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Hayward Hero Lost

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Recently, on March 11th 2017, a South Hayward hero named Betty DeForest passed away due to pneumonia.

Betty was a well-known, loved member of the Hayward community and will be deeply missed. She ran the South Hayward Parish Church, which runs a food pantry, a homeless program, classes, and counseling. Almost every day, Betty was giving away free food to the homeless or lower class families who couldn’t afford to buy groceries. Betty also was on the Hayward school board for about 13 years, and was Executive Director of the Eden Youth and Family Center.

For her whole life, Betty fought as an advocate for equal rights for the LGBT and POC community. She was the president of the local chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a group that supports gay rights. In addition, she helped launch the Hayward Gay Prom, which is an event that still continues today. She even demonstrated this compassion as a girl, when she noticed the harsh treatment of minorities and decided to fight back against it.

Betty, aside from being a strong, political leader, was a loving family member. In total, she has had seven kids; she adopted one of them, and nevertheless she still loved them all the same. Every Christmas, she would make pajamas for all of her grandchildren, even sometimes for the ones who had already grown up.

Back in 2013, Betty was awarded with the Jefferson Award and the Hometown Hero Award, in recognition of five decades of helping and giving to the poor and disadvantaged. She also received an award for outstanding environmental leadership in 2016.

After her passing, the Hayward City Hall and the Hayward Fire Department lowered their flags in half-mast to show respect and honor towards Betty. Half-mast refers to a flag flying below the summit on a pole. In many countries this is seen as a symbol of respect, mourning, distress, or in some cases, a salute. And the city of Hayward is planning on planting a tree for her in her memory.
In conclusion, Betty DeForest was an amazing woman and will forever be missed by her family, friends, and by the people who she has helped in her lifetime. Betty will always live on in our hearts and hopefully, the younger part of the Hayward community will recognize her for the sacrifices she made for them.

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