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Old 12-22-2010, 08:08 PM   #31
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^Nice gesture for him to offer to pay.

I need to start doing that whenever one of my co-workers takes me and my other co-workers out to lunch/dinner.

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Old 12-27-2010, 06:24 PM   #32
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I read this just before Christmas and thought it was one of the best things I've ever read

By Yvonne Abraham
Boston Globe Columnist / December 23, 2010

MELROSE — Everybody was waiting for Rudy.

On Tuesday night, Patty and Rick Parker were in their cramped kitchen with their 8-year-old son Ben. Dinner was over. Bedtime was near.

Ben’s twin brother, Sammy, lay on a cot in the narrow hallway just outside the kitchen. Unable to see or speak or control his limbs, he coughed or let out a little moan every now and then. Rick and Patty took turns feeding Sammy, who has cerebral palsy, through a stomach tube. He cooed when they kissed his face or stroked his cheek, and when they cooed back, he opened his mouth into a wide, joyful O.

A few feet away was the narrow, winding stairway that is the family’s biggest burden lately.

Which is where 17-year-old Rudy’s simple, life-changing act of kindness comes in.

Until recently, Rick carried Sammy up those 14 stairs to his bedroom each night. But a few months ago, Rick had major surgery for a life-threatening heart condition, and now he can’t lift much at all, let alone a 75-pound child.

“We thought Rick was going to die, and we were terrified,’’ Patty recalled. “We knew right away he had to stop carrying Sam.’’

Patty couldn’t carry him, either. Desperate, she called her pediatrician, who put her in touch with Elizabeth Paquette, the nurse at Malden Catholic High School. Paquette said she’d take care of it. The boys at Malden Catholic are taught to embrace service: She’d find plenty of students to help.

Rudy Favard was the first kid Paquette came across after that call. At Malden Catholic on a partial scholarship from the Catholic Schools Foundation, this son of Haitian immigrants was one of Paquette’s treasures. The linebacker, cocaptain of the football team and honor roll student was always willing to lend a hand.

The nurse had barely begun telling Rudy about the Parkers before he said he’d help. Another boy would fill in for Rudy on game nights. And a third boy was on standby in case neither of the others could make it.

When Paquette brought the boys to meet the family for the first time, the Parkers cried.

“Just to see this outpouring of people,’’ Rick Parker began, his eyes welling at the memory. “To see that these people were willing to put their hands and feet to what they believed. . .’’

It is profoundly isolating to have a child as severely disabled as Sammy. It’s hard even for well-meaning friends to understand the immense strain of his all-consuming needs. Patty and Rick — who tried for 8 years to get pregnant before Ben and Sam were born — grieve for one son’s lost potential every day, even as they struggle to give the other as normal a life as possible.

“You plan for your child’s future, but it’s hard to do that for Sam,’’ Rick said. “You have this pathway he should have taken, and the pathway he did take, and you don’t want to look at either one.’’

And over it all hangs the certainty that Sammy’s condition will never improve — even as he gets bigger and heavier.

Into this world of love and hurt comes Rudy. Four nights a week, he leaves his homework and makes the 10-minute drive to the Parker house. Around 8 p.m., he carries Sammy upstairs, chats a bit, hugs everybody, and heads home to finish his work. After considerable effort, the Parkers convinced Rudy to take enough money to cover gas, with a little left over.

In the few months the Parkers have known him, Rudy has become not just a help with Sammy, but a salve for their pain. He and Rick talk about football. Patty quizzes him on girls. Ben usually parks himself as close to Rudy as possible, looking up at him adoringly. And most nights, Sam will tremble with excitement as Rudy picks him up.

“It’s like family,’’ said the shy senior. It goes both ways: The Parkers were on the field with Rudy’s mother the night Malden Catholic honored its senior football players.

And so Rudy had barely knocked on the door Tuesday night before Ben was at it, jumping up and down, yelling, “Rudy is here! Rudy is here!’’

He greeted the Parkers, and went over to Sammy, gently lifting the boy’s left arm and sliding his hands under his back, the way Rudy’s father, a professional caregiver, had shown him. He lifted Sammy and held him close to his chest, and as the boy made his joyful O, Rudy carefully maneuvered him around the corners on the narrow stairway.

You couldn’t help but be struck by the painful contrast between the two boys: The robust athlete cradling the pale, helpless child; the young man preparing to go out into the world carrying someone who never will.

It’s a comparison lost on nobody, least of all Rudy himself.

“Can I ask you something?’’ he said, sitting in the Parkers’ living room after Sammy was asleep. “Is it OK if this article is more about Sam than me?’’


“He’s done more for me than I’ve done for him,’’ Rudy said. “There are times when I don’t want to go to practice, and then I look at Sam. By God’s grace, I can do what I’m doing, so I should keep it up. I’ve never been one to complain a lot, but just seeing Sam reaffirms everything, you know?’’

The Parkers won’t have Rudy for long. He’s already been accepted at four colleges, and others are courting him. Where he goes depends on financial aid and football.

