Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Dispatches From Next Door: He sweeps the fear away

TAMPA — The alarm blared just after 6 that morning, but Jean Azor was already up. He showered, then rushed into his closet. He pulled on a pair of black slacks and a beige polo, his uniform at St. Joseph's Hospital. Behind his bed table, a newsletter was pinned to the wall. A photo on it showed him crouching next to a little boy with blond hair and blue eyes. Jean glanced at it and smiled, as if he had a secret. "I know he's coming," Jean said in a thick Haitian accent.

Jean is 33. In 2007, he moved to the United States with a dream to become a nurse and support his family. He came from a land of givers — relatives who had raised him and parents who always shared what little they had with neighbors. But Jean spoke no English and had limited schooling. He worked at a restaurant until, in 2010, he got a job at St. Joseph's. He took out the garbage for $10 an hour and was soon promoted to janitor. He sent thousands of dollars home for his siblings' education, for their house lost in the earthquake, for his daughter, now 9, whom he sees every few years. But his dream remained unfulfilled. As he passed by with a broom, Jean smiled at patients and sometimes said hello. He wasn't helping them, though. Not in the way he wanted to.

In fall 2011, Jean came upon a sobbing toddler in the hall, a tube hooked to the boy's chest. His skin was pale, his head bald. Jean, 6 feet 3, leaned down. "Why you crying?" he asked. The boy, no taller than Jean's knees, stared up. Jean learned that Renton Bryant, then 2, had a blood disorder that required chemotherapy. Jean stayed with him for an hour. They high-fived and played peek-a-boo. When he heard Renton's parents, originally from Canada, speak French, Jean sang Frere Jacques. Before Renton's next visit, his parents tried to explain why he must go. He needed medicine, they told him. "No," Renton said. "I'm going to see my friend."

Jean came to nearly all of Renton's appointments, even on days off. He held him after surgery. He watched his hair grow back. Together, they cleaned the floors.

On that recent morning, Jean swept and mopped as fast as he could. Just after 9, he spotted the family and popped outside. Renton charged him. Soon, Jean's name tag was clipped on the boy's blue-striped polo, and he was lugging an orange caution cone over his shoulder. He plopped it on the floor and tottered behind Jean's cleaning machine, which Renton called the "Zamboni." With his friend holding the throttle, Renton straightened both arms and pushed. Half an hour later, Jean went with him to the checkup. The nurse weighed and measured Renton. She asked him to sit. He handed Jean a bag of Cheez-Its and an apple juice box, then climbed on his lap. The door closed. Renton knew what it meant. His smile faded. He eyed something in the nurse's hand. "Is that a needle?" he said. It was. She asked him for his finger. Renton turned to his friend and whispered: "Can you hold my hand, Jean?"

Comments
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

BALTIMORE — Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. The roar from the crowd was delayed, hushed by the thick fog that enveloped the track. When Justify emerged from the haze in view of the grandstand, t...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Updated: 8 hours ago

Rowdies tie in debut of new coach Neill Collins

St. PETERSBURG — Neill Collins, the former Rowdies defender who this week abruptly replaced Stuart Campbell as coach of the team, was a bit ambivalent about his debut, but he sure liked the way his club played in the second half of Saturda...
Updated: 8 hours ago
USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

The USF softball team's season ended late Saturday in the Gainesville Regional with a 3-2 loss to Ohio State, its second NCAA Tournament loss to the Buckeyes in as many days.OSU (36-15) must defeat No. 2 overall national seed Florida (52-8) twice Sun...
Updated: 8 hours ago