Heroes Come In All Sizes

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I love superhero movies!  I don’t know what it is, but I get caught up in the drama, the cheesy story, and the humanity of them all.  (Except for Thor and Superman – we all know they aren’t human, but I still love them!)

I don’t know what super power I would choose if I was presented with options, but I’d love the ability to swoop in and make a difference in some stranger’s life.  Then I’d change back into my street clothes (because of course I would have acted super-bly in my incredibly awesome, probably purple, superhero costume-mine would have laced up sneakers though, who are they kidding making these women run in 8 inch heals)!

In all the DC and Marvel movies I’ve been to I have yet to see a superhero that looked like this…

victor

This is Victor Flores of California.  He’s 13 now, but he was just 9 when this picture was taken and when he certainly acted like a superhero.

Victor and his friend, Aiden were at his grandfather’s property.  The ground was covered with snow and the pond on the property had iced over.  They were chasing ducks when Aiden stepped out onto the pond and the ice gave way from under him.

In true hero fashion, Victor reached out for Aiden.  When he did, he slipped on the edge and fell into the freezing water too.   He could see Aiden was in a panic and flailing in the water.  Victor remained calm, made it to the edge again and pulled himself out.  Then he ran and grabbed a pole and used it to pull Aiden out just as his grandmother was making it down to help, knowing the boys were in trouble.

When the rescue workers arrived they found Aiden was in shock from the cold water.  They thought it was unbelievable that Victor had remained calm and collected during the ordeal.  Both boys were taken to the hospital to be checked out but were fine and soon released.  They asked him what he’d do next time if it ever happened again and in true superhero fashion he said he’d do the very same thing!

So when the little trick-or-treaters come to your door next week, just remember; some of them may actually be heroes in disguise!

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

 

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Shhhhhhh! Don’t Wake The Baby!

So yesterday I mentioned my two great kids and their awesome friends and some good they were doing to make someone feel special.  Well, I’m going to introduce you to another member of my family; my husband, Curt.

This was just a simple gesture he did that some may not find a big deal; but here in this house today, this was a BIG deal!

Curt is headed out for the day to help a friend of his do some winterizing at his house on a lake.  (Yes, that itself is a very nice thing to do but it’s not the thing I’m talking about.)  There were three cars parked all in a row in our driveway; of course the car he needed to take had been the first one in the driveway and was now trapped with two others behind it.   Grabbing all the keys he headed outside, moving the cars one by one.  The two obstacles in his path were now parked in the street.

I was looking out the window of our kitchen (which overlooks the driveway) and waiting to wave goodbye as he pulled out in his jeep.  What I saw was my husband, pushing the jeep down the driveway by hand; out into the street, where he finally got in and started the engine.  See, his jeep is extremely loud.  It has some sort of hole in the muffler or manifold or one of those other car parts I have no idea about.  It also happened to be parked in the driveway right under the window of my sleeping grandson who has been sick all week and was in the middle of his first good nap in a few days.  The noise from the jeep would have definitely been enough to wake our sick grandson.  Unbelievable thoughtfulness.

I hope you’re not thinking that I’m just getting lazy with these past few posts.  I’m not.  I want to show how everyday people can do nice things and be good to others.  My family is just your everyday family of everyday people.  My whole reason behind the subject I chose for this “31 days of….” Challenge was to inspire myself and maybe a few of you to look for opportunities to do good things for others.

I hope it’s working!  I’d love to hear stories from you that either you’ve done or someone else has done!  It’s always good to hear good news!!!

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

15 Year Old Provides New Shoes to 10,000 children

It’s not odd for teenagers to have an award or medal or two on a shelf in their room; 6th grade T-Ball participation award, 4th grade spelling bee champ, junior varsity basketball champs.  All pretty normal collectibles for a lot of kids.   Not so normal are the awards that sit on the bedroom shelves of 15 year old Nicholas Lowinger; 2012 Rhode Island Prudential Spirit of Community Award, 2011 RI Jefferson Award, 2011 Hasbro Community Action Hero Award and the 2011 Youth Leader Award.

