily rehabilitation since collapsing in March due to an undetected heart condition while he was training with the school’s cross country/long distance track team. Mason returned to school as a senior this week.
As a prelude, Whittier High held a welcome-back assembly that brought Mason and his parents together with the people who saved his life: Dan Whittington, Whittier High’s track coach at the practice, who administered CPR until the police and paramedics arrived, and Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper and Officer Tim Roberts.
While Mason continues to make progress, including walking on his own, carrying on conversation, he is still working on regaining his vision.
“Mason is an extraordinary example of someone who has defied all odds, valiantly and courageously fighting for his own recovery and becoming an inspiration to everyone within the Whittier Union High School District and Whittier communities,” said Superintendent Sandra Thorstenson. “Mason’s return to school demonstrates his exceptional spirit and continued commitment to live and thrive.”
Whittier Union and Tellez’s peers have rallied behind Mason since the tragedy, visiting him in the hospital, writing him notes, wearing T-shirts with the supportive message, “Live Everyday Like A Mason Day,” and organizing a track team run from Whittier, Pioneer, La Serna, Santa Fe and California high schools to PIH Health, where he received his medical care.
Mason’s parents, Ellen and Chuck, said they would like to thank everyone in the Whittier community, Whittier High School’s students and staff, for the ongoing love and support their son and family have received throughout Mason’s recovery.
“The outpouring of support and affection from Mason’s friends has gone a long way to help us find strength, and this welcome celebration meant the world to us,” Ellen Tellez said. “It’s my hope that Mason’s story will touch a student who ever considered giving up. Maybe Mason, in some way, will motivate them to keep going, stay positive and keep their spirits up.”
By Brad Dacus
President, Pacific Justice Institute
I’m excited to tell you about a church we have been helping recently … and a terrific outcome on their behalf.
The Holy Resurrection Romanian Orthodox Church in the Sacramento area had struggled for 11 years to find a place of its own to worship. They found what seemed like the perfect spot, in the Rio Linda area, with a building that had already been approved as a worship center with seating for a larger congregation.
They moved ahead with their plans … until they encountered some unusual local opposition. At PJI, we’ve been representing churches just like this one for many years, so opposition is nothing new to us – but the excuses being given to stop the church were some of the most illogical and unreasonable we’ve ever heard.
In short, an establishment next to the church property had a liquor license. They acknowledged that they were such bad neighbors in terms of traffic, parking, late-night noise and drunken patrons that they didn’t think a church next door would fit into their neighborhood. (Now is it just me, or does this sound like exactly the place where Jesus would want to minister to people desperately in need of healing and hope?!)
Sadly, some also complained that they thought there were already too many churches in the area.
Since PJI has represented and advised countless churches in similar situations and won some important precedents in this area, we helped this church present an appeal to the Planning Commission. It was sobering to hear some of these believers note similarities between the hostility they were experiencing right here in America with the persecution they had fled in Romania.
PJI Attorney, Kevin Snider, wrote to the Commission and spoke at a hearing on behalf of the church. We are thankful to God that the Planning Commission recognized the illegal basis of the opposition and voted 5-0 to approve the church’s plans. Members of the Commission specifically thanked Kevin for his helpful explanation of the law in this area.
It’s possible there may be further opposition and appeals we will need to counter, so stay tuned. In the meantime, if you know of a pastor or church that is even thinking about building, leasing, buying property, expanding, or anything similar that might require local permits, please let them know that Pacific Justice Institute would be honored to work with them at no charge to advance their important work. Oftentimes, we can help churches avoid major problems much more easily when we are involved right from the start.
Thanks to each of you who make our work possible!
Running the race …
By Thomas M. Boles Phd., DMin., D.D.
In her book, “A Closer Walk,” author Catherine Marshall tells about a
great personal struggle she experienced after writing a novel
titled “Gloria.” Marshall began the novel in 1969 and then abandoned
the project two-and-a-half years later.
To her, the shelved manuscript was
“like a death in the family.”
In attempting to reconcile her conflicting thoughts and
feelings, Marshall spent time at a retreat house in Florida. While
there, she re-read a Bible story from Numbers about a time
when poisonous snakes filled the Israelite camp.
The people recognized the snakes as a punishment for their sin, and cried out in repentance.
The Lord told Moses to “make a (bronze) snake and put it up on a
pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” (Numbers 21:9.)
