Del Oro grad discovers it's a small world

Mongolia volunteer finds Loomis donation
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Editor
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A 2010 Del Oro High School graduate, volunteering in Mongolia, has been left wondering about the difference between fate and coincidence. Jesse Stafford, of Loomis, decided to take a year off after finishing his freshman year at the Air Force Academy in Colorado to volunteer and wrestle in Mongolia. Jesse Stafford’s mother, Chris, said her son was a winning wrestler while at Del Oro and is volunteering with a group and wrestles with the Mongolian National Team. Chris Stafford said, “Mongolians are crazy about wrestling, it’s like football is here.” The group Jesse Stafford volunteers with gives gift-filled shoeboxes to children when they meet. The boxes are donated from all over the United States through a group called Samaritan’s Purse. He said a box of gifts, donated by Loomis students and shipped randomly with millions of others to all parts of the world, somehow found its way into the hands of a child he met. In an email Jesse Stafford said, “I also saw boxes from Lincoln, Roseville, Rocklin and Davis, as well as other parts of California.” He said the only way to tell where the boxes were from is if the giver put a letter inside the box, and only then if the recipient asked that the letter be read to them. The Loomis box Jesse Stafford saw was from Loomis Basin Charter School, where his cousins Grace and Emily Rudolph are students. Jesse Stafford attended Franklin Elementary School, which is located next door to the charter school. “I was pretty excited,” Jesse Stafford said about discovering the box. “The kids all loved the gifts and absolutely lit up. Probably 95 percent of the kids had never gotten anything like this in their lives before, so it was a joy to be able to give them away. Just a nice shirt, or sweater or something is a big deal to these kids, because most of them really only have a couple changes of clothes.” Jesse Stafford said one of the “coolest” items found in some boxes was a harmonica. “They had never seen one before and really liked it, the Mongolian culture is very musical so I know they will figure out and use these instruments,” Jesse said. Karen Long, whose Charter School kindergarten class donated 29 shoeboxes filled with small gifts said, “This is truly amazing – over eight million shoe boxes are sent out and ours happen to go to a region where an LBCS extended family member is working!” Jesse Stafford said he will be in Mongolia until mid-June and will continue to wrestle.