But that didn't stop a small group of volunteer drivers from
gathering in his honor and celebrating his compassion and
contribution to the community. Thursday afternoon, they met at Ensign
View Park and shared their feelings about Berry. The park has a
stunning view of the harbor and as they spoke, the sun got brighter,
as if his spirit was shining down on them.
"He would hate this [gathering] because he hates being recognized
for the great guy he was," said Mark Jaques. "When I lost my Dad, he
filled the void as an uncle. I knew there was always a light at the
end of the rainbow."
Berry started volunteering for the service group a little more
than seven years ago after his wife passed away. He had already lost
his two children -- his son had died in a motorcycle accident and his
daughter had passed away from a blood disease.
Friends in Service to Humanity works in conjunction with Hoag
Hospital -- Hoag prepares the meals, and the group's volunteer
drivers pick them up and deliver them.
Diana Townsend referred to Berry as her "guardian angel" because
of Berry's actions after her son, Daniel, was in a violent car crash
in 1997 on Irvine Avenue. Berry lived nearby and called 911.
"He literally saved my boy's life," Townsend said.
Townsend's eyes started tearing up as she talked about Berry's
continued concern for her and her son after the accident.
"Every day, I picked up my meals, I would get hugs," Townsend
said. "He continued to nurture so much love and hopefulness in a
bleak time for me."
Berry inspired Joan Clamp to become a volunteer. He used to
deliver meals to Clamp's parents. When they died, Clamp began
volunteering. She now delivers meals with Eunetta Pickett, another
"That's why my friend and I are delivering food now," Clamp said.
"I wanted to give something back."
Berry won a few awards for his volunteer efforts, said Sal Torres,
program director for the mobile meals program. And Berry was so
committed to the program that in addition to delivering meals, he
would be at Hoag every weekday helping to get the meals ready.
"He had a great attitude and was willing to help others," Torres