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Smith: One thing Ralph taught his son

Years ago, Ralph Harms just had to learn emergency lifesaving.

The conspicuously fit 77-year-old runner and former Green Beret taught YMCA fitness classes for decades, and he's mentored scores of kids in the Salvation Army's Double Punches boxing club. So year after year, the Santa Rosan was certified in CPR.

As he recalls, it was four years back that he asked his grown son, Joe, if he'd like to learn the technique for attempting to revive someone who's showing no signs of life. Joe did, so Ralph taught him.

Darned good thing. Earlier this summer they and a friend were playing the Sebastopol Golf Course and, wham, Ralph collapsed in full cardiac arrest.

Joe knelt and performed chest compressions on him until paramedics arrived. A triple bypass later, Ralph is much better. He soon as he was able, he told his son, "I wouldn't be here if not for you."

Joe replied, "You know what, Dad? Right back at you."

DUFFER'S CHRISTMAS: Santa Claus is real. I've met him and maybe you have, too.

He poses as Tim Oxford, a 6-foot-5 contractor from Windsor. For 20 Christmases, he's donned the red-and-white and presented gifts — last year alone, more than 1,300 of them — to special-needs kids, homeless moms, lonely seniors and myriad others.

"Santa Tim" and some helpers will host their first benefit golf tourney Oct. 11 at Windsor Golf Course. A couple of its nice touches:


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