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Rocklin families gain community support

Our View
By: Lauren Gibbs, Associate Editor
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One of the hardest aspects of my job is to listen to the stories of loss, injury and death. The last couple of weeks have been trying, retelling the stories of accidents involving two different Rocklin families in the pages of The Placer Herald. In last week’s paper, we shared the support the Jones family has had in the healing of their 10-year-old daughter, Lauren, who collided with two small trees while sledding. She is in recovery mode at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno for her injuries including a fractured skull, bruised ribs and a broken leg. In this week’s paper, we include news on the Retz/Novak family of Rocklin, who was in a car accident April 2 while driving back from Disneyland on Interstate 5. Four of the six passengers, Sarah Novak, Jenny Novak, Hunter Retz and Matthew Smithson, were ejected from the car. Of those hurt, Sarah’s injuries are the most severe. She remains in Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno with a head injury and a damaged hip and pelvis. She also underwent surgery for a compound fracture in her arm and a broken leg. Sarah continues to slowly improve. For more on the family, see the story on A1. Stories like these always make me think hard about my job as a journalist. Our job isn’t always to uncover controversial issues and the negative stories. It’s also about showing the strength of the community and the positive people who live in Rocklin. For the Jones family, they’ve had tremendous support from the city’s youth sports leagues. Lauren has been involved in cheerleading and her brother, Robert, has been involved in little league. Rocklin Junior Thunder Football & Cheer, made a $1,000 donation from their general fund. Through a fundraising night at The Pizza Place in Rocklin, they raised another $2,085 for the family. And through online donations made on Rocklin Junior Thunder’s Web site, they raised an additional $1,610. Combined with other donations, the community has already raised more than $5,000 for the Jones family. In a time when people are cutting back in so many aspects of their spending, it’s so amazing to see people donating to a family in need. The Retz/Novak family has also been greatly supported by the community. Neighbors held a garage sale over the weekend, which raised more than $500. And a fund has been set up welcoming donations to the family. These two families’ stories have also gained support from families across the state and country. Both families have CaringBridge Web sites to keep people updated on the progress. In the midst of comments and support from family and friends, are encouraging words from people who have never met the Jones or Retz/Novak families. “You have a community of Rocklinites that have never met your dear family, but we are rooting and praying for all of you,” Christine Gillis recently wrote on the Web site to the Jones family. These stories are just two of the many I’ve told throughout my journalism career. And they surely won’t be the last. But it’s what spurs from the stories that count most to me. If the article only inspires one person to donate or help the family in some way, then it’s a job well done in my mind.