The Parkers hope to be out of this cramped house and into a bigger one — with no stairs — before Rudy leaves town in search of his degree.

Until then, Rudy will bound up to the modest, pale green house on Fairmount Street. He’ll carry Sammy up to his cozy room. Then, for a little while, he’ll carry the Parkers somewhere better, too.

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Old 12-27-2010, 06:31 PM   #33
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I actually teared up reading that. That is so sweet. And so cool . And he wants more attention focused on Sam . What an amazing kid. I wish him luck with his endeavors.

Sam's pretty cool, too. Sounds like he's quite the fighter, and he's lucky to have such a caring group of people around him. How much can be done for him in regards to his physical problems, I don't know, but may he continue to live as good a life as he can for as long as he can.

That was really beautiful and touching. Thanks so much for sharing that.

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Old 12-27-2010, 06:32 PM   #34
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Thanks for reading all that I posted
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:08 AM   #35
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I guess the "few other things" involve some sort of criminal past, hopefully that's all behind him.

A homeless voice has the sound of a fairy tale | The Columbus Dispatch

That voice.

The smooth baritone of Ted Williams became an Internet sensation yesterday when a Dispatch.com video compelled millions of viewers to take a closer look (and listen) at a homeless panhandler who sometimes works the Hudson Street ramp off northbound I-71.

Carrying a hand-scrawled cardboard sign touting his "God-given gift of voice," an otherwise ragged Williams was recorded last month offering up his radiant pipes to an idle commuter for spare change.

That voice delivered.

Eclipsing the initial awe over Williams' "gift" were the scores of phone calls that followed - media inquiries and potential job offers that could ultimately provide the one-time radio announcer with a second chance.

"My boss said to me: 'If you don't get him hired, you're fired,'" said Kevin McLoughlin, director of post-production films for the National Football League. He contacted The Dispatch last night in search of Williams.

"I can't make any guarantees, but I'd love to get him some work."

The 97-second clip - posted Monday on Dispatch.com and copied yesterday morning to YouTube by an anonymous user - was filmed on a whim by Dispatch videographer Doral Chenoweth III.

As blog entries, Facebook posts and Twitter exclamations turned viral, so did the calls from news producers at ABC, CBS and CNN, as well as national talk shows.

"We run into these guys at the exit ramps and we pretty much ignore them," said Chenoweth, who was en route with his wife to the grocery store when he first saw Williams. "This guy was using his talent."

That voice, however, remained elusive yesterday.

A sporadic resident of a camp behind an abandoned Hudson Street gas station, Williams had declined offers to relocate to a shelter, said Ken Andrews, a volunteer for Mount Carmel Outreach and a 15-year veteran of local homeless-assistance work.

"He's a good guy," Andrews said. "But we never knew he had 'the voice.'"

Several visits to the site and the highway ramp yielded no sign of Williams. Yet he supposedly was found by the promotions staff at radio station WNCI (97.9 FM), which will host the virtual star as a guest at 7:15a.m. today on the Morning Zoo.

WNCI program director Tony Florentino said the station wasn't housing Williams or providing a ride to the Downtown studio, which has since fielded queries from ESPN and MTV. "A friend" providing temporary housing didn't give a phone number, he said.

"We're on pins and needles," Florentino said. "I think he really has no idea how big this is going to be."

Finding an agent to navigate the undoubtedly complex - and predatory - landscape ahead is vital, said Shane Cormier, a Los Angeles agency owner whose clients have done voice-over work for Ford, Sprint and Western Union. He sent an e-mail to The Dispatch yesterday.

"We could make him a millionaire," Cormier said.

WBNS-TV (Channel 10) wants Williams to provide narration for promotional spots during its first-ever "One Day to End Homelessness" telethon on Jan. 31, said Frank Willson, director of operations. (WBNS is owned by The Dispatch Printing Company, which also owns The Dispatch.)

And a $10,000 offer for voice-over work for the Ohio Credit Union League will be presented this morning on WNCI, where camera crews from NBC's Today show and other national networks are expected to be on hand.

Although such work is contingent on a background check, league spokesman Patrick Harris said, "his voice would be a perfect fit for us."

That voice has little known history.

The native of Brooklyn, N.Y., became infatuated with radio at age 14 during a field trip that included a talk with a station announcer who looked nothing like his voice would suggest.

"He said to me: 'Radio is defined (as) theater of mind,'" Williams says on the Dispatch video. "I can't be an actor; I can't be an on-air (television) personality.

"The voice became something of a development."

Williams says he attended broadcasting school but doesn't elaborate. He once worked filling in on overnight shifts in Columbus at WVKO (1580 AM), a former soul-music station now offering Catholic programming.

Problems with drugs, alcohol and "a few other things" derailed his ambitions long ago, he says, but he recently marked two years of sobriety.

"I'm trying hard to get it back," Williams says.

Listen closely.

That voice could be his.

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Old 01-06-2011, 04:39 PM   #36
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^ He saw his mother for the first time in 20 years today.

