Mother of slain Tarzana child CARES

first_img Whether it was satirizing the rich and famous with her hilarious Silver Streak Players improv group or being honored by the city in 2005 for her years of outstanding volunteer work, Nora Hecker – who died last week at 97 – had an infectious zest for life. “Life’s like a poker game, dear,” she told me on the eve of her 90th birthday. “Sometimes you need fresh money coming in to keep playing.” Nora never had any problems finding fresh money. She was 75 when I first met her. The Army was trying to recruit her at the time. It was the summer of ’84, and the Army was looking for a few good women. Nora got a promotional watch and reams of recruitment material in the mail saying how happy she’d be in today’s new, coed Army. She wrote them back saying she was flattered, but “at 75, I think maybe I should pass on this career opportunity.” The Army replied by – what else – sending her another watch and more recruitment material. Nora kept the watches and threw away the induction papers. “They were cheap knockoffs,” she said. “They both broke inside six months.” But that big, beautiful heart of hers kept ticking for 22 more years. RIP, Nora. You were one classy lady. Every year, the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles supports hundreds of social programs including literacy services, job training and food pantries. The federation does it by hosting its own Super Sunday the week after the Super Bowl, with more than 2,000 volunteers seeking telephone pledges for the charity. The goal is to raise $4million. If you get a call from a volunteer, including those manning the phones at the Bernard Milken Campus, 22622 Vanowen St., West Hills, remember it’s for a good cause. And finally, if you’re looking to send a few early Valentine’s wishes next week, I’ve got some great men and women who would love to hear from you.It gets lost in the Valentine’s Day shuffle every year, but Tuesday is National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans Day. It’s a day set aside by presidential proclamation for people to honor veterans who served their country and are now in nursing homes and veterans hospitals. A tribute to local vets at the Sepulveda VA will be held at 11a.m. in Building 200. If you can’t make it but want to send them a Valentine’s card, make it care of the volunteer office at Sepulveda VA, 16111 Plummer St., Sepulveda, CA 91343. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “My daughter was violently sexually assaulted, and in her memory we wanted to find an organization that dealt with helping sexually abused children,” Lori Parker-Gladstein said Thursday. “CARES has been like family ever since.” Nicole was reported missing on Nov. 20, 1993, during a visit to her father’s apartment in Woodland Hills. Two days later, her body was found inside a suitcase hidden in the bedroom closet of a neighbor’s apartment. Neighbor Hooman Ashkan Panah, then 23, was eventually found guilty of murder and sexual molestation and sentenced to death. And Nicole’s mom continues to raise money every year to help heal the scars of children too young to remember her little girl. The Nicole Parker Foundation will host a fundraiser from 7:30to 10tonight at the Hollywood Improv, 8162 Melrose Ave., Hollywood. Tickets are $50, and proceeds will benefit CARES. “The reality is that horrible things happen in every community. This is a night for all of us to remember a little girl, her beautiful smile, and all the joy she brought to her family,” Imagawa said. Odds ‘n’ ends from around the Valley: The 350 to 400 children whom Dr. Karen Kay Imagawa treats each year as director of the CARES Team at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles don’t know about Nicole Parker. They’re too young to remember the story of the pretty 8-year-old Tarzana girl who was sexually assaulted and brutally murdered by a neighbor in 1993. But Nicole’s mom, Lori, knows about CARES. The foundation she formed nearly seven years ago in her daughter’s memory has raised more than $250,000 to provide medical and mental health services for suspected victims of child abuse. last_img

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