tv NBC Bay Area News Special NBC November 4, 2013 12:00am-12:31am PST
>> 9,500 days. 9,500 days. >> he's done his time. and now he's a wanted man for all the right reasons. >> anybody can do it. anybody can become more than the bad decisions of their past. >> stitch and a snip. a san francisco nonprofit helping teenagers realize their dream. from the unlikeliest of places. >> everything that i've learned, everything that i e gone through to be good at is because of these women. >> i express it in various ways.
>> he's a true patriot and he's found a way to honor veterans in a big way. on football fields all across the country. >> she found a louf and passion for shelter dogs often overlooked and ignored. >> we've saved 2,000 lives. good evening. and thank you for joining us. we hope by the end of the half-hour, we hope to have you feeling a little bit better about the world around you. our first story tonight is going to sound like a script for a movie, which is actually fitting because michael santos' store are i begins with a movie -- "scarface." he fell under the spell of the movie's drug dealing main character. it was just the beginning, however, of an incredible story of crime, punishment, and redempg. >> did you check your e-mail today? i sent you ten questions.
>> if any of michael santos' san francisco state students began the school year how he spent the summer? the answer might surprise them. >> today we're going to talk about the federal prison system. >> michael was in federal cu custo custody. >> i just want to share my experience with you. >> but then again, prison is where michael santos has spent the last 26 summers of his life. >> 26 years, 9,500 days. 9,500 days from entrance to release. >> it was in 1987 when michael was convicted of being a drug kingpin op of shipping kilos of cocaine from miami to seattle. >> i made every bad decision you could make. >> but before he was sentenced before he spent a ting single of those 9 h 500 nights in prison, michael made one very good decision. he picked up a philosophy book and learned about socrates.
>> particularly, when he had an opportunity to escape, he said no, i'm not going to do that. i live in a democracy and in a democracy, i have the right to change the laws that i don't believe it. but i don't have a right to break the laws. that's what totally transformed my life. >> he vowed then and there to do his time and contribute to society. what followed was an undergraduate degree, a masters degree in hofstra university. michael was even on his way to a ph.d. until his warden shut that down. >> the ward .said that this is a threat to our security. we're not a university. this is a prison. >> still, moo i kel says that just enabled him to focus on writing, aided at that point by his wife carol. they met while michael was behind bars and have been married for ten years now. while in prison, michael published more than half a dozen books about his experience and
prison life in general. professors around the country began adding his works to their courses. but it was one school, though that decided to add michael himself. >> i said really? it was an amazing moment for me to think that the university was going to hire me. >> the transition, though, was not without its bumps. >> the biggest surprise was learning how to drive. i didn't know i had foggen how to dry. i didn't know that i didn't know how to drive. but as soon as i got behind the wheel, i realized i didn't know how to drive. >> but if you are the bright mind that this institution cultivates -- >> michael, true to form, has conquered that by now. now traveling the country, spreading the worth about what he sees as the biggest evil in our country -- >> mas incarceration. everybody here knows somebody who's been incarcerated. >> and how society and prisoners can overcome it. >> i think anybody can do it. anybody can become more than the bad decisions of their past.
>> stand up! beheard! >> michael has developed a program called the straight a guide to help other ex-cons successfully transition back into society. our next store vi interestingly enough also begins with breaking the law, but not nearly as serious an example. this time, it was just a traffic ticket. one that
tracy once got. it was a ticket that led to community service which ultimately led to her starting a program combining for two great passions -- fashion and helping her hometown. in the basement of a church in the heart of bay view might to some seem a long way from the fashion houses of new york, pearce and milan. to ariel piamonte, though, it is nothing less than a short cut to the top.
>> everything that i've learned, everything that aye gotten to be really good at is because of these women. >> the women she's talking about are instructors iffer a unique nonprofit called visions l la moda, a 9-year-old program where a handful of young urban women are prepared for a career in high fashion for free. >>
weekly in the summer a monthly in the school year, the girls learn not only sewing and desooib, but french as well. lectures from fashion professionals and a trip to new york's fashion week have been par of la moda program. ariel has been with them for five years no uh. five rigorous years. >> it can get a little overbearing. but overbearing gets you to high success. >> the woman behind all this will is the woman behind that camera.
tracy peace grecco. her love of tag was sparked not coincidental coincidentally, in the very church sanctuary above their heads. >> in the 170s right here, i would be a very small girl sitting in these pews, this aisle way looked like a runway in paris. i have never seen women dres so beautifulfully. >> it wasn't until her 30s, though, that tracy ditched a job in banking to go to italy in zernl of a career in fashion. >> she's now a wardrobe stylist and consultant to perform mares and individuals and task master to the girls of la moda. >> the world doesn't give you a pass. there are rules and regular plapgs you have to get up and be to work on time. so you have to be to work here on time. you have to come prepared. >> ultimately, tracy says her goal is not to provide her world with great fashion designer, although that would be nice.
