Thirty-four years of public service have left marks on Steve Bierbaum: short buzz cut, no slouch, no nonsense. Now, Bierbaum’s tough exterior melts when he watches over children as a lunch-time volunteer at Ontario Christian Elementary School.
He is blown away when he sees them holding hands, laughing – not even a scuffle.
“I’m completely taken aback that not even once I see kids argue or fight each other but encourage and play with each other,” he said. “They probably don’t need adult supervision.”
The Army veteran has seen more gruesomeness than he wanted as a former police officer and firefighter in Pomona. His profession taught him to be self-critical and critical of others, but here at OC, he finds himself in a peaceful, positive place.
“If parents could see the environment their kids are in, they would be more relieved during the day to know their kids are taken care of,” he said, adding he is relieved knowing his daughter, Brooke, and son, Kyle, are thriving as rambunctious 2nd graders in a safe surrounding.
In addition to serving as a lunch-time volunteer, he is also the afternoon crossing guard. He is floored by all the thanks he receives.
He first heard about the school from his law-enforcement colleagues who either had attended OC themselves or sent their kids here. He talked with his wife, Teresa, who is a guidance counselor at a Riverside public school. The couple wanted to give OC a try. They knew they wanted their children to be surrounded by like-minded Christians who upheld and treasured the same values. More important, they hoped their children would grow up to be solid, well-rounded individuals who reached their fullest God-given potential, faithful to His calling.
They know they’ve made the right choice.
“I love sending our children here. I’ve told Teresa if something were to happen, I’d sell everything I have to have our kids go here. I’d rather live in an apartment.”