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Old 02-14-2011, 02:35 PM   #46
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Lovely story. Nothing like putting a smile on people's faces just for the heck of it. In some way it's a bit of a shame people who do such things remain anonymous, I bet they'd be really fun people to get to know.

I also liked that story about the soldiers delivering the baby, too, AB. Very cool, indeed. May that baby continue to improve so that mom and child can go home happy and healthy and safe.


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Old 03-09-2011, 07:47 AM   #47
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"feel good" but sad at the same time


Most kids might hope to get an Xbox or an iPod Touch for their 10th birthday. Brennan Daigle got a reception from a formation of soldiers, a ride in a camouflaged National Guard Humvee--and induction as an honorary member of the Army.

Since October 2009, Brennan, from Sulphur, Louisiana, has been battling embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma--a rare form of cancer in which muscular tumors attach themselves to bones, writer Rachel Reischling reports in the Fort Polk Guardian. Last month, doctors told his family there was nothing more they could do, and gave Brennan just weeks to live.

Brennan has always loved the Army. His mother had created a Facebook page--Brennan's Brigade--to keep family and friends informed of his condition. People from around the world, including soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, have left comments of encouragement and support. One group of soldiers in Afghanistan posted a picture of themselves holding an American flag, and told Brennan: "We're flying this flag in honor of you; we're here to back you. Stay Army strong."

Becky Prejean, who runs a charity for sick kids called Dreams Come True of Louisiana, heard about Brennan's illness, and got in touch with his mother, Kristy Daigle. Brennan's greatest wish, Daigle told Prejean, was to meet some soldiers in person, before his illness worsened. So the two women contacted the Fort Polk Community Relations Office, which put out a call for a few soldiers to attend Brennan's tenth birthday on Feb. 26.

Forty showed up.

Brennan had been told he was going fishing with his father. But when he got out of his dad's truck, he was greeted by a formation of 1st MEB soldiers, standing at attention in front of a National Guard Humvee. After a moment, they all shouted "Happy Birthday, Brennan!," and broke into applause.

Brennan was speechless, according to his mother. "All he could do was giggle," she said.

Brennan and his best friend Kaleb were invited to check out the Humvee, and Brennan sat behind the wheel. Then soldiers took the two boys out for a spin. Afterward, Brennan and Kaleb put their heads out the hatch on the vehicle's roof, while the crowd snapped pictures.

But it wasn't over. Brennan got out of the Humvee and was led to the front of the formation, where he shook hands with each soldier. He was inducted into the Army as an honorary member, then given a coin symbolizing merit and excellence, as well as a military jacket with his name on the pocket, and other Army-themed gifts.

"Brennan, you exemplify what personal courage means," Pfc. Kamesha Starkey, 1st MEB, told him.

Finally, the mayor of Sulphur, La., gave Brennan a key to the city, and the title of Honorary Mayor of the Day.

"Words can never express what I felt seeing all those soldiers there, knowing some of them had just come back from Iraq and still took time out for just one little boy," Kristy Daigle said. "Just to know that they care enough to give their all, to give their love and support to a little boy is phenomenal. It says so much about our men and women who serve our country in the armed forces."

Some of the soldiers said the event helped put things in perspective for them. "It was good to be able to give back," Pfc. Kyle Frederick said. "It opened my eyes to a lot of things: How I take my kids for granted, how lucky we are, how we complain on a day-to-day basis and we really have it good compared to others."

As for Brennan, it took a while for his new honor to sink in. The next day, he asked his mother, "Am I really in the Army?"

"You most certainly are," she answered. "They don't swear in just anyone."

"That's awesome," said Brennan.


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Old 03-09-2011, 01:20 PM   #48
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Ahh, I came here to post that! It was a beautiful story. Here's the facebook page his mom made if anyone wants to leave a message of support. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brenna...66334860043846
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:17 PM   #49
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Feel "good" is not quite right for this one, either--feel fortunate? inspired? maybe some of both...

Daily Beast, Mar. 8
When Rebecca Lolosoli won her right to a divorce this past December, 300 women gathered to celebrate. They roasted a goat in her village, Umoja, which the women founded 21 years ago for women only. No men are allowed to live here.

