Two Memorial Hospital doctors, two nurses and their families went to San Francisco for an extraordinary occasion Wednesday.
Homeland Security officials invited them down to thank them for all they did when two officers with severe rifle-bullet wounds were rushed in from the large, anti-gang raid of a house in Petaluma before dawn one day last May.
"We don't typically do awards outside the agency," said David Prince, Assistant Special Agent in Charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in Northern California.
Prince said his office wanted to show its appreciation for the care the wounded officers received and the way Memorial cooperated with them at a tense and critical time.
Prince's boss, Special Agent in Charge Clark Settles, presented plaques to orthopedic surgeons Michael Grafe and Alex Iezza and registered nurses Isabel Cavalli and Tiffany Oliver.
"I've never experienced anything like this before," Iezza said afterward.
Grafe's daughter, Sofia, 6, asked if he'd hang his plaque in her room. Given that she accompanied him last year and befriended one of the wounded officers, talking with him about the daughter waiting for him to come home, Grafe said, "I don't think it would be a bad idea."
OVERBOARD: One big reason Rep. Jared Huffman was in Mendocino County the other day was to pat Ukiah High senior Austin Morris on the back for what he did on a ship one hairy, nearly tragic night last summer.
Austin was helping track Japanese tsunami debris and radioactivity in the Pacific aboard the 151-foot Kaisei.
Conditions turned fierce off Vancouver. Austin risked his own life as saved a crewmember who'd fallen overboard and dangled on the side.
RALPH AND JACK: The Fall 2013 men's fashion catalogue by Ralph Lauren will be a hot item in these parts.
Even locals not much into fashion yearn to see pictures from the Lauren photo shoot that has wrapped up at Jack London State Historic Park.
Comely models in polos are one thing, but of greater interest are the park scenes and the local children, vintage cars and other extras and props that complete the shots.
HUMAN TOLL: Have you ever paused at a bridge's toll booth and paid also for the car behind you, or had the driver up ahead pay for you?
A friend who often crosses the Golden Gate Bridge mourns that with human toll-takers now replaced by technology, this particular random act of kindness will no longer be possible.
Where else do you suppose you might make somebody's day by paying their way?
(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and firstname.lastname@example.org.)