Millbrae Public Works Staff Provide Bi-Lingual Support in Wake of Threat
On October 21st of this year, when Boys & Girls Clubs in San Mateo County received emailed bomb threats, two City of Millbrae employees took action and made calls to parents, reassuring them that their children were safe.
As the result of the bomb threat, two school campuses, Lomita Park Elementary and Taylor Middle School, in Millbrae were evacuated. Although the bomb threat was later believed to be a hoax, as no suspicious evidence was ever found, the severity of the threat was real to the parents of those evacuated.
“Juan and I are both parents. It hit us that we would have wanted someone to call us and let us know as soon as possible. We did what we knew had to be done, so we got on our phones and made the calls,” said Eddie Vega, a maintenance worker in the City’s Public Works Department.
Juan Jimenez-Lozano, a maintenance worker in the City’s Public Works Department, and Eddie spent several hours calling parents whose children attended the schools and after school programs at the locations.
“Some of the parents knew about it and had already picked up their kids. Some parents didn’t know because they didn’t speak English,” said Jimenez-Lozano. “Many of the Spanish speaking parents were thankful for the call because they didn’t know about it, and happy because they had someone who spoke Spanish in Millbrae to help them.”
“I was a little nervous to make the calls at first because it was out of my scope of work. I really don’t deal with the public, and to have to explain what’s going on to the parents was difficult,” said Vega. “But after a few calls, I had it down and it felt really rewarding to be able to help.”
While Eddie and Juan were a part of the response effort, dozens of first responders, deputies from the San Mateo Sheriff’s Office, and several other Millbrae city staff stepped up on that day to help get the situation under control.
“You never know what’s going to happen in an emergency. But we all know, the more people that can help, especially in getting information out, the better,” said Jimenez-Lozano.
“I am continually impressed by the men and women who work for the City,” said former Millbrae Mayor Anne Oliva. “Eddie and Juan are two shining examples of the type of people we have who will step-up when needed, and then come back the next day to carry on with their work. I’m truly thankful to them, and all of the responders that day.”