The Power of a Fresh Start

by John Hawkins, President and CEO, The Club

At Sanitation’s Cazador Yard, home of two Mobile Hygiene Units, are (from left) Jonelle Gardea, Solid Resource Superintendent; Club COO Robert Larios; and Danie Maldonado, Refuse Collection Supervisor. Jonelle and Danie are Club Members.

“Hit the showers” usually means your day, or task, is done.

Sanitation’s Mobile Hygiene Unit teams see it differently: Hitting the showers can be the beginning of a new day, a new outlook, a new life.

It’s a continuation of our series looking at how City men and women are working through the COVID-19 pandemic. Last August, writing about Rec and Parks’ efforts to care for the unhoused, Jimmy Kim told us about Sanitation’s program to provide hygiene services like showers, bathrooms and clothing exchanges. That’s our focus this month.

Alive! in August focused on Rec and Parks’ efforts to shelter the unhoused.

The program is simple – hygiene matters to all humans. We all know that. But it’s so much more. The Mobile Hygiene Unit is about trust, and dignity, and what can happen when you raise people’s lives off the ground. If in these tough times you wonder if anything good is happening, read this. It is. Thanks to Jonelle Gardea, Danie Maldonado (both Club Members) and the Sanitation teams for the awesome job they’re doing.

Council President
Nury Martinez

Moving on … Like so much in the world, this issue looks different than those in previous years. There are no City-sponsored holiday events to list, as they’ve all been postponed. So we decided to include some photos from years past. We hope these photos help you remember that the holidays are right around the corner! … We report the sad news that Ed Harding, 99, longtime Public Works/Street Services head and RLACEI President, has died. Just two months ago we paid tribute to Ed as he retired from the RLACEI board. As his death comes late in our November production cycle, we’ll wait until next month to have a more complete look at his life … Congratulations to Nury Martinez, Councilwoman for the Sixth District, who last December became the first Latina to become President of the City Council … Also congratulations to Rotundra Green, who retired from Airports after 35 years of City service. She used to review movies when Alive! featured arts reviews.

This year has been tough on us all, and this holiday season looks like it will be different than anyone of us expected. But I feel that Thanksgiving is coming at exactly the right time, giving us all a chance to count our blessings. I am thankful for my friends, my family … and all of you, Club Members.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

— John