Bill Freeman’s T-shirt

Bill Freeman’s T-shirt

“Service” is the act of helping or doing something for someone else. It is the volitional and voluntary act of assisting others and/or our community. It may also be defined as ministering to others’ needs.

During this time of quarantine, I found it a challenge to be of service to others and my community while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.

Then I experienced an epiphany of sorts while simply driving around as I escaped the daily grind of “house arrest,” an experience I am sure is shared with many others, especially my fellow senior citizens.

During these daily “putts,” as I call them, I realized I could engage in service by picking up trash on the local roadways, recognizing others in my community of Sierra Lakes who demonstrate pride of ownership in their homes, painting over graffiti and continuing work on my research into the lives of the 50 men with Fontana connections who gave their lives in their service to the country. (See the weekly FONTANA HONOR ROLL columns in the Herald News.)

So, what, exactly, am I doing?

• First, I continue my labor of love with the FONTANA HONOR ROLL. I have expanded my research into a rough draft book detailing the early years of these men and have created maps showing where they lost their lives. I also researched and re-created photos of their medals and awards. The book also includes, when available, online posts by the friends and family of these fallen warriors, bringing life to their photos.

So, what can you do? I challenge you to put to paper some sort of history, whether it be your own biography, your family history, an element of Fontana or any other topic in which you are interested. Internet research has never been so easy and accessible. Give it a shot. You will love it!

• My second project is sprucing up the community by recognizing Sierra Lakes residents who demonstrate pride of ownership in their home. This is accomplished by asking them to place a sign in their front yard that I provide, saying, “Sierra Lakes Pride of Ownership Recognition.” (see the accompanying photo). Although I just started this project, feedback has been positive as locals see examples of what a little bit of tender loving care can accomplish!

• Third, I have developed a penchant for removing graffiti from the K-rails on Old Cajon Boulevard (Route 66) and picking up trash in the Cajon Pass. Thus far, in the last seven weeks or so, I have painted over 50 k-rails, removing the ugly blight caused by vandals. Of course, this is a job that is never really finished as new graffiti pops up every week. I have also “adopted” certain portions of Old Route 66 and roads in Devore and Sierra Lakes for trash removal. I estimate I have removed more than 25 42-gallon trash bags in the last two months.This project is also one which never ends, as careless folks continue to discard their trash. The good news, though, is the sense of accomplishment and self-satisfaction I enjoy when an area is completely trash free.

It is also satisfying when drivers honk in support as they see what I am doing and read my lime green T-shirt, which says, “This is my quarantine service project. What’s yours?"

(Bill Freeman, a long-time Fontana resident, writes the FONTANA HONOR ROLL columns in the Herald News.)

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