tv NBC Bay Area News Special NBC March 21, 2016 12:00am-12:31am PDT
watching an nbc bay area news special, "bay area proud." chris sontag-ratti: and any time i got into troubled water, she was, like, extra reason for me to make sure to get out. announcer: she was everything to him. and now, a hayward man is using the bond he shared with his beloved dog to bring joy to other owners. chris: it wasn't just about everything, you know, and myself. it was about affecting other people. announcer: plus, a bay area winemaker pours his heart and soul into a very special blend of red wine. darrell groom: colby comes in one day, he's 11 years of age, and he says, "dad, dad, dad, can we make a wine together?" announcer: and the talents of this magician-- chuck katis: find your card. announcer: go way beyond tricks. chuck: i want to go represent the us. announcer: how his two passions could be just the trick to make a world impact. reymond pardini: i didn't know they were going to do all of this.
announcer: but first, finding a bright light after a dark tragedy. tasha decosta: this young man chose to take a different course of action, to do better for the community. announcer: now, here's nbc bay area's garvin thomas. garvin thomas: good evening, and thank you so much for joining us. that tragedy was the senseless killing of a 17-year-old nearly a year ago. when someone so young dies in such a violent way, people react in all sorts of ways. some, they want retaliation. but you're about to meet one young man who chose a different path. reymond pardini is a 16-year-old junior at hayward's mount eden high school, and he came up with a bright idea to honor his friend's legacy. when violence takes the life of someone close, revenge sometimes feels like a good response. an eye for an eye, a fair deal. that is not, however, how reymond pardini sees it.
reymond: i wasn't angry, i was sad. garvin: last august, reymond's friend, kionta murphy jr., a mount eden high school graduate with plans to join the marines, was shot and killed while walking a female friend home late one night. at vigils that followed, reymond heard whispers from some who wanted to take matters into their own hands, and not leave justice to the police. reymond: that shocked me because that's not at all how i saw kionta. i didn't see him rolling with that kind of crowd of people who would try to put themselves above the law because that's not how he was. garvin: reymond decided, a much more fitting response to such a dark act was to shine a light, literally. you see, while revisiting the spot kionta was shot, reymond noticed just how dark it was at night. he contacted the city to see what he could do about it. a list of rules followed about making measurements,
taking photographs, and collecting signatures, all of which reymond spent weeks following. reymond: it was more than just, you know, doing something. it was helping communities and people. because i didn't know they were going to do all of this. garvin: reymond's petition asked for lights to be added to a single pole near the crime scene. the city responded, though, with much, much more. last week, lighting improvements were completed up and down the block. this admittedly shy 16-year-old had gotten the attention of his city leaders, and earned their respect in the process. tasha: well, i think what a positive role model this kid is. garvin: tasha decosta is a sergeant in hayward pd's investigations division. tasha: this young man chose to take a different course of action, to do better for the community, to make the community safer. garvin: reymond says he never expected his plan to work so well, though he's happy it did.
his was just a simple hope that this spot never be darkened by violence again. reymond: that was the reason it happened. and i guess when i look at the lights, it'll remind me of him. garvin: now to a berkeley man who is a shining example of using two big talents to make a big difference in other people's lives. chuck katis is a magician with something up his sleeve. but it's not what you might think. it's not cards or a handkerchief. it's something very special. chuck: so, the first thing i'm going to do is show you how magicians find your card. garvin: chuck katis has been very busy practicing these days. he's got more than one big event planned this summer. chuck: but if i have the ace here, where's the nine? garvin: there's the magic show he's putting together, one that will support his nonprofit, helping sick, hungry, and homeless children. chuck was just a kid himself when he became fascinated by
magic, though it wasn't until his sister was in the hospital and his magic tricks helped keep her spirits up that chuck realized it was a talent he could use for good. chuck: i realized that it was something that was meaningful to me, and the floodgates opened. garvin: it started chuck down the road to forming the magic of miracles, performing and teaching magic to kids in hospitals and homeless shelters. chuck: if this magic could take them out of that situation for even a second, it uld have been totally worth it. garvin: chuck sometimes wishes he could devote all his time to magic. but then there is that other event he's been preparing for this summer, a little something called the olympic games. chuck, you see, is a cal grad, an american record-holder in the medley relay with his goggles firmly fixed on rio. chuck: i want to make the olympic team. i want to go represent the us. garvin: chuck believes his two passions
aren't as different as they may seem. mastery of either takes untold hours of practice. what's more, chuck is certain that doing one helps the other. making the olympic swim team would certainly bring attention to his nonprofit. and working with children in need, well, that provides an extra kick in the pool. chuck: and i think receiving that strength and energy back from them makes everything i do worth it. garvin: chuck, it would seem, is a magician with a little something extra up his sleeve, particularly when he isn't wearing any. now to winter sports, and two teenage ski racers who share a talent on and off the mountains. the walnut creek young women saw plenty of cold weather gear left behind at ski resorts, so they did something about it in a very big way. it's a heavenly recipe for big crowds.
