On September 3, 2017 Hurricane Harvey left thousands of Houston residents without a home. As the world watched the tragedy unfold on the news, Barry La Forgia and the International Relief Teams immediately went to work to bring relief efforts to Houston. Just weeks after that followed Hurricane Irma, and then Hurricane Maria…

“We’ve never had to handle 3 major U.S. disasters at one time,” Barry told Heavenly Yogurt.

  

     In 1988 Barry founded International Relief Teams (IRT), after practicing law for 12 years in San Diego and receiving advanced degrees in Economics, Business Administration and Law. The IRT Executive Director is also a graduate of the United State Air Force Academy and former Air Force pilot, flying more than 100 tactical airlift missions in Vietnam. So, it’s safe to say, Barry is no stranger to danger and being a beacon of hope.

 

     Barry travelled to the Amazon jungle on a church missions trip to construct temporary lodging for indigenous tribal people in 1986. Moved by the extreme poverty and need he witness, he left his successful law career and real estate practice in 1988 and founded Southwest Medical Teams, which is now International Relief Teams. 

 

     Earning dozens of awards and recognition, Heavenly Yogurt wanted to honor Barry because he is a Tierrasanta Hero and a familiar and welcoming face to our community.

 

     “I feel so at home in Tierrasanta,” Barry expressed as he shared of the different cities he’s lived in. The New Jersey native moved to Tierrasanta in 1979 on New Years Eve. He loves the central location of the community and that it’s nestled away from the traffic and busyness of the city. The University of San Diego Law School grad loves to play tennis with the Tierrasanta Tennis Club and is a member of the AWANA’s Grand Marshall Club. Happily married, Barry is a father, and grandfather to two grand-sons.

 

     With the recent tragedies in the U.S. Barry and his team have been working day in and day out to bring relief. He shared how the response from all the donors have been remarkable which has allowed them to bring response efforts to all areas. Before we sat down Barry shared with Heavenly Yogurt that IRT just bought over 600 tarps to bring to Puerto Rico for temporary housing and by the end of our visit with him he had placed an order of 1,400 more tarps. He shared about the disaster health kits his team sent to Texas, Florida and now, Puerto Rico. IRT’s long term strategy is to provide skilled construction teams of volunteers to help families who cannot recover on the own to reoccupy their homes. 

     

We’re thankful for Barry and International Relief Teams hard work in bringing hope and love to our affected fellow Americans. The work isn’t close to being done as Barry explained that it will take months to years to get Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico up and stable again.

   

 If you see Barry at Heavenly Yogurt, you’ll most likely see him grabbing a big cup of Mint Chocolate Chip! We encourage you to say “hi” and let him know how much our community of Tierrasanta appreciates him!

Every day is a new day for the San Diego Public Library - Tierrasanta Branch. You never know what books will be checked out or coming back in. Young families come running through the doors excited to read and tackle a new book. Adults of all ages gather at this library to get work done or finish reading their book of the month. During the summer time children and adults are offered the Summer Reading program where they’re given the opportunity to learn how to read.

    Here we find Judy, a librarian of the San Diego Public Library who is passionate about serving her community of Tierrasanta with the gifts of books, imagination and fun. Judy has worked at the Tierrasanta Public Library since 2009 but has been working for the San Diego Public Library for over 20 years. 

    Judy’s passion for books began with reading to her children. Her daughter didn't speak for the first few years of her life and as a part of her speech therapy Judy used puppets and story-telling to encourage her daughter to speak. This led to a business of selling puppets and plushes to local libraries. As Judy pursued her passion and education, she received her Masters from Fullerton and became a librarian.

    Working at the Tierrasanta Public Library is always an adventure! Judy loves to assist visitors in finding information and their desired reading material. She describes working at the library as a treasure hunt. While being a librarian Judy has learned to grow and adapt to change by listening to the public’s needs and structuring programs to best serve the community of Tierrasanta. One of Judy’s favorite, most recent library events is the Local Author’s event that showcases novels by local authors! 

    The neighborhood of Tierrasanta plays a great role in Judy’s life and the library. She describes Tierrasanta as a wonderful community with great support from patrons who work hard to support and fund the library’s programs and resources.

    At Heavenly Yogurt Judy has been a lovely friend to work with and we enjoy supporting her cause at the Tierrasanta Public Library as she always supports our shop and owners! 

    Judy’s Heavenly Go-To is Dole Pineapple topped with fresh fruit and little bit of chocolate! Thank you for being a Tierrasanta Hero and serving our beautiful neighborhood. Your work has impacted many lives including our own.

Do you know a Tierrasanta Hero who deserves for their story to be told? Visit Heavenly Yogurt and submit your Tierrasanta Hero!