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Smith: An ill boy, a wrestler, a weekend

  • Gabe “Tyler Reks” Tuft and 15-year-old Jonathon O'Malley (Fran Russell Photography)

It's back to Missouri on Tuesday for Jonathon O'Malley, a 15-year-old with a tough medical condition and a new friend who's huge and strong and wishes he had the power to heal the boy.

You would not believe the dream weekend Jonathon shared with Gabe Tuft, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Analy High alum who called himself “Tyler Reks” when he was a pro wrestler on TV.

At one point — amid the limo rides, the scream machines of Great America, the celebrity dinner at Guy Fieri's restaurant, the drive to Bodega Bay for a Midwestern lad's first encounter with the sea, the private playing of video games cast onto a screen at Rialto Cinemas — Jonathon asked, “Is this real life?”

Dominating his life in Kansas City is an incurable autoimmune disease, dermatomyositis.

The Dream Factory in Missouri offered to send him and his mother, Lori, on the adventure of his choice. He asked to come to Sonoma County and spend time with Tuft and his wife, Priscilla.

A host of local firms and non-profits volunteered to welcome them and treat them like royalty. Among the sponsors who pulled out the stops were the Active 20/30 Club of Santa Rosa, Driven Raceway, Pure Luxury Limousines, Sally Tomatoes and John Ash & Co., where mother and son dined Monday night before packing for the flight home.

As Jonathon and Tuft sobbed their good-byes, the ailing kid's grip was even tighter than the wrestler's. Said Priscilla Tuft, “I know there's a little boy who's going home very blessed by Sonoma County.”

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Northern Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire was exactly where constituent Michele Fair needed him when her Healdsburg coffeehouse began to flood.

A late-night break in a water line had started to make a mess of things in Bean Affair when McGuire happened by on a moonlit constitutional with wife Erika.

Spotting the water trouble, McGuire called firefighters, who rushed to stem the flow.

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