Gratitude for Unstinting Support



            I wanted to take a moment and write to you about a few exemplary individuals within our community whom I think deserve a little extra attention for their unsolicited and truly magnanimous actions over the past two weeks. I’m speaking specifically of Ivan Spiers and his staff at Mozambique restaurant, and more generally to everyone who has continued to support my family in this most trying of times.

It has been nearly five months since my cousin, Sarah Shourd, and her two friends, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal, were detained by the Iranian border guard while hiking in Iraqi Kurdistan. Since that day, my family and the families of the other three hikers have been working tirelessly to free our loved ones. As you may suspect, all of our efforts has taken quite a toll on us physically, emotionally, and certainly financially. In an effort to raise funds for our continued advocacy, as well as to pay for anticipated legal fees for our loved ones, my family started to plan a fundraiser, but we didn’t know how we would afford it. To our rescue came Ivan, who, without batting an eye, offered to sponsor the event. Though we tried to negotiate with Ivan, to make him take at least a cut of the entry fee or have us pay for the food, he would hear nothing of it, and was genuinely offended by the notion. Not only did Ivan provide us the venue for our event, he provided the food, and a band that quite simply rocked at absolutely no charge.

In fact, my family’s involvement in the planning and operation of the event was minimal at most, Ivan and the eminently competent Nicole Wainstein, took the lead and never looked back. Mozambique created fliers for the event, took out ad space in the local papers, and emailed their entire patron list soliciting donations, contributions, and attendance. Personally, I set a conservative goal of 100 people, a benchmark we quickly passed. For five months the families of the hikers have been soliciting the support of our friends, local communities, national and international media, and our government, and through it all, there have been few instances of one person being as uninhibitedly generous as Ivan, and my family wants to make sure he is given the credit he deserves.

            Furthermore, I would be remiss if I didn’t also take this opportunity to thank every one of you within this community for your support as well. I would love to name each of you personally, but please know that your continued support provides the foundation upon which the families continue to stand. Without your involvement, interest, and love, none of what we have done or what we plan to do is possible.

            So in conclusion; thank you, Ivan. Thank you, Nicole. Thank you, Mozambique.  Thank you to everyone. 

Patrick Sandys, Laguna Beach

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