Before jumping into 2013 with renewed hope, let's take an uber quick glance at a few people helping make our community bright in 2012.
GARDEN PARTY: Jeff McPeek of Antioch and the Rev. Roberto Corral of Holy Rosary Church took a seedling of an idea, which bloomed into a community garden benefiting those in need. Thanks to a strong volunteer group and a generous business owner Nicholas Welzenbach, the garden has taken hold on the Higgins Funeral Chapel grounds.
JUMPING OBSTACLES: After losing her leg in an accident, Oakley's Natalie Busby was fortified by faith and a strong desire to move on to enter her next phase. At 54, her focus is on health and happiness, even joining a gym despite her prosthetic -- inspiring all in her path.
SHINING STAR: Georgetown sophomore Jimmy Ramirez is passionate about the California Homeless Youth Project. As a senior at Oakley's Freedom High, he was valedictorian, class president and homeless. He found refuge with teacher Fidel Garcia, and is now determined to pay it forward.
ENERGIZER BUNNY: At 94, Millie Burris Peterson's week is filled bingo and cribbage, friends, church and service organizations -- driving herself to all activities. The lifelong Antioch resident said "(Keeping busy) keeps me going, keeps my mind active." Peterson makes for a fine role model.
KEY PLAYER: After 50 years, Pittsburg's Ann Custer stepped down as the music director for Community Presbyterian Church. In that half decade, Custer cast a wide net guiding countless folks and forging lifelong friendships -- many of whom acknowledge her kindness and commitment to help.
HELPING HANDS: When Antioch's Tami Clark and her toddler, Natalee, were seriously injured in a boating accident, the community jumped into immediate help mode. Too many to name, folks rallied to fundraise in big ways, offer meals and more. The pair is doing amazingly well since that fateful August day on the Delta.
FINAL FAREWELL: While the year brought much joy, our cities lost many gems, including Worth Shaw (83) in January 2012. Devoted to helping youth, the beloved leader was the first director of Antioch's park and rec department, where he served for 31 years.
Elsie Zeiser, another lifelong Antioch resident, passed on Jan, 20. In her 101 years here, she was the life of the party, attending countless dances and working hard for several service groups, including the FOE Auxiliary No. 785 for 77 years.
On March 11, East County said bye to Charlie Ochoa (73) after an aneurysm, the ever-present videographer who captured an enormous number of local functions. A gregarious soul, there was hardly an event he and wife Carmen didn't attend and help highlight.
Stalwart and admired Antioch resident Jim Odom (68) passed on June 21 after a construction accident. That he was loved and admired was evident by the more than 500 people at his service.
The sociable owner of Franc Signs, Frank Ambrosini Sr. (88) passed on June 8 from Parkinson's disease. Beginning in the '50s, he handmade a majority of local business signs.
A tireless volunteer, folks bid farewell to Katie Cavalieri (94) on June 14. She was known as "Delicious" to many, as that was her typical answer when someone would ask: "How are you?"
The Antioch district began its school year on a heartbreaking note when admired teacher Amy Farias (59) passed away suddenly on Sept. 4. She is credited with teaching thousands of students and guiding many friends and family with her caring ways and leadership skills.
Many posted their sweet memories of their favorite ice cream man, after East County lost Joe Lucido (87) on Oct. 16. Lovingly called Big Joe, he was friend to thousands of kids in the 1970s and 80s.
Quiet and unassuming, Jody Jones (88) was at the center of numerous area fundraisers and projects. She left us on Oct. 19. Antioch nominated her twice for Citizen of the Year.
And, just before Christmas, our community lost a true and kind-hearted hero in Carol Marchetti (73), a diligent advocate for homeless children. She also enriched the lives of countless Antioch students.
Contact Trine Gallegos at firstname.lastname@example.org.