Remember 7-year-old Nicholas Green of Bodega Bay?
I'll never forget the sweet and inquisitive lad, though we never met. In 1994, I wrote the first stories about the bandits who chased his family's rented car in Italy, and about the anguished decision by his parents, Maggie and Reg, to donate his organs to seven seriously ailing Italians after Nicholas was shot to death.
Perhaps no other act has done more to encourage people everywhere to consider organ donation for themselves and for loved ones who die unexpectedly.
The Greens — the family includes Nicholas' younger sister, Eleanor, who's now 23, and twins Martin and Laura, 17 — moved years ago to Southern California. But Reg was back in Sonoma County the other day.
He said in a talk to the World Affairs Council of Sonoma County that he still hears from people around the globe who've been awakened to the issue of organ donation, perhaps by a death or through a rerun of the 1998 TV movie, "Nicholas' Gift."
"It continues to be on the television in the remotest places," said Reg, who's now 84.
He's still talking, writing and working pretty much full time to sustain his son's legacy. He told me he believes that when the issue of organ donation arises, there sometimes springs to mind the story of the Bodega Bay boy whose death gave life to others.
"One has the feeling," he said, "that without being seen, this stuff is trickling down."
BAPTISM BY WATER: Pastor Steve Puleo perked up upon seeing the news story about the construction project to upgrade the performance hall at the Wells Fargo Center.
The part that most intrigued Puleo: the workers' removal of the baptismal pool that's been backstage since the venue alongside 101 just north of Santa Rosa was the Christian Life Center.
It was built in 1974 but was short-lived as a church. In 1981, a sorely tested congregation sold the property in a bankruptcy auction to community investors for use as an arts complex — originally the Luther Burbank Center.
The news that the Fiberglas pool was removed, along with other remnants of the center's church era, piqued the interest of Puleo, who's on the pastoral staff at the Vertical Call spiritual community on Bennett Valley Road.
Its congregation is preparing to move to a new home in a former warehouse behind Corby Auto Row, and Puleo's thinking it may be possible to install the approximately 5-foot by 10-foot sacramental basin there.
"I wanted to look at it and see what kind of shape it's in," he said. The folks at the Wells Fargo Center welcomed him to come check it out, and to take it if he wanted it.
"It looks pretty good," the pastor said.
On Friday, he and some sturdy friends went to the center with a flatbed truck. A member of the construction team that's modernizing the Ruth Finley Person Theater used a big forklift to help them hoist the pool on it.
Pastor Puleo said he's not sure it will work to place the baptismal pool in the new church, but if it doesn't he'll hope to find another suitable home for it.
"At least we have the option to use it," he said.