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Avalon, California
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June 19, 2015     The Catalina Islander
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June 19, 2015
 

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Life on the Rural Side In Memoriam: Elder Roberts Thomas 1936-2015 This week instead of writing about Two Harbors I feel a need to pay tribute to a great man who loved Catalina. Every Sunday, Elder Roberts Thomas and his wife, Sister Carol Thomas, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, traveled from Long Beach to Avalon to hold church services. Because there are only a few Latter-day Saints (Mormons) on Jessica Scofield Columnist the Island, holding weekly church meetings could be a challenge. To ensure consistency for local members, the Thomases were assigned to conduct Latter-day Saint services on the Island. Every Sunday for almost three years, Elder and Sister Thomas faithfully took the ferry from Long Beach, conducted worship services, and then took the ferry back home. In three years they missed only a handful of Sundays--twice while visiting their children in other states (and then only after absolutely ensuring that someone else would be able to fill in) and a couple times when local members asked them to avoid crossing the chan- nel due to rough weather. The Thomases evinced singular dedication. All people are welcome to LDS church meetings. On the Island, tourists frequent- ly attend. Whenever guests were present, Elder Thomas, impressed with their desire to attend church even on vacation, particularly in a culture that promotes "Sunday Fun-day" in place of religious worship, would say that some- day, when we're all "on the other side," we'd meet up again and say, "Remember that day on Catalina" I suppose he meant to highlight what their choice to attend said about their priorities, and their hearts. Although Brother Thomas lived on the mainland, he dearly loved the inhabitants of Catalina Island. He spoke highly of all the Avalon taxi drivers, praising their helpfulness and kindness. He called the ferry workers his friends. He prayed for the people of the Island, desiring happiness and peace for us all. And despite declining health, he traveled here every week. Elder Thomas passed away on Friday, June 5, 2015. On May 31, just days before his passing, he was in Avalon, overseeing church serv- ices. I am grateful to have known this example of consecrated diligence and love. Yes, Brother Thomas, we'll always "remember that day on Catalina." Jessica Scofield lives in Two Harbors with her husband and infant son. They moved to Catalina from Lancaster, which is in northern Los Angeles County. She has a bachelor's degree from Brigham Young University (in Provo, Utah). She double majored in 1. Psychology and 2. Home and Family Life. She says she loves her current job as a stay-at-home morn. Elder Roberts Thomas of Long Beach traveled to Catalina every Sunday to conduct Latter- day Saint Services on the Island. Courtesy photo Mike Forcella strives to succeed on the football field and at CIMC When Mike Forcelta isn't at his station in the Therapy Services Department of Catalina Island Medical Center, he's coaching football at Avalon High School In less than a year, he has streamlined appointments BY JUDY HIBBS "Football is life" and Mike Forcella, an employee at Catalina Island Medical Center, embodies the best qualities mentioned in the Vince Lombardi quote. In less than a year Mike has worked as the hospital's front desk clerk, housing coordinator and now begins a new role as Shows Nightly at 7:30pm Rated PG- 13 Admission: Adult $15.00, Senior or Child S ] 3.00 Admission: Adult $10.00, Senior or Child 88.00 Every Tuesday $8.00 Admission administrative assistant and office support for the Therapy Services Department. Forcella, who visited Catalina on vacation from Clearwater, Florida, met Earl Schrader in line at Von's and started talking foot- ball. Now almost five years later, after guiding the Avalon Lancers Football squad to two consecu- tive league championships and several California Interscholastic Federation semi-final games, Forcella and Schrader have been selected as CIF "All Star" coaches and will lead one of the teams for this year's eight-man division All Star game. The game will be played in Avalon on Saturday, June 27. "CIMC is a great place, and it has a great environment. I love working here," Forcella said. He excels at greeting patients and visitors, assisting callers phoning in to the hospital, han- dling residential assignments for interim or contract personnel and using his organizational skills and work ethic to make the Medical Center a better place to be. A former college football player at Belhaven University in Mississippi and Arena Football League linebacker, Forcella worked initially in Avalon men- toring teenagers through the Community Church and Singing Waters Christian Fellowship. He sings and plays guitar and was often leading worship for youth activities or church services. Medical Center and football now fill his days. Schrader, who started the high- ly successful Avalon High football program in 1997, will be taking an advisory coaching role and Forcella has accepted the head coaching position at the school. Forcella approaches work at the hospital with the same intensity as game day preparation. His responsibility for the hous- ing of up to 18 mainland employees (14 of whom are nurses) includes handling eight rental properties and numerous hotel overnights for an important part of the hospital's workforce. His work in the Therapy Services Department has already streamlined and expedited appointments and referrals. An avid hiker, Forcella's favor- ite trail to take is Hermit Gulch. He hiked it every day for three months when he first moved to the Island and loved the challenge and beautiful scenery. What's his prediction for Avalon football in 2015? Football, Page 7 For More Information Call 3t0-510-0179 6 ! Friday, June 19, 2015 THE CATALINA ISLANDER