Community Involvement:
Working With Others

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After more than 70 years, a Holocaust survivor has reconnected with the family who risked everything to take he and his sister inside their home. In 1945, Tom Van Roon was a young boy in the Netherlands when two Jewish children showed up to his family's home in the middle of the night. The boy, Ralph Berets, and his sister needed a place to hide from the Nazis. Van Roon's parents and his six siblings made room. "These people needed a place, so my parents decided they would take them in,” Van Roon said. “We were not to say anything in school or to my best friends, that was drilled in by my mother.” Van Roon never thought he would see Berets again until his grandson, Matthew Lang, turned a high school project into a personal mission. “I think almost every night, Opa was up looking for emails or phone numbers same as I,” Lang said. After weeks of chasing the wrong name, they finally connected with Berets over the phone. “I heard a Dutch accent, which was the only thing that made me think, well maybe I know this person,” Ralph Berets said. “And I said, ‘This is Tom Van Roon, you stayed at our house,’” Van Roon said. “I said is that really true? Really hard to believe,” said Berets. They quickly planned a reunion and Van Roon and his grandson and daughter decided to take a trip from their home in Canada to D.C. to meet Berets. “I see him already. A young man with grey hair,” Van Roon said. He and Berets had a warm reunion at an otherwise somber place, the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

Berets now lives in Arlington, Virginia, and his sister moved back to the Netherlands, never forgetting what the Van Roon did for them. “They were just doing what they thought was the right thing and they certainly saved our lives,” Berets said. Ralph spent the rest of the war hiding in a chicken coop near the German border. He was liberated by the Canadians in May 1945. He came to the U.S. in 1951 when he was twelve years old. Ralph graduated from the University of Michigan with a PhD in Comparative Literature in 1963 and became a professor of Literature and film at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in 1970. He was able to retire early, when he was 62, because he had been investing in the stock market from the age of fifteen. Every time he received a raise, he invested half the money in his retirement account. He also invested in his retirement account every month he was employed. The least he put in was $25 the most $250.

He has three children, seven grandchildren and two great grandchildren, none of whom have yet adopted his philosophy of investing for their retirement every month.

This is not an endorsement or testimonial of services.

San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association

San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association (SFTLA) promotes civil justice through education and trial advocacy. For over fifty years, SFTLA has served the needs of the plaintiff's bar.

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Northern California Human Resources Association

Delivering over 100 programs annually, the association is dedicated to connecting human resources professionals with practice resources, leading California-specific training, legal and legislative developments.

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Sausalito Chamber of Commerce

The Sausalito Chamber of Commerce Promotes, Represents & Supports Sausalito Businesses and Residents Providing Referrals, Networking & Marketing Opportunities.

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National Association of Plan Advisors

The National Association of Plan Advisors, an affiliate organization of the American Retirement Association, was created by and for retirement plan advisors.

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Lake Tahoe Triathlon

The Lake Tahoe Triathlon is a favorite of many triathletes. The venue, setting and course offer a truly beautiful and challenging experience. Join us annually the fourth weekend in August in beautiful Lake Tahoe, California for a great race and a time of your life!

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Donner Lake Triathlon

One of the best! The Donner Lake Triathlon is a favorite of many triathletes. The venue, setting and course offer a truly beautiful and challenging experience. Join us the fourth weekend of July in Truckee, California!

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Becoming Independent

Becoming Independent — also known as BI — helps people with developmental disabilities live meaningful and productive lives. We are a nonprofit community benefit organization serving Sonoma, Napa and Solano counties with a purpose of elevating human abilities for the mutual benefit of our Community.

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Women’s Daytime Drop-in Center

The Women’s Daytime Drop-In Center (WDDC) is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit program, in the San Francisco Bay Area, empowering women and children to move from the streets to a home by providing ongoing and intensive counseling, case management services, daily support groups, a comprehensive children’s program, a variety of referral services, and a transitional housing program for four single parent families.

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