Capt. Dern and firefighters honored as local heroes;
Ryan Stiner recognized for SF-Fresno run for autism

In a show of solidarity between two of the Central Valley’s major public universities, the Bulldogs have invited the Bobcats to attend tonight’s Bulldogs football game as guests of the Red Wave. The invitation comes in the wake of crisis situations this week — the stabbings at UC Merced and the social media threat at Fresno State.

UC Merced students are also invited to join Fresno State students at the Associate Students Inc. Tailgate prior to the game in the Red Lot, space 57 (Cedar and Bulldog Lane northeast corner) from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

UC Merced has five buses available to pick up students at Scholars Lane and Mammoth Road on campus for a 5:30 p.m. departure. They will disembark at approximately 7 p.m. at the south entrance of the stadium on Bulldog Lane where student body leaders will greet the students and hand out pom poms.

The Fresno State Athletics Department posted on its Facebook page last night:

“As we stand together with our friends at UC Merced, we invite all UC Merced students, staff and faculty to join us for Thursday night’s Fresno State football game vs. Nevada. Just show your UC Merced ID at the Bulldog Ticket Office on Thursday for a free ticket to the game. #‎BobcatStrong.”

UC Merced responded: “@Fresno_State has extended a generous offer. Show your CatCard at the ticket office to get your free ticket.”

Patti Waid, UC Merced’s assistant vice chancellor for University Communications, tweeted shortly after: “We can’t thank you enough, @Fresno_State!”

On Wednesday, four people were injured and the suspect was killed after a stabbing incident on the UC Merced campus.

On Monday, a Fresno State student was arrested after posting a shooting threat on social media. Both Universities faced crisis mode during the situations, with both police departments credited with quick actions that prevented further tragedy.

“Today, we are all UC Merced Bobcats,” said President Joseph I. Castro in a Facebook post last night. The president who served on the founding team for UC Merced, will visit the students in Section 35 at the end of the first quarter.

Dr. Frank Lamas, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management, will join ASI President Abigail Hudson to greet any students who are able to arrive earlier to attend the tailgate (the bussed students will go directly into the game).

The ASI students will greet the buses at 7 p.m. and hand out pom poms.

“We are so excited to welcome UC Merced students to the ASI tailgate to show our support of their students and campus,” Hudson said. “We feel for them in their time of need and hope that coming to the Fresno State game will help lift their spirits and feel our support.”

Also, Fresno firefighter Captain Pete Dern and other local heroes will be honored at Thursday’s Bulldog football game against Nevada, which will be televised on ESPN2.

Captain Dern was severely injured when he fell through the roof of a structure fire. The intense moment was caught on a video that went viral and Dern has faced a tough battle to survive his injuries.

Fresno State Athletics will host Captain Dern and many local heroes from the Fresno Fire Department, American Ambulance and the Burn Unit at Community Regional Medical Center at Bulldog Stadium in honor of their service to the community.

Also, Ryan Stiner will be honored for completing his “Ryan’s Run” today – a 10-day, 200-mile trek from San Francisco to Fresno to raise funds for autism programs including the Autism Center @ Fresno State. Between the first and second quarter, Stiner will run into the stadium and be recognized.
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