From the editor: Robots, George Pellegrini, and the human connection | Opinion

The past few weeks, during these historic wildfires up and down the coast causing untold loss and devastation, I’ve been observing distinctly human acts of outreach and caring. And all while a pandemic is going on. If we look for a silver lining to tragedy, trauma, and loss, we can perhaps find one in the human connection.

A wise person said recently that the reason our hearts ache during catastrophes like the current ones we are experiencing, and the reason we feel we want to do something about it, is because we care. And that caring is something in itself to be valued. Caring and compassion are some of humankind’s best qualities.

During the pandemic people have been motivated, for good or bad, to reach out to those they haven’t spoken to in years, often via social media. DNA testing is also way up, as people find, for good or bad, previously unknown family members.

Close to home, many in the community know George Pellegrini from his service in the American Legion and participation in many other community organizations. Or maybe he’s your neighbor in Rancho de Calistoga.

I had the pleasure to interview George for our “They Served with Honor” series, profiling local military veterans. I wasn’t sure how it would go, as George lost his wife, Phyllis, just this past May. They had been married for 69 years.

I needn’t have worried, however. George was well-prepared for the interview with all kinds of photos and documents. Part of the profile package also includes shooting video of the subject. This was my first time shooting video with a story, and I wasn’t sure how it would go or if George would be up for it. But I turned on the camera and he was off and running, quite comfortable telling his story to the unseen audience. A real trooper in every sense of the word.

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