BETTY CHINN'S HERO: OSCAR THE GROUCH
Eureka, CA- Betty Chinn, the 2010 recipient of a Presidential Citizens Medal, is more than a local giver; She’s an international inspiration. But many have never heard her story of abuse, abandonment, and torture.
She still gets teary eyed when she reads the words written on the official certificate signed by President Obama. Her wall of fame is reflective of the attention she’s received; yet things were not always this good.
Betty Chinn grew up during the Cultural Revolution in China. As a child she was separated from her parents; forced to work in a child labor camp. She was beaten with rope, mentally and physically abused. She escaped to Hong Kong and reunited with her father but as a result of the trauma she endured, she became mute.
When asked who inspires her, she said “Oscar the Grouch".
"When I live in the street, I live close by garbage dump. So when I see Oscar the Grouch live in a garbage can, he happy and loud and talking and moving and have alot of energy moving. He gives me alot of energy myself,” said Chinn.
The Grouch helped her find her voice and her mission: aiding those in need in Eureka.
Everyday, starting before dawn she loads up a truck and provides meals to the homeless.
It started with one family that lived in a car and could not afford food. 30 years later, Betty’s Blue Angel Foundation provides meals and care packages for hundreds of people that are less fortunate.
After meeting the President her commitment has been unwavering. Betty Says, “He asked me how I feel to walk side by side with the president and I tell him I said: Mr. President I always tell the truth and you are not more or less than any homeless person to me because we’re all human being. So he turn around and give me a big hug say thank you Betty for saying that."
The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Center is slated to open this summer. The property is secured; remodeling is next on the to-do list. The center will feature a computer lab, commercial kitchen, and children's center. Although she’s met with opposition for helping the homeless, Betty says she just wants to be apart of the community.