By Vicky L. Allevato, San Juan Capistrano
My name is Vicky L. Allevato and I am married to Sam Allevato for 44 years. As you all know, it takes work to be in any relationship, let alone a marriage for that length of time. Sam has made it easy because we have a marriage of total respect and caring.
I can only speak to his character as someone who has always been firm but kind and has a keen sense of when someone is sincere and will help in ways that are never boisterous or self-serving. In a quiet manner, the next thing I know, the person needing help has been helped and the issue has been addressed and resolved. Sam does this very quietly and is never looking for a thank you or recognition. He is just very happy that he could help.
As anyone who has served in the capacity as a police officer can attest, it definitely is a calling and a sacrifice. When he started his career, he was in the East LA Riots. At that time, we had very young children and I would say goodbye when he left for his shift, and I always had good thoughts until he was back home with us. One evening watching our little black and white TV, there is my husband in his dark uniform, protecting the residents of East Los Angeles, standing shoulder to shoulder in a sea of tan uniforms of LA Deputy Sheriffs. And, as a young wife married to someone I love in harm’s way, you can imagine my relief after hearing from him 11 hours later that everything was starting to calm down and that he was safe.
Every day that he left for work, I never knew what would happen to him or his fellow brother police officers, who also had young families at home. There are no words that describe his sense of duty and pride in what he was doing and what he stood for.
I decided to write this out of my total respect for the O’Neil, Avery and Moiso families. I am a direct result of their kindness and generosity. I was made a ward of the court at the age of 13 for physical abuse and put into protective custody along with my sister. In and out of many foster homes, the system always kept you moving around. Due to overcrowding and as time went on, foster parents were very scarce, only adding to a very unstable existence for a young girl, who constantly lived in fear and never felt that there was a safe refuge and had no trust for adults or my environment.
But, the opportunity came when I was 16-years-old to go to a place I knew well in San Gabriel Valley called “Maryvale” in Rosemead. Established by the Sisters of Charity, their mission was and is still to help each child achieve fulfillment, dignity and self-esteem in an environment of stability, love and respect.
I strived early to not be a victim. Given lemons, I decided to make lemonade with my life.
Long before current Rancho Mission Viejo CEO Tony Moiso took over the helm; his family formed his character and gave him the moral compass those who know him today know to be true. The O’Neill Family gave “Maryvale” the monetary funds to continue to give young girls like me the opportunity to have a better life. Without Maryvale in my life and the kindness of such an extraordinary family, my very existence would have been very different. With all their recourses, they could have chosen to be selfish and not share. No, they shared and made such a difference in my life and the lives of many young women today.
They are here today helping our little town in San Juan Capistrano. The family has never wavered in their commitment and kindness of giving to the Boys and Girls Club, the restoration of the Mission, the downtown where Cedar Creek sits, The Shea Center and many more things, we have no idea of their helping hand. The Ranch consists of a very close and giving family vested in the betterment of society, and I will never forget what they did for a little girl like me and now grown 63-year-old women when I kiss my grandchildren and have my children and husband surround me with such love and respect.
They are a family that helps those who need us most and they give without strings attached. My family will always consider the Ranch our family friend and a friend to our community.
Forever grateful for your kindness,
Vicky L. Allevato