Categotry Archives: Extraordinary People

by

Paul Bernal

3 comments

Categories: Extraordinary People

Paul J. Bernal, a Taos Pueblo Indian elder who helped recover some of the lands stolen from his tribe, died on July 16. Cause of death was not released. He was 92.
Since the 17th century, European settlers have encroached on Pueblo Indian lands. Then in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt appropriated the lands surrounding Blue Lake in northern New Mexico, and annexed them into Carson National Forest. The Taos Pueblo Indians tried for decades to get their lands back from the U.S. government, but their efforts were stalled by a language barrier.
Bernal volunteered to serve in the Navy, and was stationed aboard the Ticonderoga during World War II. He polished his English skills, and when he returned home, he became the Pueblo’s interpreter and council secretary.
With the help of Juan de Jesus Romero (Deer Bird), the Pueblo’s religious leader, Bernal negotiated an agreement with the government for the return of the tribe’s lands. The act was signed by President Richard M. Nixon in 1970, and gave the Taos Pueblos 48,000 acres of Carson National Forest to use for “traditional purposes.”

by

Gordon Brong

6 comments

Categories: Extraordinary People

gbrong.jpgGordon Brong, a park superintendent in Folsom, Calif., felt animals were nicer than people.
When an orphaned Black bear cub was injured in a 1963 forest fire, Brong offered to house it in the park where he worked. He talked to the city and received permission to build the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary.
For the past 40 years, the zoo has served as a home for injured and orphaned animals. Brong, who loved working there, often spent 18 to 20 hours a day with the bears and the wolves.
Brong died last week from complications of a fall. He was 87.

by

Howard King

1 comment

Categories: Extraordinary People

Howard King, a noted nature photographer and trailblazer, died on June 29 of natural causes. He was 97.
When King strained his back in 1958, his doctor suggested he take up hiking. King followed these instructions and became captivated by the redwood forests. He donated his photographs of the ancient, 300-foot trees to the Save the Redwoods League, which published them on postcards and posters. The pictures helped to raise millions of dollars to preserve the redwood forests in California.
King also designed and built trails through the forests. One of the 10-mile trails he plotted was named in his honor. In 1980, the California State Park Rangers Association named him an honorary state park ranger for his conservation efforts.

by

Chaim Engel

6 comments

Categories: Extraordinary People

When Chaim Engel escaped from a Nazi concentration camp in 1943, he had three things on his mind: freedom, revenge and love.
Engel was born in Brudzew, Poland, in 1916, and served in the Polish Army. He was captured by the Germans in 1940 and sent to the Sobibor concentration camp because he was Jewish.
While awaiting his extermination, Engel was assigned to labor in the closets, sorting through the clothing of the 250,000 prisoners who were killed there. During this task, Engel found his brother’s belongings and vowed to avenge his death. Engel also fell in love with Selma Wynberg, a young woman at the camp. They were forced to dance together to amuse the guards.
Three years later, Engel joined 300 prisoners in a violent uprising that involved killing the guards and escaping from Sobibor. As Engel stabbed an SS sergeant to death, he shouted, “For my father! For my brother! For all Jews!” He then grabbed Selma’s hand and ran away as Nazis shot at them. Engel and Selma hid in a hayloft for nine months before traveling to Holland, and then America.
Engel died on July 4 from pneumonia. He was 87.

1 2 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25