South San Francisco, Ca June 20, 2016 by Kamala Silva Wolfe
He thought he had seen it all in his 100 years, yet nothing could prepare Ray Bagley for the well wishes he received on this 100th birthday. His good neighbor, Pam Gradney, had contacted Everything South City as she was looking for a way to let others know of this monumental event. “My neighbor Raymond Bagely is turning 100 on June 11. He actually helped to build the houses in our Brentwood subdivision. I would love to make this a really special day for him. Any ideas?” she wrote us back in May. This was perfect, exactly what so many of us long for, that small town feeling and I knew others would want to be a part of this as well.
Pam and I chatted a few times bouncing ideas back and forth thinking of ways we could make this day be extra special for a very special neighbor. Pam meet with Ray’s son Bill to gather some facts to fill in a biography she was writing. (CLICK HERE TO READ THIS) In addition, Mayor Mark Addiego agreed to adjourn the May 25th City Council meeting in Ray’s honor. As the Mayor was out of town on City business this honor fell to Vice Mayor Pradeep Gupta who gave a lovely speech outlining some of Ray’s accomplishments and offering a heartfelt greeting to Ray. Once again the small town feeling was made known. (CLICK HERE TO HEAR– 32 minute mark)
Our efforts were further realized when SSFUSD Superintendent Dr. Shawnterra Moore agreed to ask some of the Principals if any of the school children might write birthday cards for Ray – and they did. The colorful handmade cards printed in grade school writing were very much appreciated. We also asked our community members to send cards to ESC and we were excited to see such a great outpouring of good wishes from so many, proving the heart of our community has deep roots in our small town feeling.
Another fun surprise that happened behind the scenes was the coordination with Jasmine Del Chiaro from City Offices who paid a visit to Ray and interviewed him for the City’s special monthly feature which is sent out by the Communications Director Leslie Arroyo. (To read Jasmine & Leslie’s interview CLICK HERE )
On the day of Ray’s birthday party I was honored to present to him all of these great cards from his community neighbors. In addition we had two other wonderful surprises; A Certificate of Recognition from the California State Assembly by Kevin Mullin, Speaker pro Tempore and a Resolution from the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors by Dave Pine.
The smile on Ray’s face was priceless as our ‘small town’ came together to remember and honor one of our own. “Geez, and here I thought I was a nobody, a retired plumber” Ray exclaimed “But now that all these people know me, I better behave myself!” he said with that twinkle in his eye.
And so friends, this is what our small town can accomplish when we come together to celebrate each other. Happy Birthday Ray, and thank you for allowing us all to be a part of it!