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It was restorative, what happened to retired sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Quinn on Wednesday, two years nearly to the day after he lost to the Valley fire “everything but the pants I was wearing.”

Among the items consumed were Quinn’s retirement badge and the Medal of Merit he was awarded for his actions on the worst day of his long career, the night in March of 1995 that a hardcore criminal murdered Deputy Frank Trejo alongside Highway 12 between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol.

At a luncheon Wednesday in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Sheriff Rob Giordano presented Quinn, now 65 and living not far from the home that burned near Middletown, with a replacement medal.

It was paid for by the Sonoma County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, represented for the occasion by President Mike Vail. Vail months ago gave Quinn a replacement retirement badge.

Vail, responding to a request by retired Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Brown, also traveled to Lake County not long ago to present a new retirement badge and two Medals of Valor to retired deputy Mike McManus, who also lost everything in the Valley fire.

Quinn grew up in Roseland, started his career as a reserve deputy in 1976 and retired as a sergeant in 2008.

He was awarded a Bronze Medal for his actions as the first to arrive on scene the night colleague Frank Trejo approached a suspicious pickup parked in the Highway 12 parking lot and was shot with a sawed-off shotgun by a freshly paroled member of the Aryan Brotherhood.

As Quinn held the new medal Wednesday, I asked him if the slaying of Trejo affected him through the rest of his career.

He answered, “It affects me today.

STORIES OF LIVES will flow from an electronic kiosk to be dedicated Monday afternoon at Santa Rosa’s downtown library.

We’re invited to be there at 5:30 p.m. for the ribbon-cutting by the nonprofit Listening for a Change, which works to dissolve barriers that divide people by encouraging neighbors to share tales of their origins, their struggles and successes and dreams, fears, all the facets of their lives.

Contained within the kiosk and available for viewing will be videos of oral histories of local people interviewed by trained students from several of our schools.

This will be the second such kiosk placed by Listening for a Change. The first was activated more than four years ago at the branch library in Cloverdale.

That one generates a good deal of interest, branch manager Stephanie Hope-Cochran told me Wednesday.

Library visitors often “just stop to listen in, young and old,” she said. Many who peruse the interviews find they personally know some of the people who are telling their stories.

Beyond that, the librarian said, many library patrons stop at the kiosk “just to see what it’s all about.” That first kiosk has traveled to locations all through the north county.

In time, the video kiosk coming to the central library, too, will be moved to other locations. Listening for a Change requests suggestions for where it might go.

The second kiosk was paid for by the Valley of the Moon Children’s Foundation in tribute to a great guy who did much to serve and unite this community, late attorney Jack DeMeo.

Chris Smith is at 707-521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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