South County Beat: Grief counselor honored for service

Lidia McCune recently was named the 2009 Isabel P. Ruiz Humanitarian Award recipient.

McCune, who works for Hospice of San Luis Obispo County, is the third recipient of the award, which annually recognizes a local individual for outstanding efforts in advocacy and caring for residents of San Luis Obispo County.

Paso Robles educator Marisela Garcia earned the 2007 award. Rae Belle Gambs, an Atascadero advocate for the mentally ill, was named in 2008.

The late Isabel Ruiz, an Arroyo Grande resident, was well-`known for her selfless role in helping poor, non-English speakers and other disadvantaged residents of the county to obtain health care.

McCune is a Guatemalan native who now lives in Los Osos. She works with grieving clients and has helped coordinate Dia de Los Muertos celebrations for the past seven years.

“As a grief counselor, I serve those who are experiencing the worst time in their lives, the indescribable pain of losing a loved one,” McCune said.  “I become a character in the saddest chapter in their story. That may seem undesirable, but it is rewarding to be a part of that story as their lives transform out of grief.”

McCune said she worked with Ruiz on many occasions, especially on health fairs, and said, “It was easy for me to recognize Isabel’s passion and determination for improving the health of the members of our community.”

The award recipient said she’d like to create partnerships between Hospice and other service organizations to coordinate efforts in providing services to the underrepresented in the county.

“Also, I would like to have a ‘Light Up A Life’ Christmas ceremony in Spanish,” she said. “This is an opportunity for people that have lost a loved one to remember them during the holidays. This would augment the ceremonies that we currently offer in English.”

— Nick Wilson

Fundraiser to benefit Pismo parks

The City of Pismo Beach and the Pismo Beach Improvement Group are sponsoring a free concert fundraiser from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at Dinosaur Cave Park in Shell Beach to benefit Pismo Beach Parks and Recreation Programs.

There will be live music, a barbecue and children’s activities. For details call Maggie at 773-2836 or visit www.pismobeach.org.

— Tribune staff report

Shoppers have shot at gift certificates

Shoppers can win $50 and $100 gift certificates as part of the Shop & Dine in Grover Beach Campaign.

The program is part of the City Council’s general stimulus program. City officials say it will encourage residents and businesses to shop and eat at locally owned establishments.

Doing so, officials say, creates tax revenues needed to pay for municipal services.

Winners are announced at the first council meeting of every month. Meetings are broadcast on the city’s cable access Channel 20.

More information, including a list of participating businesses, is available at www.grover.org/Shop&DineGroverBeach.html.

— Tribune staff report