Family, friends and supporters of those in the armed services and veterans are encouraged to attend the fourth annual Military Ball, a full-dress uniform and black-tie affair, sponsored by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Military Order of the Purple Heart, Local Chapter 604. The Military Ball will be held 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Marriott Hotel Convention Center, said Paul Aguirre, chapter member and department adjutant. The social hour will begin at 5 p.m.

The event's keynote speaker will be U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Greg Horn, who will discuss "What America needs to learn from the heroism of its military." The program will also include a benediction by local Pastor Billy Rash and the honoring of POWs/MIAs.

Tickets are $65 per person or $650 for a table of 10. The event is a fundraiser to support the mission of the local MOPH on behalf of all local veterans, Aguirre said. The local chapter, founded in 1992, includes veterans of all military branches who have been wounded in combat. The chapter assists veterans with a variety of services, including house payments, transportation to jobs and appointments, food drives, and more.

The chapter also assists World War II and Korean War veterans to record their war experiences for the Library of Congress and organizes "Programs of Patriotism" in area schools. Aguirre said all services are provided by unpaid Purple Heart volunteers who pay for their own expenses.

Sponsors of the Military Ball include Seaco Technologies, R&M Tire Service, Family Auto Group, Valley Republic Bank, Pegasus Operators, Key Energy and Urner's.

For more information about chapter or event, please contact either Leon Thomas at 301-9700 or, or Don Clark at 477-2525 or

Stony Brook retreat

Former patients and employees of the Stony Brook retreat and sanatorium in Keene are being sought for a local scholarly study on their experiences. The Stony Brook retreat, established through approval of the Kern County Board of Supervisors in 1917, served as Kern County's tuberculosis facility; it operated from 1918 to 1968.

The sanitarium treated patients of different ages, including children, both local and out of the area, who were suffering from tuberculosis. Tuberculosis was once considered the "disease of the masses" and a great killer of Americans at this time in the history of the United States; Stony Brook represented one of hundreds of facilities in the nation that aimed to isolate and treat contagious patients, including children.

If you know someone who spent time at Stony Brook as a patient or worked there as an employee, please contact me at 395-7487 or, or Dr. Alicia Rodriquez, a Cal State Bakersfield history professor, at or 661-654-2166.

Giving campaign

Kudos to Bright House Networks for presenting $100,000 in donations to local charities throughout its service areas as part of its second annual 12 Days of Giving campaign. In Kern County, the following charities received donations: Community Action Partnership of Kern, Bakersfield Homeless Center, Celebración de Familias Excepcionales, and Marley's Mutts. Bright House was able to raise $5,732 for Marley's Mutts.

Corporate challenge

The Kern County Corporate Challenge is seeking companies willing to take on a competition in an effort to raise money for two local causes. The group is asking companies to participate in an Olympic-style competition featuring a series of games against other companies of similar size. Monies raised will help the Bakersfield Police Activities League and the League of Dreams. Games include basketball, poker, softball, flag football, tug-o-war and bowling.

Organizers say the event begins in May and runs through a course of six weeks. The group hopes to raise $50,000 for the causes through this event. The company sign-up deadline is March 1, however. For more information, visit

Italy tour

The Bakersfield Master Chorale has a few openings for singers and nonsingers on an upcoming Italy tour at the end of June. The group hopes to narrow down its list this month. If you are interested or would like more information, contact Susan Guerard, vice president of promotions for Bakersfield Master Chorale, at 661-369-9551 or email:

Olivia Garcia is editor of Bakersfield Life and BWell magazines and a columnist of The Bakersfield Californian. These are her opinions, not necessarily those of The Bakersfield Californian. Send her tips at