Sometimes life seems to have an underlying theme. From time to time, the same idea or concept will repeat itself in your day to day life – like a lesson from the cosmos.

Such was the case for me last week and the lesson is worth noting, both for me and for anyone looking to find greater meaning in their life.

I spoke with several people last week, all from different walks of life, but all of them had the same thing to say. I spoke with Maribel Sorensen of the Alta District Historical Society, as she explained how she recently moved back to her hometown of Dinuba after living in places such as New York and even England. She now devotes her extra time to helping promote the rich history of the Alta District, and spoke of the joy of giving back to her community.

I also spoke with Dinuba Police Officer Marcos Nunez, a 1998 graduate of Dinuba High School, who came back to his hometown to help serve and protect the community he grew up in. He spoke of what a privilege it is to work in his hometown.

I then spoke with Stephen “Buffy” Ruiz, a local who has spent the last six years making sure local students have the supplies they need to start school on the right foot. He gave out 300 backpacks on Saturday to kids in Orange Cove and will give out 300 more to students in Sultana this Saturday, where he and his family went to school. Ruiz said he tells students how important it is to return to help the community that made them who they are.

I also spoke with Pastor Horacio Aleman, the founder of Cruising for Jesus, who started the organization while pastoring at Templo Calvario in Dinuba back in 1995. He stated that though his organization has traveled throughout California, and has done a number of shows in Mexico as well, his greatest joy is in giving back to the community he calls home.

Though they all offered a different service to their respective communities, the common thread was obvious. There is something incredibly edifying in giving back to and serving your community, both to the community and to the one giving.

Perhaps this was life giving me an eye opener as I enter my new journey as the editor of the Dinuba Sentinel. Call it cliché, but I’m one of those who believe that everything happens for a reason.

One of the great things about community journalism is that every week is different. It presents a new window into the life we know as a city and as a culture. It also affords the opportunity to learn about your surroundings like few others do.

But more importantly, at least in my case, it provides the opportunity to serve your community as a whole in the most dynamic way. Last week’s lesson certainly gave me a greater appreciation for the position I’m now in.

To be able to serve your community, in whatever capacity, is truly a blessing.  I would encourage you to find a way to give back to yours as well. The more we give back to our community the greater our community becomes.  And if you do, I’d like to hear about so I can write about it – after all, that’s my job.

Rick Curiel is editor of the Sentinel. He can be reached at

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