Marshall realized that just as the Israelites took that which had
hurt them, lifted it up to God, and were healed, so we each can take
our mistakes and sons, lift them to God in prayer, and trust Him
to heal us.
She writes, “When any one of us has made a wrong (or
even doubtful) turning in our lives through arrogance or lack of trust
or impatience or fear, God will show us a way out.” Even when we
stray, He knows both where we are and how to get us back on His
Decisions can take you out of God’s will but never out
of His reach.
If we are faithless, He will remain
faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
2 Timothy 2:13
Like to golf? Enjoy networking? Then the Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce has the perfect event for you.
Break out your clubs and head to the 36th annual Hathaway Golf Classic golf tournament and networking mixer on Monday, Sept. 8, 2014 at Friendly Hills Country Club. With only 144 spots available, potential duffers need to register by Sept. 1.
There are a variety of opportunities available. Eagle sponsors for $1,350 get a tournament package that includes four golfers, a cart, lunch, dinner, acknowledgement at the dinner and a Business Focus photo feature, tee sign and recognition in the tournament program. The Ultimate Golf Package for $285 includes one golfer, a cart, lunch, dinner and a tournament package. People who just want to golf for $225 include one golfer, cart, lunch and dinner. Tee sponsors for $100 get their company name on a tee sign and recognition in the tournament program.
The popular event also features a “19th hole mixer,” a $2,000 helicopter ball drop, raffle items and door prizes.
A variety of local businesses are sponsoring the event, including Rose Hills Memorial Park & Mortuary, California Domestic Water Company, the Credit Union of Southern California, the Quad at Whittier and PIH Health.
To register send a check payable to the Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce at 8158 Painter Ave., Whittier, CA 90602 or go online at www.whittierchamber.com.
Call 562-698-9554 for more information.
By Thomas M. Boles PhD., DMin., D.D.
A comic strip created by Charles Schulz addresses the
need for each of us to make the most of the immediate presentin our lives.
Charlie Brown is seen at bat. STRIKE THREE. He has
struck out again and slumps down on the players’ bench. He
says, “Rats! I’ll never be a big-league player. I just don’t have
it! All my life I’ve dreamed of playing in the big leagues, but
I know I’ll never make it.”
Lucy turns to console him. “Charlie Brown,” she says,
“you’re thinking too far ahead. What you need to do is set your-
self more immediate goals.”
Charlie Brown looks up and asks, “Immediate goals?”
Lucy responds, “Yes. Start with this next inning when
you go out to pitch. See if you can walk out to the mound with-
out falling down.”
The first step toward walking into any future is the step
that you take today. Make it a forward, positive, springy and
light-hearted, energetic, well-aimed, purposeful step. The steps
you take today become the well-warn path of tomorrow.
The only preparation for
tomorrow is the right
use of today.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought for the
things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is
the evil thereof.
By Brad Dacus
President, Pacific Justice Institute
I hope you were as encouraged as I was last week to hear that the Supreme Court took a stand for the religious freedom of family-owned businesses in the Hobby Lobby case.
At PJI, we noticed another positive aspect of the decision that will benefit churches. (Since the nuance that I’m going to explain next was completely overlooked by the media, I would encourage you to forward this e-mail to your pastor and make sure he is receiving our updates.)
The Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby’s owners were protected by a federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In the process of interpreting that statute, the Supreme Court pointed to a related law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). This caught our attention because PJI has represented countless churches under RLUIPA and won one of the leading cases in this area at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We have used RLUIPA successfully on many occasions to help churches overcome opposition from local officials who do not recognize the value of churches and would rather have their properties used for tax-producing businesses like bars or nightclubs.
So here’s the good news: as part of its Hobby Lobby decision, the Supreme Court stated that federal protections of church property rights go even further than the First Amendment. This is exactly what we have been arguing in case after case for more than a dozen years! And it is the opposite of what has been argued by leading opponents of church property rights. We expect this little-noticed holding of the Supreme Court to have some very positive implications for years to come.
If you become aware of any pastors or churches that are encountering hostility from local officials in the process of trying to expand or relocate their facilities, please let them know that PJI provides free and highly effective assistance in this area.
At PJI, it is our mission to clear away legal obstacles so churches and ministries can focus on what they do best – reaching people with the Gospel. It is our privilege to serve pastors and the people of God.