no, she just wants to provide the world with a few more great people. >> now a sad update to a bay area proud story we brought to you this summer, with unthat resonated with people literally around the world. it was the story of a 35-year-old stylist from mountainview, dpieged with stage 4 lung cancer earlier this year, given four to six months to live. she wanted to make the most of the time she had left, so dec e decided to marry her long-time boyfriend jeff lang. it was going to be a small ceremony until east bay wedding planner erica oda heard jen's story. in just two weeks, erica convinced 60 vendors to donate more than $60,000 in good and services to give jen her dream wedding. it was a story viewed, shared anticipate liked tens of thousands of time by people all over the world. jen's wedding day was a memory she cherished sfr the rest of her life which ended the morn of
course october 10, at her home. her husband by her side. i love watching tv outside. and why can you move the tv out here? the wireless receiver. i got that when i switched to u-verse. but why? because it's so much better than cable. it's got more hd channels, more dvr space. yeah, but i mean, how did you know? i researched. no, i-i told you. no. yeah! no. the important part is that you're happy now. and i got you this visor.
>> the bay area is filled with dog lovers. perhaps the only thing people love more is an underdog, which explains why one san francisco nonprofit is enjoying so much success. one giving old dogs a new life. >> we like to play ball. >> for two partners in a failed relationship, beauty and her dog flower sure seem to get along great. >> this is what we like to do every day. >> in fact, judy says flower is the best dog she's ever had. so what's failed about it? well, 13-year-old flower came to live with judy earlier this year as a foster dog. a temporary situation until someone else adopted her. >> okay, let's go.
>> that someone turned out to be judy. >> she just nol lows. me. >> in the business, that's called a foster failure, though judy only sees the success in it. >> hi, sweetheart. >> and how it never would have happened without sherry franklin. >> who's the new pap? i haven't met you yet. >> sherry a hair stylist by trade came upon her fashion in life. >> good girl. >> volunteering a the spca, she was touched by the fate of most senior dogs. >> a lot of the older dogs at the time, quite a while ago, weren't making it out of the shelter. >> so sherry opened up not just her heart but her home. for six years, muttville, a senior dog rescue was run out of sherry's home. it has proven such a success, though, they've now opened up their own space next to the spca. many of the senior dogs up for adoption living a cage-free life at their headquarters. >> hey, it's sherry.
>> sherry thought the first year when they adopted out 27 cogs was a good year. last year, the number was 500. >> and then the next two weeks, we will have rescued 2,000 dogs. 2,000 senior dogs. most of those dogs would have been killed at shelters. so we've saved 2,000 lives. a. >> this might be the dogs coming. sherry says for every dog they take in, they say no to 21 others. the lucky ones chosen from good disposition, though not necessarily medical condition. veterinary care is their number one expense, costing an average $1,000 per dog to get them ready to adopt. and when that moment happens, the only one happier than the dog has got to be sherry. >> i fell in love with this cause and this is where my passion lies. so i feel incredibly lucky that
i find it. >> foo you're the rest of americans, you probably caught college football today. 35 million went to a game last year. and wherever that many americans gather, bob figured it was a good place to honor some of the bravest americans. ♪ >> like many other big-time sports, the clenl football season has grown over years. this year's schedule from kickoff classics in august to national championship in january runs 19 weeks.
o. >> i love my country. i express its in different ways. >> the first way was as a mid shipmen. >> a two-sport athlete, he served one year in world war ii and ten more years after that. more recently, he became associated with stanford university and now serves on stanford's athletic board. he started a tradition where the players are on the field after the game and sing the school's alma mater with the fans. bob liked the reception that got so much it sparked in him a bigger idea. >> honoring veterans at their home football games on veterans day. >> division 1 school, division ii, division iii. >> honoring them at every college and university in the
country, which meant writing a letter to every college and university in the country. >> i wrote over 600 letters to colleges. >> the only thing more remarkable to bob than the fact that managed to send all those loeters is that so many were answered. >> it was almost like christmas. >> in the affirmative. >> every day, it was great stuff. this is the stack of relies from college presidents. >> by now, bob figures every school he asked to take part will in some way. some continuing old traditions, others starting new ones. veterans everywhere getting the thanks they deserve. >> i like projects. and this particular one caught many attention. i thought i could pull it off. and i did. >> he was so encouraged that he expanded his outreach this year to high schools. so if you hear the public address announcer ask veterans
to rise and be acknowledged at a game you're attending over veterans day weekend, you'll know who to thank. still ahead in our broadcast, he is an iron man in every since of the word. how this challenged athlete is showing his true strength and determination in ways that go way beyond any triathlon. plus -- >> to the memory of kids just jumping up and down. >> it's the true mark of success. finding a way to turn no into yes and make it a change for the letter. -- better.
