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February 28, 2020
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Bringing positive to a negative world

By: Irene Hilsendager
December 13, 2019

A very cute infant was born in Centralia, Ill.,  the middle child of three siblings and the daughter of Sandy and Gerry Turner.

When she was in the fourth grade the family moved to Willits, Ca.

Laura Deffendall went through the Willits Elementary grades and also Willits High School. She moved to Sonoma County to attend Sonoma State University to study child psychology. 

In the meantime, she married husband Jim and eventually son Joseph arrived. 

Later sisters Bethany and Krystal joined the family. Laura became a stay at home mom doing in-home day care. She volunteered at Richard Crane School for a few years and then in 1999 she started to work at the Rancho Cotate High School doing security at football games, but her title now is campus supervisor.

Laura says, “being a campus supervisor you get to deal with students in a different way from any other job at the Ranch and treat kids like regular people.” She gives advice, listens and hands out hugs every day.

Deffendall started a social experiment by displaying little wooden signs with different positive sayings on each one. Thinking of her grandkids, she wanted to show Kaelyn and Scarlett that goodness can help change, first the community and then try for the world. The girls have changed the lives of the Deffendalls, but she has to remember to follow the rule of the parents.

After placing the little wooden expressions at the Ranch, she decided to spread wings and place the ornate signs along Hinebaugh Creek. The signs started to disappear, so Laura engaged Jim in placing them higher up in the trees. Laura says, “I tried to stay undercover but now Jim has to climb the ladder so everyone can enjoy the positive gestures.”

Laura says she has received many positive feedbacks and especially from the students on campus. It is her way to bring positive things in the negative world we live in.

While living in Willits, the Deffendalls volunteered for toy runs, food pantry and helped with a Rotary Club.

When asked what she thought of the big TAG building, she replied, “it is a great addition to the campus and the staff and students deserve a nicer campus and has become the pride of the Ranch.”

Laura says of Rohnert Park, “we all need to find a way to bring joy to the community.”

Since this article was written, the signs have been removed due to a complaint to the city. The Grinch must not like positive things.