Hannon gift to LMU Family of Schools; Sepulveda streetscape maintenance begins


Behind every home there is a story, and the story of Jackie Hunt and her 17-year-old son, Wesley, is both uplifting and heartbreaking. In 2001, at the age of just 46, Jackie suffered a stroke that severely affected her speech, left her bound to a wheelchair and changed her life forever.

Once vibrant and active, she now struggles to do the things we all take for granted — brushing her teeth, cleaning her house and using her nearly inaccessible bathroom. To make matters worse, Jackie is slowly losing her eyesight as a result of retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited disease that is gradually shrinking her field of vision.

Through it all, though, her family has stood by her side. Her three grown children, Patrick, Valerie and Philip, do what they can, taking turns coming to Jackie’s house to assist when she needs help.

The biggest burden, however, falls to her youngest son, Wesley, who lives at home with her. Instead of doing the things most 17-year-olds are out doing, Wesley is home with his mother, helping her maintain the house and taking care of her needs. Despite the enormous burden placed on him, he is an outstanding student who excels as a swimmer at Palisades High School and holds down a job as a lifeguard at the Westchester Family YMCA.

Although their bond as a family has not wavered during this time of uncertainty, their home on Gonzaga Avenue near LMU has suffered. Unable to do the work required to keep up the house and unable to find the funds to pay for home improvements after paying for Jackie’s medical bills, the Hunts’ home is desperately in need of some real TLC.

That tender loving care will come Friday through Monday, April 25th to 28th, when the Hunts will be treated to an all-expenses-paid trip while volunteers from the Rotary Club of Westchester and the community roll up their sleeves and paint and landscape their home.

Thanks to major contributions from the William H. Hannon Foundation, Woodside Natural Gas, H.B. Drollinger Co., the Westchester Rotary Foundation and many, many others, the Hunts will return to new paint, new flooring, new landscaping, a remodeled and handicapped-accessible bathroom, new furniture and plenty of additional surprises.

“We are hopeful this project will inspire others like it in our community,” said Rotary president Warren Bobrow. “In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we often fail to realize how fortunate we all are, so it will be a privilege to help the Hunts make their home warm, comfortable and livable again.”

The Rotary Club is currently looking for donations and volunteers to make the project a reality.

Those interested in making a tax-deductible contribution to the project can make checks payable to Westchester Rotary Foundation and mail them to 8939 S. Sepulveda Blvd. #526, Los Angeles 90045.

Information, (310) 645-2295.

HANNON FOUNDATION SUPPORTS LITERACY — The William H. Hannon Foundation, founded by Westchester developer William H. Hannon, has provided a $23,000 grant to promote college readiness in the LMU Family of Schools. The late Hannon was an alumnus of Loyola University, now Loyola Marymount University (LMU).

The LMU Family of Schools includes Westchester High School and six other public middle and elementary schools in Westchester.

“The William H. Hannon Foundation has been a longtime supporter of LMU’s School of Education and this grant brings together that historic support with the Foundation’s focus on Westchester schools,” said Professor Shane P. Martin, dean of the LMU School of Education.

The grant will pay to create programming, including campus visits and activities, to familiarize students in all grade levels with the LMU campus and to stress college readiness as a goal of the K-12 experience.

The grant will also provide support for families, through workshops and access to resources to make college readiness and college planning a reality for all families.

The foundation has also recently funded the creation of the William H. Hannon College Centers at both Westchester High School and St. Bernard High School in Playa del Rey, designed to promote college preparedness at Westchester area high schools.

“My late uncle was one of the original residential developers in Westchester,” said William H. Hannon Foundation president Kathleen Hannon Aikenhead, Hannon’s niece and a board member since its founding in 1983. “He picked the spots for the schools and churches in the community and later had his office right on Manchester [Avenue], down the street from both high schools.

“He cared passionately about Westchester’s schools and this grant is yet another continuation of our support of his legacy.”

WESTCHESTER “BID” BEGINS SEPULVEDA SERVICE — The Westchester Business Improvement District (BID) has begun streetscape maintenance services along Sepulveda Boulevard between Manchester Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard.

Using a nonprofit vendor, Chrysalis Enterprises, the Westchester Business Improvement District has been cleaning streets and sidewalks; collecting wind-blown and bulk item debris; emptying trash cans; removing graffiti; and pressure-washing sidewalks throughout the area.

These services are being provided on a weekly basis.

Westchester property manager Eric Glyn-Davies of the H.B. Drollinger Co. says he is pleased with the results.

“The downtown looks much cleaner and more inviting to shoppers since the streetscape maintenance began,” he said. “In the past, our on-street trash cans were never emptied regularly and overflowed into the street frequently.”

Ultimately, the Westchester Business Improvement District plans to maintain landscaping along the boulevard that will be installed as part of the current roadway project.

During the community planning process for the currently-under-construction Sepulveda Boulevard Improvement Project, Westchester businesses agreed to provide for ongoing landscape maintenance if the city would fund its capital installation costs.

In the absence of such an agreement, the project would not have included median and parkway landscape, much to the detriment of the businesses and residential communities.

“The project would have looked more like a sea of asphalt than a thriving and vital community center,” said John Ruhlen, president of the Westchester Streetscape Improvement Association.