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Heads will be shaved bald in the Analy High quad at lunchtime on Thursday. Principal Chris Heller has mixed feelings about the baring.

That's because his scalp is among those to be sheared.

Heller and about a dozen other administrators and teachers at the Sebastopol school agreed to sacrifice their hair or mustaches in exchange for donations to the relief fund for wrestling coach Ryan Stevens.

He has lost hair to the treatments he endures to combat advanced-stage melanoma. At the same time, he's gained great encouragement from the support he gets from his Analy and wrestling families and the entire community.

A fundraiser at Analy encourages students, staffers and parents to toss money into two five-gallon water bottles in the main office.

Slips of paper bearing the names and photos of Analy staffers are taped one atop the other on the side of the bottles. As the level of the money rises to reach each new strip, the staffers named on that strip are marked to go under the clippers.

Not surprisingly, both bottles now are stuffed with cash.

Come midday Thursday, Analy will be abuzz. Among those to be trimmed to the skin are football coach Dan Bourdon, Vice Principal Raul Guerrero and golf coach Jason Carpenter.

As Principal Heller enjoys the last few days of a grassy dome, he's hoping Coach Stevens will be up to coming by Thursday and posing with his buddies in the battle of his life.

GOING BLIND was what it took to get Nelson Pereira off his Harley-Davidson. How this Santa Rosa man loved to fire up that motorcycle and ride, preferably in the company of other connoisseurs of the rumbling hog.

Though glaucoma took his sight, Nelson enjoyed reliving the ride each time he walked into his home in the JC neighborhood. He'd made a screen-door grip of a chrome handlebar cap.

Imagine how Nelson felt to reach for the custom handle and find it missing.

"What I am alarmed about," he said, "is the gall of the person who took the time to stand on my front porch and unscrew it!"

ON THE WORST DAY of Simon Nasalga's life, in 1942, the Filipino seaman's ship was sunk by Japanese bombs and as he floated in shark-infested waters off Australia the shrapnel wound to his back caused him agony.

Nasalga survived to join the U.S. Army and serve with valor in the liberation of the Philippines. He left the military with medals and a sense of gratitude and achievement, but no Purple Heart.

He believed he was entitled to the medal, awarded to wounded GIs, because the Philippine ship sunk from beneath him — at the cost of many of his fellow Filipino crewmen's lives — had been conscripted by the U.S.

He was in service to America when he was wounded. So right up to his death at age 60 in 1981, it chafed the naturalized U.S. citizen that he hadn't received a Purple Heart.

Days ago, his wife and daughter, who took up his cause, accepted on his behalf the next best thing.

Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz presented a Mariner's Medal, the Merchant Marine's equivalent of a Purple Heart, to Estelita Nasalga of Santa Rosa and her daughter, Ofelia Fischman of Mill Valley.

Fischman said her father loved the United States and yearned for the acknowledgment that he was wounded while serving her.

Now, she said, "I feel that justice is served and my dad can rest in peace."

A PROUD AUNT, Doris Eraldi, read about 14-year-old Ava Woods of Santa Rosa competing in the Irish Dance World Championships in London on the Bay Area team that finished highest of any U.S. team in its division.

And Doris had to mention that her niece, Emily Walters, a Santa Rosa native now studying at UC Santa Cruz, danced in London, too.

The best part for Emily, who aspires to become a certified Irish Dance instructor and operate her own school:

Taking in the wonder of pursuing a passion among the very best on Earth.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.)