the place to find quality, affordable coverage. financial help for those in need. and nobody can be denied because of a pre-existing condition. enroll now at coveredca.com. >> the remarkable story of jeff schmidt from san jose. we first learned about him when a short video clip was e-mailed to the station. it was of jeff an amputee, alone and in the dark. the last competitor to cross the finish line in the 2012 iron man world championships. one half-hour after the finish line closed. jeff's story of determination
was remarkable and it only gets better. >> they call someone who competes on a prosthetic leg a challenged athlete. what they should call jeff schmidt is a magician. how else do you explain his ability to transform a negative into a positive? and do it more thans once. >> we first met jeff and wife jenny not long after h ereturned from the 2012 iron man championship. jeff told us he kept going that night in hawaii because he had come too far to quit. and he wasn't talking about the 140-mile race. a star high school soccer player, his leg was shattered by a violent tackle 15 years ago. the next decade of his loif was dominated by pain and impossibility, by failed surgery and drug dependency. it was jenny, act which which you willy, who first raised the idea of amp tig.
jeff ultimately agreed and asked the doctor to cut his leg off. >> if something in your life is causing you nothing but anguish and you can get rid of it, what do you do? you get rid of it. >> jeff said losing that leg turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to him. and believe it or not, so was not finishing kona in time. >> welcome to our kickoff event. >> that's because jeff's story of perseverance won hum the attention of the triathlon community. soon he was teaming up with goo energy lap and the challenged athletes foundation, raising money to give prosthetic running legs to children he couldn't afford them. he was also invited back to kona, gaichb second chance to conquer the biggest race of his life. jeff trained like never before. more than 5,000 miles on the road and in the water. to make sure he was ready this year, and he was.
>> i was feeling prepared, i was feeling calm and i was feeling ready to take on the day. >> he felt so good, in fact, his eyes could see the hollywood ending up ahead. his calf muscle, though, had other ideas. >> it was so painful. it was cramped up the whole time but all of a sudden it started spasming really bd. >> it was a 90% tear. jeff tried to fight the pain, but he wasn't going to beat the clock. he quit ten miles into the run. >> i was disappointed because i wanted to finish, but i was db i think i was more disappointed that i was letting down my sponsorings. and i still feel that, you know, sometimes that still hurts a lit billion it. so it seems jeff's story can't have a hollywood ending. it just happens to have a better one. the money jeff said he raised for challenged kids makes it all worthwhi worthwhile. and what kind of role model
would he be for them now if he didn't keep pushing, didn't keep turning defeat into victory. >> the lesson in this is just because you fail doesn't mean you give up. i failed twice now at this race. and that doesn't mean i won't ever be back. i will cross that finish line one day. >> so far, jeff has helped raise close to $80,000 for the challenge for kids program. young students learn it's never too early to make your mark. . co-ing up, how one school group's kra owe la crusade has colored the change in hundreds of schools.
they may be better off for it. >> every wednesday at noon, the multipurpose room at sun valley elementary takes on a singular purpose. siefing the world. something members of the environmental club, the green team, say they know they can do bauds they are already doing it. the proof, they'll tell you, is in the palm of their hand. >> i've never been involved in anything like this. >> lan wilson is is a children's author, environmentalist and was the father of two sun valley kids when he took over the green team last spring. it was a discussion about plastic pollution that got the kids thinking. >> the topic of crayola plastic markers came up. and everybody could relate to that. >> and how the markers were not recyclable. a big deal seeing as crayola making 500 million of them a year. so they asked crayola to start a
takeback program. >> we talked to the product safety department and they basically said no, there's no one you can douk talk to here about that. sorry. >> but no is a word kids don't like that hear. they hear it from teacher, parents or major koorp rations. so on change.com, the kids started a petition. and not only did more than 90,000 people sign it, but other schools around the country jiened in the knew trade, adding their voice. >> recycle crayola. >> the movement grew until crayola changed their no into a yes. >> every kid jumping up and down. >> we were really happy because we established something. >> how many pounds is that if. >> lance says now 600 schools are taking part in crayol a's program. it's a great thing for the future of the earth, he says.
even greater for the future of these kids. >> they're catch watching this thing unfold like wow, we've done. this i make a difference. i can change things. i can do things and my voice matters. it's one of the highlights of my life. >> one, two, three, we love you! >> we hope you've enjoyed this past half-hour of hearing what's right with your world. you can always catch new bay area proud stories tuesday and thursdays in our 5:00 mm newscast. see you next time. s taking chan. it means trying something new. [ woman ] just, that uncertainty of what's to come. [ man ] just kidding. ♪ can you please stop doing that? ♪ [ woman ] you walk outside in brooklyn, and it's cement and broken glass. and this is just like... the opposite of that. ♪