Emmy-winning television writer/producer and author Russ Woody’s visit to Colusa on July 24 was a big deal to all who came in contact with him, but to him it was somewhat of a surprise to be treated like such a ‘star’.
“Where I live in Los Angeles you can throw a rock in any directions and hit a television writer,” he said.
Woody, who has suffered from clinical depression made the effort to do a day long series of appearances here at his own expense as a way of paying back a little.
Woody is a childhood friend of local theatre manager Dave Bishop and he accepted the invitation to visit Colusa when it was proposed by Bishop and Colusa County Behavioral Health publicist Kathy Craigo.
Not only did he make the effort at his own expense, but he donated copies of his book “The Wheel of Nuldoid” to be sold and benefit Safe Haven Drop-In Center in Colusa.
Woody happily autographed each copy that was sold.
He was welcomed to town at a breakfast at Tommy’s Market Street Grill where he received a number of awards, proclamations and resolutions in honor of his generosity.
Executive Director of the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce Gary Teragawa presented him with an award of gratitude from the Chamber, City Council Member Marilyn Acree presented a City Proclamation naming July 24, 2013 “Russ Woody Day” as did the Colusa County Board of Supervisors in a proclamation presented by Supervisor Tom Indrieri. On behalf of Assemblyman Dan Logue the Assemblyman’s field representative Yvonne Henderson presented Woody with a State Resolution for his efforts here.
On the lighter side and in all good humor Bishop made a special presentation to Woody naming it the “Awesome Dave’s Dimension Award”.
Later in the day Woody spent time at Safe Haven Drop-In Center where he shared his experiences in dealing with clinical depression.
Sue Carrion and her brother Brad Fossett came from Sacramento for some of the events. Carrion who has also been a past presenter at Safe Haven commented that Woody included what she calls the three prongs of recovery; meds, therapy and action. “Russ is such a great example of pushing through and being productive,” she said.
Woody spoke the Colusa Theatre after the guests viewed an episode of his Emmy-winning series “Murphy Brown”. Later he read from the “Wheel of Nuldoid” with the young readers at the Colusa County Library. His final appearance was a reception at the library where he read from his not-yet-published book “A Hero’s Heart” which explores his journey with his father who passed away from ALS.
Woody was a little overwhelmed by the response he got in Colusa. He doesn’t see himself as a celebrity.
In speaking with the clients and staff at Safe Haven he commented that not everyone can know the struggles faced by people dealing with mental illness.
“Sometimes people without these issues will tell struggling people to pull themselves up by their boot straps and get on with it,” he said. He said sometimes your hands don’t work and you can’t pull yourself up without help.
Mental Health Services Act Dereck Parks commented that he was so pleased by the way Woody engaged everyone. “He took the time to talk with and more importantly to listen to those who he met here in Colusa,” he said.
“I never knew a Hollywood type could be so nice,” said Safe Haven participant J.R. Galbraith.
Parks added that it was an especially successful event because of the partnership of so many groups working together to make it happen.
“This was a joint effort by not only Safe Haven and the Colusa County Department of Behavioral Health, but with the support and assistance of the Colusa County Library, Colusa Theatre, Colusa Casino Resort, the City of Colusa, Colusa County Supervisors, Colusa County Chamber of Commerce, and the office of Assemblyman Dan Logue,” he said.
“We could not do these positive things in our county without the corporation and support we receive,” he said. P