At age 5 Nicholas began visiting homeless shelters with his mom who worked with various shelters across Rhode Island.  On one such visit young Nicholas was excited to show off his new tennis shoes to the kids he was going to meet.  His mother explained to him that the kids he would be meeting were not as fortunate as him and he should be careful that showing off new items might make the kids feel bad.  This visit made a lasting impact on Nicholas that he wouldn’t forget!

What started as a community service project, prior to his bar mitzvah in 2010, became a life of giving for Nicholas. He started Gotta Have Sole Foundation with the help of his parents.  His motivation was knowing that kids can have a hard enough time trying to fit in and having decent shoes to wear to school or while playing sports shouldn’t be something they need to worry about as well.  The shoes given to the children also allowed their parents one less financial burden.

Sole_logowordmark_360_360Now with a garage full of donated shoes and help from more than 1,000 volunteers throughout the past few years, Nicholas has been able to provide brand new shoes to more than 10,000 children in homeless shelters in 21 different states.  Adding to the program Nicholas has established SOLEdiers in honor of his grandfathers who is a WWII veteran.  This program provides gift cards for shoe stores to disabled and needy veterans.  The children of the veterans are provided shoes through Nicholas’ inventory.

Knowing how important sport participation can be; Nicholas also has started a program called Serving Love.  This program provides sporting footgear so kids have the opportunity to participate in school sports programs.

If you’d like more information about this amazing young man and his foundation you can visit his website http://www.gottahavesole.org/ghs/

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

Ed Wares Woodworking Reaches Children In South Korea

Ed Wares grew up around wood in Massachusetts.  His parents owned a sawmill and he spent most of his childhood there.  He currently lives in Tennessee in a log cabin that he built 80% by himself.

It seems like a natural fit that he would become a woodworker.  He estimates he’s made more than a thousand wooden toy cars in addition to countless other woodworking projects. His motivation is bringing happiness to the children that will eventually play with his creations.  He feels it’s a way for him to give thanks to God by doing good things for His children.  He has one or two toys on hand at all times and is happy to pass them out to any child he meets.

Ed and his grandson in the workshop

Ed and his grandson in the workshop

Mr. Wares’ daughter Sabrina is a program manager for the Air Force Technical Applications Center and when he heard they were sponsoring an orphanage in South Korea he naturally wanted to help.  He started right away, carving the little wood toys in his workshop.  More than 100 of his little wood cars made their way to the Chechon Children’s Home, 75 miles southeast of Seoul in time for Christmas last year.
The orphanage was founded in 1962 by Jane White, an American missionary.  Since 1966 the airmen from AFTAC’s 452nd Detachment have sponsored the orphanage and helped provide for the children.  Originally functioning solely from donations and sponsors the orphanage now receives some government funding and helps the children transition into their adult life once they are able to leave the orphanage with life skill seminars and other programs.   With facility large enough to house 90 children from birth to 18 they take in abandoned babies and children from unwed mothers or families that for a time are unable to care for their children; with the intention to reunite them once the families have been equipped to care for them again.

Crossing national borders; good people doing good things.

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

A Will That Changed The Lives Of 54 Strangers

Charles Vance Millar was an attorney in Toronto, Canada from 1881 until he died in 1926.  Known for his sometimes wicked sense of humor he liked to leave $1 bills on the sidewalk and watch the expressions as people passed by and pocketed the cash.  Millar held to the philosophy that all men were greedy at their core and all had their ultimate price.

Never having married or had children of his own; he decided it would be fun to continue his pranks after he died.  His will became the avenue for his best jokes ever!

Valuable shares of the Ontario Jockey Club were divided between three men.  Two of the men were known for their views and outspoken opinions against gambling.  Millar thought it would be comical to put these men in a situation where they would have to decide between money and their morals.  The third man given shares had been long ago barred from the Club which Millar found to be a hilarious irony.

Having three friends who hated each other; Miller decided putting them together for extended periods of time would teach them to get along.  Therefore, he left a vacation home in Jamaica to the three men together.  At the time the last individual died, the will stated that the proceeds of the sale would be divided among the poor of Jamaica.

A number of other smaller gifts with unusual terms were also included in the will.  If you are wondering why this man’s story made it into my 31 Day Challenge of Good News & Good People; well, the largest financial gift was by far an act of generosity over joking.