take a week of school vacation, add a few feet of snow topped off by some warm sunshine, and you'll have thousands packing their gear and heading to the mountains. of course, not all that gear makes it back home. katrine kirsebom: we still lose stuff. still do. garvin: katrine kirsebom and corinne hindes have each been skiing since they were little girls. now, both 16 years old, they are experienced racers, which means they spend enough time on the mountain to take it for granted that people lose things now and again for no good reason. that is, until these girls came up with one. corinne hindes: and it's an idea that no one has really thought of before. garvin: take all that good quality winter gear that was filling up ski resort lost and founds, and find it a good home back home in walnut creek. it started when the pair were just 11. corinne: we kind of noticed, like, homeless people in the
streets, and we noticed that they weren't really wearing any warm clothes during the winter, and that they were kind of just wearing t-shirts and ripped jeans. garvin: so, katrine and corinne began their very own nonprofit, collecting the warm clothes and donating them to the homeless. katrine: it just, like, snowballed, i guess. corinne: ready? dump it all out. garvin: warm winters now collects from 30 ski resorts in 12 states, and 1 in australia. in 5 years, they've collected and donated close to half a million dollars worth of clothing. it is a total that makes these young women feel good, though not quite as good as seeing someone in their hometown in a jacket they gave them. corinne: it feels really good. it makes you feel like you're actually making a difference. it makes the whole situation very real, and it kind of brings you back to reality and shows you that, like, you're actually impacting someone's life. garvin: proof these two have discovered that you can get a
warm feeling by giving others the very same thing. both girls have been recognized for their work, corinne most recently honored by the gloria baron award for young heroes. announcer: coming up, he's not just a marine, he's a singer and songwriter. and he's using his voice in hopes of helping other veterans who struggle with ptsd. plus, we introduce you to a san francisco couple who knows the true meaning of giving back. michael hofman: if we can, especially for the tourists, give them the feeling that there are people who care about them, then it's just going to make a much bigger difference. announcer: up next, a man honors his beloved dog by giving away something for free.
so, when a hayward man decided to give something away, he didn't think too many people would respond. chris sontag-ratti was wrong. and you're about to see how his act of kindness has snowballed into a project that's priceless. this is the story of a man and the dog he loved. the man is chris sontag-ratti. if you're wondering where the dog is, well, that's where we'll begin. two years ago, cancer claimed the life of chris's 12-year-old boxer-rottweiler mix, his best friend with the funny name. chris: people would say, "why do you keep saying everything to your dog? what are you--are you calling your dog everything?" yeah, that's my dog's name. garvin: chris says he literally picked everything's name out of a hat when he got her as a puppy. it turned out to be as perfect as it was random. everything became just that to chris. chris: i guess some people have religion, and some people
have, you know, their materialistic things. but for me, it was the dog. garvin: during some tough times in the past, tempted down some dark roads, one thing, chris says, always kept him from going too far astray. chris: and any time i got into troubled water, she was, like, extra reason for me to make sure to get out and stay out. no matter what, i had her as, like, this responsibility, and i never let that go. garvin: you can imagine what it was like for chris to lose her. two years later, it still hurts. chris: this is, like, my favorite picture i have of us. garvin: but if time wouldn't heal the wound, perhaps kindness might ease the pain. it's why last month, christ put this post on instagram, promising to send anyone a free tennis ball if they just promise to use it to play with their dog, like chris wishes he could his.
