A centenarian blogger held a contest this week for two Rose Bowl tickets, seeking stories about people who care for the elderly and sick, and an Alhambra man who works at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was picked the winner on Saturday.
Henry J. Wasserman, 100, lives in Newbury Park with professional health care advocate Lisa Berry Blackstock and her husband Bob Blackstock, both Stanford grads. Wasserman is a former resident of Thousand Oaks, Sun City and Beverly Hills.
"I can't go to the Rose Bowl to watch any longer, my eyesight is gone, my hearing is gone," Wasserman said Saturday evening in a phone interview. "I thought it would be a good idea to give the tickets to someone who is deserving and helps the older generation."
Since announcing his contest Dec. 23, Wasserman received more than 100 entries and Blackstock read every single one to him Saturday morning, Blackstock said.
"While I enjoyed them all, Roland Hemming's touched me the most," Wasserman wrote on his blog Dec. 29.
Hemming, 41, is a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
"I wasn't expecting to win, I just wanted to share what I love about nursing," Hemming said in a phone interview Saturday evening. "I've never won anything before so this is great. I spoke with Henry on the phone for a few minutes and he sounds a lot like my grandpa."
Wasserman is a loyal USC supporter and he's followed the Pac 10 and Pac 12 for decades, Blackstock said.
"My husband and I, we both attended Stanford and we pull for them big time," Blackstock said. "As alumni, we both got email from the Stanford athletic department after the bowl bids were announced. So we bought four tickets, hoping to take Henry with us.
"He still gets around but he decided he'd be more comfortable watching from home," Blackstock said. "He decided to offer the tickets to a complete stranger, through his blog."
Wasserman's generosity means Hemming will be able to take his 11-year-old son Nickolas to the 99th Rose Bowl on New Years Day.
"I love college football," Hemming said. "I've been to the Rose Bowl for UCLA games but not the actual Rose Bowl game itself. I've pulled for UCLA most of my life. I grew up in Pasadena.
"This year I like Stanford, they have a good running game, the offensive line is very strong," Hemming said.
Wasserman said Saturday evening he will also be pulling for the Cardinal to defeat Wisconsin.
"My favorite in this Rose Bowl will be Stanford," Wasserman said. "I enjoy football and I think Stanford's the better team."
Wasserman wrote on his blog he hopes his contest will remind people they can help others in many ways.
"I hope others will be inspired by you, Roland, and give of themselves as you have," Wasserman said. "A person can give in many ways, be it through a chosen career, volunteer work, or simply taking care of their friends and family members in need."
Wasserman blogs on the site Soul Sherpa, created by Blackstock in 2009. For more information, visit soulsherpa.net.