Dear family and friends of Daniel,

Colleagues and I are at work on a participatory research project to support a massive community-wide earthquake drill in Southern California planned for this coming November. Part of a global movement for school safety, we are doing our homework on school seismic safety policy in California. With thousands of children still buried under school classrooms in NW China, we hope the issue becomes at least a little more salient before the big one hits in California.

I had never heard of Daniel until three days ago, when Fred Turner a Consulting Structural Engineer, for many years with the California Seismic Safety Commission, replied to a query I sent about the seismic resilience of portable school classrooms with a lengthy quote from a report that Daniel wrote when he was a junior in high school.

Always attuned to finding kindred spirits, and especially role models for young seismic safety advocates, I asked Fred where to find Daniel... to ask if we could quote him, to see the rest of his report, to see if he might make a videolog to inspire high school students... knowing that Daniel would be a role model for others who would take an interest in earthquake-safe schools. Fred said to check for Daniel at MIT. I grinned to myself, thinking "but, of course!".

It is with great sadness that I found the memorial site for Daniel, a young man that all of us most certainly would have liked to have known personally. It is with delight that I am now reading Daniel's complete report on the Field Act, which you so generously posted there. His excellent report will help us to explain the complexities of school safety and to mobilize others to participate in earthquake risk reduction.

Daniel packed a lot into his short life - and his passion and keen mind are still rolling snowballs out into the world. I thought that it might be some small comfort for you to know that Daniel continues to touch the lives of people who never knew him.

In gratitude, and with deepest condolences.

Marla Petal
Geneva, Switzerland
May 19, 2008


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