he started with 100 balls and low expectations. chris: i figured i was going to be sitting in my room with about 80 or 90 tennis balls, but it didn't happen like that. garvin: chris exhausted his initial supply practically overnight, and now has a waiting list hundreds of dogs long, people from around the country, even the world, sending in requests with notes of thanks and encouragement, and then sending back proof of chris's good deed. chris: it wasn't just about everything, you know, and myself. it was about affecting other people and, like, getting them in contact with their pets. so, that may be just a backyard dog on a chain, you know, so hopefully they'll let the dog off the chain and throw the ball or something, yeah. garvin: it's a lesson all of us can learn from, really. if you ever feel like you've lost everything, just throw a little love out into the world, and watch it brought right back to you.
car break-ins have hit epidemic levels in san francisco. you see evidence of it all over the city in the form of shattered glass on streets and sidewalks. but when that crime wave hit a popular tourist spot, one local couple decided to give back to the victims, literally. the view from twin peaks is one of the nicest things about san francisco. it's why thousands come here every single day. but should these folks ever want a glimpse of something even better, all they have to do is look down and see who's coming up the hill. michael: boy, what a beautiful d ay. garvin: michael hofman and janet moyer have lived in the shadow of twin peaks for 33 years. about a decade ago, in search of exercise, they began weekly hikes to the top. they soon discovered something along the way, a lot of litter, so they started picking it up. michael: if you live in a place that you love, you want to
make sure it always looks good. we can tell how much fun everyone had by how much garbage, you know? garvin: turns out the pair could also tell how little fun someone had. a few years ago, michael and janet say they say evidence of a spike in car break-ins, not just glass on the ground, but purses, wallets, and backpacks in the bushes nearby. michael: the scenario is someone smashes and grabs, drives away, drives down here, somewhere along here, and then throws everything but the money out. garvin: emptied of money, but not of value. inside, michael and janet discovered many driver's licenses, credit cards, passports, even medicine, things people would certainly want back. so, they did what they could to make that happen. michael: it's a little bit of forensic analysis. garvin: over the years, janet and michael estimate they have reunited dozens of tourists and locals with their belongings. janet moyer: a lot of them are in tears.
garvin: michael and janet say, like the litter cleanup, it's an expression of their love for the city, and their hope that when visitors leave, they rave about more than just the views. michael: if we can, especially for the tourists, give them the feeling that there are people who care about them, then it's just going to make a much bigger difference. garvin: some of their lost and found stories are truly amazing. in one case, the couple found a taiwanese passport, went to the consulate on a sunday to deliver it, and literally ran into the person who lost it, someone who had a flight later that day. announcer: coming up, wines can be described as having a lot of body, but colby red truly has a lot of heart. colby groom: i wanted to give back to the community that saved my life. announcer: but first, an iraq war veteran uses his singing and songwriting talents in hopes of saving fellow veterans. john preston: and the goal isn't to make people aware this time. the goal is to catch the ones that might be thinking about it. announcer: and his mission hits especially close to home.
veterans have with post-traumatic stress. a marine and musician from danville has dedicated his life to sounding the alarm about the devastating results of ptsd. we first introduced you to him last year. and normally when we do updates, it's almost always good news. this time, however, there's sadness involved, but also a promise, a promise john preston is making to keep moving forward no matter what he has to overcome. ♪ it's not going to take very long for you to ♪ ♪ realize i'm no fool. garvin: it was a year ago, and clearly things were just about to happen for john preston. the danville marine and iraq war veteran had just rebooted his music career, and people were beginning to take note of his songs and the message they carried. more americans, john believed, needed to know about the tragedy
that was 22 veterans a day committing suicide. john: a number that, the first time i heard it, completely blew my mind. john: it is for veterans with ptsd. garvin: so, for the past year, while still working as a palo alto firefighter, john has poured everything he had into getting the word out. john: my last, what, year and a quarter had been fighting for ptsd, you know, and talking about veteran suicide. garvin: it was work that was paying off. music sales were better than ever, a music video of his latest song viewed hundreds of thousands of times, john being asked to perform, speak, and write on the issue of ptsd on a national level. yes, things were happening just as john had planned them, but life has a nasty way of sometimes not following the tune.
