Guest opinion: A commemoration for Bill Lane
As the Portola Valley community mourns the passing of Bill Lane, I would like to share a personal account of how his supportive and charitable spirit, hallmarks of how he chose to live his life, touched my life.
I had the opportunity to meet Bill Lane when Corte Madera School was host of the Portola Valley Town Picnic during construction of the Town Center. My classroom was open for visitors, showing off our science equipment, specimen, and student work. Live animals from the Portola Valley Nature Center were delighting people just outside the door and Bill tentatively poked his head into the science room. He was barely balancing a heaping plate of barbecue so I ushered him in to make use of our tables and chairs and eat in comfort.
Bill was very friendly and seemed genuinely excited to see what we had to offer at Corte Madera. I was pleased to show off our school and generate good will in the community. Little did I realize when I invited him in that he was such a generous benefactor to teachers in the district. When he introduced himself as Bill Lane, the name rang a bell. A year later, I was writing him a thank you card for helping me buy a home.
Every year the teachers receive a binder from the district with various clerical necessities: time sheets, schedules, field trip request forms, and purchase order requests. In the front pocket of that binder there is always a form to apply for the Bill and Jean Lane Staff Housing Assistance Program. The program offers up to $10,000 for rental expenses or $20,000 toward the down payment on the purchase of a home.
"The application is simple," the form reads. "The interest rate on these loans is 0 percent ... no bank or mortgage company can beat these terms." All true, and it spoke of the generosity and welcoming I felt when I started here eight years ago.
I had the opportunity to take advantage of the program three years ago, and thanks to Bill and Jean Lane, I now have a home to call my own; a home where I have the freedom to paint my walls red and green and where I have to fix my own plumbing. It would not have been possible without the support of the Lane family.
I am very grateful for their support and Bill's legacy lives on in my humble abode and the lives of everyone he touched. My condolences to his family; he will be missed.
Treena Joi teaches sixth-grade science and electives at Corte Madera School in Portola Valley.