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Santa Paula entrepreneur turns attention to Chinese attack victims

By   /   Friday, March 7th, 2014  /   Comments Off

“None of the victims did anything wrong except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is about people helping people. We all live here,” Santa Paula resident William Irion, who frequently travels to China, told me.

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Henry Dubroff

Henry Dubroff

On March 1, Santa Paula resident William Irion was a witness to one of China’s worst terrorist attacks.

Irion has spent much of the past decade shuttling back and forth between Ventura County and Kunming, China. On the evening of Saturday, March 1, he was on a bus headed home when, as he said in an email to me, “I actually saw the ambulances going to the Red Cross hospital as I arrived at my stop. I heard the sirens later. I was warned at midnight by a friend not to go out — that something horrible was happening at the train station.”

That something horrible was a massacre where more than 150 people were hacked at in a brutal knife attack by 10 terrorists. Thirty-three were killed in the attack that has rocked China. Irion emerged from his home the next day and tried to donate blood or provide assistance.

The so-called 3/01 attacks, which took place at 9:20 p.m. local time, are sparking an outpouring of sympathy from the ex-pat community in China. Irion wrote me saying that he and several associates want to “do something positive” in memory of the victims. It might be a memorial, piece of artwork or planting a cherry tree for each victim.

“To me it is not a Chinese thing that happened here Saturday night — it is a human tragedy that could have happened to anyone,” he wrote.  “None of the victims did anything wrong except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is about people helping people. We all live here.

“Saturday during the day time was a beautiful day in Kunming,” he wrote. “I thoroughly enjoyed the Yuan Tong Temple. It was so peaceful with all the fruit trees in blossom. Just taking in the beautiful scene, which is only there to see for a short period before they are blown away, was wonderful.”

Irion’s entrepreneurial mind turned to the idea of a philanthropic effort in the form of a memorial that might be created out of cherry trees and commemorative prints that could be sold to raise money for the victims.
His quest to find meaning in one of the most vile terrorist attacks in modern China is noble. I hope he keeps me posted about his efforts to find a way to memorialize the 3/01 victims.

Business Times readies for 15th year

You may note that with this week’s newspaper, our volume number turns over another year.

Reaching the beginning of our 15th year of publication is a major milestone for Pacific Coast Business Times, our subscribers, our customers and our team.

From our very first publication on March 17, 2000 we’ve been committed to plowing the profits from our independent enterprise back into our communities to produce a better news report. We plan a number of improvements to the Business Times during the coming year, including some new special reports, a new look to our Top 25 lists and a 15th anniversary edition in the first quarter of 2015.

We’re excited about the acceptance our weekly business journal has received across the entire region during what has been at times an extremely challenging time for our economy.  Through it all, we’ve kept our focus on the news you need to grow your business.

Along the way, our print publication has evolved with digital offerings here at www.pacbiztimes.com, a strong social media presence, large following for our email newsletters and a lineup of 24 special reports.

And we’ve developed a highly successful partnership with KCLU, the region’s National Public Radio station, in which we co-produce a regional stocks and business broadcast at 3:32 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We’ve also grown a series of successful awards events. We kick off this years’ season with our Family Business & Closely Held Company awards luncheon on Thursday, March 20 at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach. Please join us there! You can buy tickets online or by calling (805) 560-6950 ext. 228.

• Contact Henry Dubroff at hdubroff@pacbiztimes.com.

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