Here’s another example of why I love the Hereford Zone. Last month, I did a story on Robert Zerance’s sky diving adventure. Everybody who shops at Graul’s in Hereford knows Robert. He accompanies shoppers to their cars, helps them load their groceries, and brings their carts back to the store. Robert, 34, has some physical and neurological problems stemming from a car accident when he was just 4, but nothing stops him from working, enjoying life and challenging himself.

Last week, I got an e-mail from a reader wondering if I still had a copy of the November North County News. Ann Costantino of Parkton wanted to frame my story and give it to Robert as a Christmas present. She and her kids all know Robert. Every time they shopped this fall, Robert gave them the countdown on the number of days until the big jump. And, of course, he told them all about it afterward.

Ann had found a quote – “Courage, above all things, is the first quality of a warrior” – that she wanted to add it to the framed article.

A few hours after I dropped off the newspaper at her house on Dec. 22, she and her children drove to Graul’s and gave Robert his present.


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When I saw him the next day, he told me how neat it was to get such a surprise. His face lit up when he told me that two customers had asked him to autograph my story.

It’s so nice to know there are still folks who do little things that make such a big difference in people’s lives. And, it seems a lot of those nice folks live right here in the Hereford Zone.