VIDEO: Ted Williams, Man With The 'Golden Voice,' Reunites With His Mom : The Two-Way : NPR

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Old 01-06-2011, 04:44 PM   #37
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Oh, how neat . That's great.

He does have quite a strong voice, it'd be absolutely perfect for voice-overs or for radio, definitely. I'm glad he has a chance to get away from the life he's been living thus far, hopefully this leads to a good job for him and he can start getting his life back in order again.

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Old 01-06-2011, 05:12 PM   #38
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A friend posted this video on facebook and when I noticed it was from Columbus I took a look. I lived just one house off Hudson Street and used to take that exit all the time. I still pass it all the time as I live a little further north now, but don't take it nearly as often. I very rarely saw panhandlers there, but that could be more because of the time I was out (not during normal rush hour traffic) than because there weren't any.

I'm glad to see he's getting these opportunities and I hope he has good, honest people giving him advice and support.
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Old 01-06-2011, 08:51 PM   #39
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I live in the Columbus area also, so it's cool to read about this happening right here where I live. His voice really is something.
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:09 PM   #40
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Sacramento Bee

Published: Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 1B

In the months since the beating that left her paralyzed, Cynthia Hammond has known sad and desperate moments.

But Wednesday brought pure joy.

It came through the door in the form of Justine Bunnell, a retiree who read about Hammond's savage beating and noted her simple desire for an electronic reading device known as a Kindle.

Bunnell brought that gift to the door of the Florin-area care home where Hammond lives, and she just may have found a new friend.

After a brief introduction, the two women launched into an animated discussion about books, authors, and life.

"I saw your story, and it led me to you," said Bunnell, 72, a retired clerk and office manager who lives in a modest apartment in Fair Oaks. "I have no idea why. Sometimes fate just takes over."

"Bless your heart," said Hammond, as both women's eyes welled up with tears.

Hammond, 50, the mother of two grown sons, suffered a broken neck during a beating by her former live-in boyfriend, Joe McCoy, in September 2009. Last month, a Sacramento Superior Court jury convicted McCoy of charges that likely will send him to prison for life.

During the trial, the news media protected Hammond's identity. But afterward, Hammond decided to go public with her story in hopes of persuading others to leave abusive relationships. In a story in The Bee on Sunday, she mentioned her joy of reading and her wish for a Kindle.

After the story appeared, more than 150 people contacted the newspaper wanting to help.

Many offered to buy Hammond a Kindle or to contribute to a fund to buy electronic books or a voice-activated computer. Others wanted to send her cards or notes, or invite her to be an inspirational speaker. Some readers felt a bond with Hammond because they, too, had suffered abuse. Some were former customers and co-workers for Rite-Aid Pharmacies, for which Hammond worked for more than three decades.

Bunnell was among the first readers to call.

Anyone who wishes to donate a gift card for books or electronics to Hammond, or send her words of encouragement, can write to her in care of Danvill Inc., P.O. Box 292997, Sacramento, CA 95829.

Hammond, who has very limited use of her hands and has trouble turning book pages, is thrilled with her Kindle. "I can handle this," she said. "I'm learning to do things every day that I thought I never would be able to do."

Bunnell on Wednesday demonstrated how Hammond can use the electronic reader to access her favorite romance and adventure novels. The two women talked about books including "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Tuesdays With Morrie," and authors such as Janet Evanovich and Nora Roberts.

"I'm so pleased," Hammond said, cradling the device in her lap. "This is absolutely wonderful."

Hammond and Bunnell were reluctant to part company, and pledged to stay in touch.

They exchanged e-mail addresses and phone numbers, and vowed to become Facebook friends.

"I am so happy that I was able to meet Cindy," Bunnell said as she left. "I'm not sure who got the greater gift today, her or me."
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Old 01-26-2011, 05:16 PM   #41
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Aw, that is so cool .

Happy to see the address to send things to her is here, may keep that in mind.

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Old 02-08-2011, 07:02 AM   #42
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Soldiers deliver, save Palestinian baby - Israel News, Ynetnews

This is such a fantastic and touching story that I had to share with you.

Have a good day everyone!

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Old 02-14-2011, 12:50 PM   #43
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Valentine's paper hearts re-appear in Vermont capital | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont

Valentine's paper hearts re-appear in Vermont capital

MONTPELIER — Vermont's state capital is aflutter in hearts again. In keeping with a mysterious Valentine's Day tradition, an unknown person or people plaster sheets of paper with red hearts on them all over downtown offices, shops and buildings.

The so-called Valentine's Bandit started the tradition in Montpelier in 2002. Each year, residents wake up to find the red hearts affixed to buildings, shop windows and other downtown fixtures.

The "phantom" has his — or her — own Facebook page, dubbed the Montpelier Valentine Phantom Phan Page.

Appreciative fans took to Facebook on Monday. One thanked the Phantom for making her drive to work wonderful.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:25 PM   #44
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^ There's something very smalltown New England about that.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:26 PM   #45
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Yes there is!

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