February 5, 2022
"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." – Galatians 6:9
If you have a friend who is tough on the outside but soft on the inside, treasure them. Gene Dallachie is one of those folks you want to keep and treasure. A former Marine, he may be gruff around the edges but he is a teddy bear inside. Gene has a heart of gold and a willing spirit. He is always ready to be there for others. Strong and secure within himself, Gene shows up with genuine strength and courage in all he does. And when you ask him for something, he offers integrity and diligence to help you get the job done.
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see." – Mark Twain
Gene was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, but came to California at the age of six months. He has been in Southern California ever since. After graduating high school in Antelope Valley, Gene went into the Marine Corps for four years. When his service years were completed, Gene worked for the fire department, spent some time with Lockheed and Weber Aircraft, did construction work, drove a tow truck, completed his college education with a degree in business, and finally ended up working for the federal government at Edwards Air Force Base. He was there for 23 years until he retired in 1997. After he retired, he met a lady in Tehachapi and moved here to be with her. They lived together for two and a half years and then decided to have separate homes. Sandi helped Gene find his current house and although they don't live together, they're still a couple to this day. Gene calls Sandi his doppelganger.
After retirement, Gene managed the bowling center in Stallion Springs. He also started doing income taxes for veterans, working for the IRS for a couple of years. When the IRS ran out of money for training, he joined the AARP tax aid program and has helped people file their taxes for free for the past twenty years. He also became an instructor for the safe driving program. Six months later, Gene became a district coordinator in Tehachapi, and is now the district coordinator for 14 counties. This energetic man is not only a trainer for both the tax aid program and the safe driving program, but he also volunteers with the Highway Patrol, is the bingo caller on Friday nights at the veterans Hall, is a past president of the Tehachapi SENIOR CENTER, and publishes their newsletter. He donates the toner for the newsletter out of his own pocket, which totals around $4,200 a year. On top of all that, Gene recently saw another need he wanted to fill - providing transportation for seniors. Because Gene teaches safe driving for AARP, he couldn't help but notice that taxis and Ubers are expensive. He now offers transportation to seniors who need rides around Tehachapi for shopping or appointments. He only asks for a twenty-cents-a-mile donation to pay for gas. His time is free.
Gene's favorite thing about Tehachapi is the weather. He also says the people in Tehachapi are very generous. He helps with Toys for Tots and is amazed and proud of the response from local residents. Gene says, "If Tehachapi needs something, all you have to do is ask and Tehachapi will give."
When asked what advice he would give about life, Gene said, "Where do I begin? Live your life, live within your means, keep yourself busy, and don't fret about things." He says he still shares the Marine slogan, "Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome," a slogan and a mindset that helps deal with physical, mental and spiritual hardships. Gene says that staying busy keeps him healthy and happy, as well. Now that he is no longer a part of the "working world" he fills his days helping others.
It's clear that for Gene, the real measure of success is not wealth or fame, but the quality of life we live. Gene's life is worthwhile and meaningful, a reflection of his character. He is a true gift to everyone who meets him. Helping others, after all, is the ultimate kindness.
Here are a couple of random acts of kindness creative activities
Create a Kindness Jar
Supplies: jar, paper, colored pens and scissors.
1. Cut several square pieces of paper.
2. On each paper write something you can do to make someone feel better or even to make yourself feel better.
3. Each square should have only one item on it.
4. Decorate the squares with colored pens to make them special.
5. Place all the squares in the jar.
6. Pull out one square each day and complete that random act of kindness.
Create an Amazing Box
Supplies: box, small treats or trinkets, note card and things to decorate the box with.
1. Decorate your box.
2. Fill the box with small treats or trinkets.
3. Write a note card to someone and tell them why you think they are amazing.
4. There is nothing wrong with writing the note to yourself because you are amazing.
5. Place the note card in the box and deliver it.
"The Wisdom Keepers, Tehachapi Women of Substance and a Few Good Men" is a book in progress by Judith Campanaro, Tehachapi artist and resident. Judith's love of sharing inspirational stories of others prompted her to highlight amazing locals that make Tehachapi special. The Loop newspaper will feature excerpts from the book to give you a taste of our fabulous residents. If you would like a copy, please contact Judith at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime if you'd like to recommend a local person for an interview send their name and number to Judith at email@example.com or (646) 896-4434. She will contact them.