Clause 9 of Millar’s will stated that the remainder of his accumulated wealth was to be invested for 10 years.  At the end of the 10 years the investments were to be liquidated and the funds given to the Canadian women who had given birth to the most children since the time of Millar’s death.  If more than one woman held the record; the funds were to be distributed evenly.  This became known in Canada as the Great Stork Derby

At the time of his death, Millar owned 100,000 share of stock in the Windsor/Detroit tunnel project.  By the time of his death his $100,000 estate had increased into one worth $750,000 due to the tunnel.  The women who were in the running for the inheritance became household names; celebrities of sorts. By the time the 10 years was up, four women had a cumulative total of 56 kids between them, however, only 32 could be counted since they were the ones born during the 10 years after Millar’s death.

The Great Stork Derby had ended in a four way tie.  Four different women each had 9 children during the ten year period stated in the will.  Two other women were each given $12,500 as a consolation prize of sorts.  One for having ten children, however, two were stillborn and the court found that to be relevant. The woman had ten children, however, she divorced her husband during that time and she was not married to the father of the last few of her children (which was a legal issue at the time).

Reportedly the families all wisely used the inherited funds by purchasing homes, cars, and education funds for the children.  All in all, Mr. Miller died a childless man who was able to impact the lives of 54 children during the Great Depression in a way their parents would have never been able.

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.

Lemonade – The Cure for Childhood Cancer

When I was four years old I believe I was learning how to write my name.  I had no concept of cancer.  I was four.  I was playing in my backyard and watching cartoons on Saturday mornings sprawled out on the living room carpet.

In 2000 there was another four year old with knowledge of illness you wish you could keep shielded away from your little one.  Alexandra Scott was diagnosed in 1997 with neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer; two days before her first birthday.  Stepping, too young, into the world of doctors, hospitals, and chemotherapy Alex began her fight.  The doctors had informed her parents, Scott and Liz, that even if she was able to beat this disease raging inside her they were doubtful she would ever walk again.

Very shortly Alex was able to show everyone she was a fighter; two weeks into treatment her parents asked her to kick her leg and she was able to move it; slightly, but she did! By the time she turned two she was crawling and could stand with the help of leg braces and was courageously determined to walk.

Despite her constant fight Alex’s cancer was still growing.  The day after her fourth birthday Alex found herself once again in the hospital receiving a stem cell transplant.  Of all the things that could have been racing through the mind of a little four year old, Alex (now with stripes of wisdom earned well beyond her years) was thinking of others.  She informed her parents that when she got home from the hospital she wanted to have a lemonade stand and raise money so the doctors could help other kids like they help her.  Later that year she opened her first lemonade stand in the front yard of their Connecticut home and raised $2,000.

Though her family was still in an ongoing battle with Alex’s cancer they began holding yearly lemonade stands and donating the proceeds to childhood cancer research.  As the word began to spread of this brave little girl, people all over the world opened lemonade stands and donated the money to Alex and her fight against childhood cancer.

By the time Alex turned 8, four short years after her first lemonade stand, she had been able to lead the way in raising over $1 million.  Alex lost her single battle in August of that year.  However, she didn’t lose the war!  The war continues against childhood cancers and due to Alex’s drive to find a cure her parents, along with her three brothers, have been able to continue the fight, giving inspiration to supporters around the world through Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

Today her Foundation has funded over three hundred research grants, helps families with travel expenses, raised more than $25 million dollars and conducts multiple events across the country.  From their National Lemonade Days to Philadelphia’s annual “Yellow Tie” Gala, The Lemon Ball.  L.A.’s annual culinary event, L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, features more than 30 chefs who prepare dishes and allow attendees to participate in a popular live auction opened this year by National Advisory Board Member and friend of the Foundation Jimmy Kimmel.

How simple an idea, like a lemonade stand, mixed with the passion to help others, could grow into a huge, life-changing foundation.  Armed with childlike inability to be daunted by obstacles, we as adults won’t even try to tackle, Alex has made a difference.  We may take moments throughout our lives to think of what kind of legacy we’ll leave once we are gone; what grand plan will seal our name in the pages of history.  Maybe we should stop thinking and begin by actually making small, simple steps at helping those around us.  You never know what good may evolve from those first tiny steps.

31 days

This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October.  Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors.  You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.