john: and this is in january, it was january 13th. my brother was a marine. garvin: john's older brother mike was a police officer in their home state of kentucky. like so many veterans john knew, mike also suffered from ptsd. john: he kissed his children goodbye, and he got in a car, and he drove down the street, and he took his own life. garvin: of all the lives john has been trying to save, he couldn't save one of the ones closest to him. it was enough to make him quit trying at all. john: i said it out loud, garvin, i did. i literally said, "i failed." garvin: but john is a unique combination, a singer and soldier, with always one more song, one more battle left in it. john: and the goal isn't to make people aware this time. the goal is to catch the ones that might be thinking about it. you know, the goal is to remind them of how special they are,
you make lemonade, right? what if it gives you grapes? well, if you're one wine country family, you make a lot of money for charity. darrell groom has made a name for himself as a winemaker not just in sonoma county, but in his native australia. the wines he has made are loved by many. the one he's making now, though, has his heart for some very good reasons. taking the best the world can give and making it even better, it's what great winemakers do. and darrell groom, everyone seems to agree, is one of those. darrell: just the fruit, it jumps out of the glass.
garvin: though making the best out of something bad, well, darrell and his wife lisa appear to be masters of that too. the bad thing in this case, their son colby's aortic valve. darrell: but we always knew that he'd have to have an open heart surgery. it was just a matter of when. garvin: that surgery came when colby was just eight. problem was it didn't work. and he went under for a second open heart surgery just months later. lisa groom: colby really had to face his own mortality. and you know, it kind of burst his childhood bubble, i'm sure. garvin: ten years later, and darrell now pours almost all of his winemaking talents into a single wine called colby red, named for his son. proceeds from the sale of colby red go to heart-related charities. and just 5 years in, they are closing in on $1 million raised. lisa: yeah, annual sales are about 25,000 cases a year now,
so that's pretty amazing for us. garvin: and that, believe it or not, is not even the best part of the colby red story. the best part is that it was all colby's idea. colby: i wanted to give back to the community that saved my life. darrell: colby comes in one day, he's 11 years of age, and he says, "dad, dad, dad, can we make a wine together?" garvin: colby says he was so grateful to have survived his ordeal, he just wanted to help others do the same. the first year, he and his dad made just 2 barrels of colby red, raised just about $500. it was, however, the start, they say, of something big. colby: sometimes, i say it spiraled out of control, but in a good way. i'm so proud of it every day for what has become what i'm able to do for others. garvin: colby, now 18, is a regular speaker at charitable events, crisscrossing the country, sharing his story, letting others know that when life gives you lemons, you can do a lot better than lemonade.
thanks again so much for joining us for this "bay area proud" special. you can see new "bay area proud" stories every tuesday and thursday evenings in our 5 p.m. newscast, and all the reports are on our website. just go to nbcbayarea.com and scroll down to the "bay area proud" section. if you know someone who should be featured on our "bay area proud" segment, i want to hear from you. just go to the website and you'll find all my contact information right there. have a good night. look at this sweet face. so sweet. ok, we're going to need a napkin gooey, flaky, happy. toaster strudel. are you eating lucky charms? no. this is a dream.
i'm sara gore. and this is open house. right now, we're shining the spotlight on a growing design trend, decor inspired by nature. we are in new jersey where a homeowner transformed his abode into an exotic estate, sparked by his passion for africa. and we tour a california home where the owners created an eclectic space made largely from recycled and salvaged materials. plus, tara lipinski tells us how a life on an island inspired the color palette for her southern sanctuary. but first, bring the outdoors in at this retreat in malibu. it's impossible to have a bad day when you wake up in a master suite just like this. [music playing] welcome to open house. today, i'm coming to you from a cozy penthouse