Downey group promotes ‘peace through mutual respect, cooperation and understanding,’ and the life of a daughter may be saved
By Tammye McDuff
For generations, cities, towns and villages around the world have been forming bonds in the name of “Sister Cities,” and Downey is no exception.
As a matter of fact, many think that Downey’s “sister city program” may be one of the best any place on this planet.
Sister Cities International was created at President Eisenhower’s 1956 White House conference on citizen diplomacy. Eisenhower’s vision was to promote peace and prosperity, organize communities, and create bonds between people from different cities around the world. By forming these relationships, President Eisenhower reasoned that people of different cultures could celebrate and appreciate their differences and build partnerships that would lessen the chance of conflicts. Since its inception, Sister Cities International has played a key role in renewing and strengthening important global relationships.
Downey has always had a special relationship with its sister cities, however the County Roscommon, Ireland brings to us a very special connection. Both cities have had the unique privilege of sharing the same son, John Gately Downey.
“In 2009, Roscommon placed a bust of their favorite son. We were able to have the same artist reconstruct the statue so that we could place another. here at City Hall “states Mayor Mario Guerra.
According to the family lore, the parish was so saddened to see John Gately Downey leave Taughmaconnell; they actually held a wake in his honor. John had immigrated to America to become a priest, but was lured by the promise of the gold rush.
Realizing this was not what he wanted to do with his life, he began to migrate toward San Francisco, when he came upon a foundling city called Los Angeles. John Downey is so renowned for his contributions to the state, that his is one of three portraits still hanging in the state capital in Sacramento. Mayor Guerra goes on to say
“When we went back to Ireland, we were literally in his home town. Walking the same pathways and looking out across the same Irish countryside John would have viewed from his home. It was an amazing experience and a special time in my life”.
Mayor Tom Crosby of Taughmaconnell, County of Roscommon, Ireland made an elegant introduction with a thank you to the City Council and the ‘lovely’ citizens of Downey, saying it was a great privilege to sign a charter of our Twining Cities.
Mayor Crosby states that the visit was originally to take place later in the spring of 2014, but believes “Fate has brought us here today”, in his crisp Irish brogue he goes on to explain “I want to tell you a fascinating story on why we are here today. Our youngest daughter Pearl and her family have accompanied us on this trip. It is very difficult for me to say that this trip is coincidental. I am a big believer that the powers that be have brought this trip about.”
Pearl had been experiencing declining health issues since 2005. The day before the official signing of the charter Mayor Crosby’s’ daughter had been admitted to the hospital, seriously ill. During the reception in the old Abby hotel in the town of Roscommon, Mayor Crosby received a phone call from his daughter telling him she had been diagnosed with a very rare brain tumor in the center of her brain. Because of the location of the tumor, the doctors in Dublin did not feel they had the expertise to operate. Pearl’s diagnosis was grim and she was told that her quality of life would continue to deteriorate.
Upon research Mayor Crosby and family had found a surgeon at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles who specialized in this delicate brain surgery. Within hours of contacting Cedars Sinai, her records had been received, within a week there was a scheduled review of her case and Pearls surgery has been scheduled for late October 2013. “We are truly confident that our Pearl is in the safest hands in the world. This has all come about due to the organization of our Sister Cities International.” Mayor Crosby continues to say “I should like to take the opportunity of thanking the people of Downey, Los Angeles and indeed America, for the work they have done in bringing about peace in our country. We have many links between us, a long history and we hope to continue to build on these relations.”