When decorated Los Angeles County Fireman Marco Johnson founded the CPR and First-Aid Company 20 years ago to help prevent the kind of needless tragedies he saw so often on the job, he merely wanted to help his Valley neighbors.
The peace of mind working parents derived from knowing their children’s caregivers were trained for any situation was incalculable.
But before long, it wasn’t only about us.
The CPR and First-Aid Company begat Antelope Valley Medical College.
Before you knew it, the top four EMT exam scores in Kern County belonged to AVMC graduates.
Antelope Valley Medical College begat University of Antelope Valley.
They don’t just know UAV in Kern County.
Try, from sea to shining sea.
The Pioneer baseball team finished sixth in the nation among more than 350 schools last spring.
On Saturday, UAV’s basketball women got as far as the Great Eight among 143 NAIA Division II schools playing basketball before falling to the top-ranked team in the nation, Southeastern University of Lakeland, Fla.
Spending the week at the NAIA National Championship Tournament is only going to enhance UAV’s recruiting appeal nationally.
There is no Polar Vortex in these parts.
But there is an intensifying Pioneer Vortex.
Each year, it turns the improbable into the been there, done that.
Just like the Pioneers of the Right Stuff Era did.
The 2018-19 Lady Pioneers finished 27-6, the all-time winningest team in California Pacific Conference history.
They became the first CalPac team to win a national tournament game in 13 years.
They became the first CalPac team to score 100 points in a national tournament game.
Dreams always die hard.
They did again Saturday.
UAV was tied with powerhouse Southeastern after one quarter, 13-13.
By halftime they were down 17, and trailed by as many as 22 points in the second half.
Saturday’s disappointment doesn’t detract from a brilliant season.
UAV was two victories away from playing for a national championship.
And Coach Deon Price is just getting warmed up.
The man who founded the girls basketball dynasty at Antelope Valley High is now 49-13 as a college head coach.
When Marco and Sandra Johnson needed an elite basketball coach, they didn’t have to look farther than the other end of Lancaster BLVD.
The one-time high school sweethearts have always lived by the mantra that they don’t have to leave home to seek greatness.
They can bring it here.
They can find it here.
At some point this will hopefully sink in with the cynics who insist “High” Desert refers to meth labs, or who lower their voices or even whisper when asked where they’re from.
There is much to be proud of in these parts. And more is on the way.
That interlocking UAV logo remins us that the biggest part is the U — which stands for US.
For now, a tremendous debt of gratitude is owed to Pioneer seniors Samantha Earl, LaChae McColor, Ilinana Blanc, T’Airah Pryor, Daizah Pounds and Alyssa Gonzales.
They set the bar high.
High enough to leave footprints within sight of the mountaintop.