This year's Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena on Tuesday will include a special float honoring organ donors and their recipients, including a recipient from West Contra Costa.
The Donate Life float "Journeys of the Heart" will include a likeness in flowers of George Becker, who died in 2010.
Riding on the float will be Becker's mother, Connie Mays, and Alfonso Garcia of Pinole, a 2012 alumnus of St. Mary's High School in Berkeley who was the recipient of the late Becker's liver.
Becker was only 22 when he succumbed to an infection.
Garcia was 15 and had just days to live in 2010 when Dr. Ryutaro Hirose of UC San Francisco performed the transplant surgery.
Garcia, now 18 and a freshman at the University of San Francisco, is riding in tribute to the man he never met but whose donation saved his life.
Mays and Garcia will be joined on the float by 30 other people representing donors and recipients.
This will be the 10th year that Donate Life has had a float in the Rose parade in an effort to raise awareness of the difference organ, eye and tissue donations can make and encourage others to join the 105 million people in the United States who are registered as donors.
The organization points out that registration is as simple as going to its website, www.DonateLifeAmerica.org, or checking a box when renewing a driver's license.
The Tournament of Roses Parade, a tradition since 1890, is televised nationally and starts at 8 a.m.
WEST COUNTY NOTES: Another milestone year is on the horizon in 2013 for the SS Red Oak Victory in Richmond, but the Richmond Museum Association has sworn us to secrecy on the particulars for now.
Meanwhile, the Red Oak, despite rumors to the contrary, is indeed open for tours on its regular days even with construction going on next door at the Rigger's Loft building, and the historic ship at 1337 Canal Blvd. in the Port of Richmond is looking for docents, greeters and other volunteers to help out.
The ship is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
No experience is needed for "a job with great hours, no pay, good company, and lots of fresh air," says Melinda McCrary of the Richmond Museum of History. Plus, "You'll get a vest, a badge, a flashlight, a whistle and a laser pointer. You'll love it."
For details, call the ship at 510-237-2933.
Gifts made to the mission by Dec. 31 will be matched up to $150,000 by anonymous donors. That means double the reach per dollar donated.
The mission this past year provided 1.45 million meals and 85,000 nights of shelter, along with clothing, counseling and education.
Donations can be made online at http://bit.ly/12UFf9v or by calling 510-215-4883.
For more details on the mission, visit www.bayarearescue.org.
Guests are welcome. For details, call 510-758-0462.