Running the Race,
Brad Dacus, Esq.
Nobody grows old by deserting his ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up wrinkles the soul. Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear, despair, these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.
Whatever your years, there is in every being’s heart the love of wonder, the undaunted challenge of the unobtainable, the unfailing, childlike appetite for the ‘what next?’ and the joy of playing the game of life. You are as young as your faith. You are as old as your doubt. You are as young as your confidence, as old as your fear. You are as young as your hope, as old as your despair.
In the central place in your heart, there is a recording chamber, and so long as it receives the message of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long as you are young.”
By Ruthie Retana
WHITTIER – Former Rio Hondo College Roadrunner pitcher and 2012 Foothill Conference Baseball Player of the Year Andrew Morales is headed to the majors after being drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals.
The right-handed hurler, who had just completed his senior year at UC Irvine, was called up in the second round of the 2014 Major League Baseball Draft after he led the Anteaters to the College World Series. He received a $546,000 signing bonus.
Morales is ranked fourth in the country with 17 starts and 128 strikeouts. During his tenure at Rio Hondo, Morales earned the California Community College Baseball Coaches Association All-American and Pitcher of the Year awards, and won All-Foothill Conference first-team accolades in 2011.
“It was unbelievable, actually,” Morales told Sports Illustrated’s Redbird Rants regarding the draft. “(I’m) very blessed to have the opportunity; very thankful that the Cardinals believed in me to pick me in the second round. It was an awesome experience for (me) and for my family.”
Morales attended South Hills High School in West Covina where he was 8-2 on the mound as a senior. He helped guide the team to two league championships and a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Division 3 title. At South Hills, Morales also earned All-CIF first-team recognition and was the 2010 All-San Antonio League first-team honoree.
“It’s just very well deserving for a guy who works so hard,” said Rio Hondo College Baseball Coach Mike Salazar. “He was 21-0 his two years at Rio Hondo until the last game, and 10-0 in his first year at UC Irvine. In three years he was 31-1 and during that time, he stood by his sister as she overcame cancer. Through all that adversity, it is very good to see him succeed.”
During his career at Rio Hondo, Morales made 28 starts and struck out 135 batters in 182 innings. He logged three complete games and a save, and with an ERA of 2.42, he walked only 42 players his freshman year. By the end of his sophomore year, Morales had walked just 23, earning an ERA of 2.01.
In 2012, Morales made the All-Pacific Association Division first-team. He went on to UC Irvine and racked up an impressive list of accolades, including the National Collegiate Writers Baseball Association pre-season first-team All-American; Collegiate Baseball “Louisville Slugger” pre-season second-team All-American; and College Sports Madness pre-season third-team All-American and first team All-Big West.
“Andrew Morales follows in the steps of great baseball players who got their start playing at Rio Hondo College,” said Rio Hondo College Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss. “The District is surrounded by great talent and it is an honor that they want to play with the Roadrunners. We are all very proud of Andrew and wish him nothing but the best in his professional baseball career.”
Other notable Major League players who got their start at Rio Hondo include slugger Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays and pitcher John Urrea, who pitched for the Cardinals and the San Diego Padres in the 1970s and ’80s.
Some may not know that Plymouth Congregational Church has an apologetic (rational defense of the Christian faith) ministry. Dr. Glenn Peoples of New Zealand is scheduled to address the matter in “Hell as an Apologetics Concern” at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at the church, 12058 Beverly Blvd. in Whittier.
The Los Angeles Area Chapter of Reasonable Faith, which is sponsoring the event, believes hell is a hot topic right now, pun intended.
Traditionalists believe hell is a literal place of torment while others hold that non-believers are annihilated. Can we defend the goodness of God while proclaiming belief in a traditional view of hell? This talk explores how one’s conclusion about this influences one’s view of the task of apologetics.
Peoples is visiting from New Zealand where he has a wife and four children. He earned his Ph.D in philosophy from the University of Otago and is founder of www.rightreason.org as well as a published author and speaker.
After his talk in Whitter, Peoples will travel to the “Rethinking Hell” conference in Houston.
To get an idea of Peoples’ views on hell watch the podcast: http://www.rightreason.org/2008/episode-005-its-one-hell-of-an-episode/.
Also visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/rfwhittier/ or e-mail email@example.com
For more information call Chris Sandoval at 562-236-7515.