There was a Letter to the Editor on Tuesday suggesting that, as a healing response to the massacre in Connecticut, we make a gift to a local child in need.

"It is a small gesture," it said, "but it is something."

Wendy Quinn of Windsor read it. The owner of an industrial supply company, she researched and learned of two Windsor schools that are collecting for students in families that struggle.

Then she went shopping.

When she pulled up at Windsor Creek Elementary School, principal Maureen Grafeld took on the look of someone viewing a miracle.

Quinn presented her and the school of 500 6-, 7- and 8-year-olds with $1,000 worth of new toys, $1,500 in Safeway gift cards and $2,500 in cash for a project to improve security at the school.

And after that, Quinn drove to Windsor's Cali Calm?ac Language Academy and gave Principal Jeannie Acu? $1,500 in gift certificates.

"What an incredible human being," Acu? said.

"I don't think she's ever set foot in the school. She just came in and handed us enough gifts from Walmart and from Safeway to provide 15 families with a special Christmas this year."

I reached Quinn by phone and she said, "It's just giving back. I wanted to do something here locally."

SIKHS AND VETS broke naan in Santa Rosa the other day as volunteer cooks in turbans produced aromas that were out of this world.

It happened at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial Building, where members of the local Sikh temple served about 100 military vets, many of them homeless.

"We want to be of help to people who need it most," said Dr. Mandeep Nagra, an organizer of the free, pre-holiday meal. "We have a special love for the veterans; they fought for our freedom."

The Sikhs presented their tasty gift of thanks during a weekly gathering hosted by Sonoma County Vet Connect, which provides vets in need a place to come and find help.

This was the fourth annual meal by the Sikhs, and it attracted the largest group of diners yet. Nagra said that early on, vets wondered where the meat was.

By now the word is out that the vegetarian feast of garbanzo beans, curry, basmati rice, naan, yogurt, fruit and chai is well worth the walk.

NO ONE SURFS more often than Sonoma County's Dale Webster, who's paddled out and ridden in every day for 37 years.

And no one felt sadder or more foolish than he when a distraction caused him to forget to strap down his highly customized surfboard before he drove away from Bodega Bay's Doran Park. By the time he realized it fell off his car and he drove back, he couldn't find it.

Webster glumly rode a spare for the several days during which a Coast Guardsman from the Bodega Bay station searched for the owner of the exquisite if banged up, five-finned surfboard he'd found alongside Highway 1.

Now Webster, as grateful as the ocean is deep, has work to do on the board he intends to ride on his 14,000th and final consecutive day in 2014.

(Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and