"Our village has turned into a shelter," Lolosoli says. Women and girls fleeing forced marriages, or ostracized for being raped, or trying to save themselves from female genital mutilation, come to Umoja in Kenya for safety. Sons are welcome—as long as they are willing to follow the village's rules and do not try to dominate the women. The women formed the village in order to protect one another. Now, in addition to being a safe haven and a matriarchal utopia, Umoja is the center of a thriving artisans' community, which centers around beadwork.

...In Swahili, Umoja means unity. Many of the 64 women who live there are rape survivors. The perpetrators were often British soldiers who were stationed and trained nearby for more than 50 years. "Wearing green uniforms they blended with the trees and when women collected firewood, the soldiers would jump out and rape them, laughing like it was a game," Lolosoli says. She herself narrowly escaped attack by British soldiers several decades ago. (She doesn't know her exact age, but guesses she's around 48.) At first, rape survivors said nothing. When their husbands found out, the women were cast out of their families and villages as a result of the shame of their violation. To survive, some brewed and sold homemade beer, which was illegal, so they went to jail. Others were eaten by hyenas.

Finally, more than two decades ago, Lolosoli decided it was time to speak up on their behalf, no matter the consequences. She started attending community meetings to address this taboo...Charismatic and confident, Lolosoli kept speaking out. "We knew it would be dangerous," she says. To silence her, Lolosoli was beaten severely by four men while her husband was traveling. When Lolosoli got out of the hospital and returned to him, he said nothing about the attack. She realized then that she would be killed—that he wouldn't protect her.

...Samburu women are not allowed to own land, to get divorced, to work, and the list goes on. Lolosoli's life's work centers on teaching women about their most basic rights—to education, health, and self-empowerment. The women of Umoja help support themselves by running a camping and cultural site for visitors to the Samburu National Reserve. Eventually, they earned enough money from tourism that they were able to buy their own village's land for $2700. Lolosoli has also built a larger network of 60 other women's groups. For those who live far from the game park, she helps train women in how to secure small jobs, like selling livestock, sugar, and salt. "Even if they sell three goats," she says, "they have something in their pockets so they aren't dependent on their husbands." Education, Lolosoli says, is the first step toward changing the status quo. That's why a girl's right to go to school is the most critical issue Samburu women face. "Education is most important so they won't be in the dark like us."

...This most recent development has turned up the tension once again. Lolosoli, a mother of five, is now the first woman among her people, the Samburu of Kenya, to ask for—and receive—a divorce. Two months ago, when the verdict was announced, her husband burst into tears in the courtroom. "I will get hold of you again," he threatened. Such bluster doesn't slow Lolosoli down, not for a minute. Her next goal is to be the first woman to run for local government in next year's election in Kenya. "Even in danger, I've never stopped," she says.

ETA--Out of curiosity, just looked up the Samburu in Wiki and noticed this:
The Samburu are a gerontocracy. The power of elders is linked to the belief in their curse, underpinning their monopoly over arranging marriages and taking on further wives. This is at the expense of unmarried younger men, whose development up to the age of thirty is in a state of social suspension, prolonging their adolescent status. The paradox of Samburu gerontocracy is that popular attention focuses on the glamour and deviant activities of these footloose bachelors, which extend to a form of gang feuding between clans, widespread suspicions of covert adultery with the wives of older men, and theft of their stock.
I can see why the status of women might be especially low in such a social arrangement.
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Old 03-23-2011, 06:08 PM   #50
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By Brian R. Ballou
Globe Staff / March 23, 2011

Terisa Acevedo was crying tears of joy.

Nearly a month after her dog Lola disappeared in a fire that destroyed her home, she found the pet alive Monday among the ashes of her burned-out and boarded-up house in Hyde Park.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw her after all that time,’’ said Acevedo, standing outside the blackened house on River Street. “I hugged Lola in my arms, and I cried and cried. I cried more than I did when I was standing in front of my house watching it burn down.’’

Acevedo, 24, said she all but gave up hope in recent days that her long-haired miniature Dachshund had made it through the Feb. 23 fire. Acevedo was not at home when it started, and after the fire was put out, police searched the house using K-9 units but found no sign of the year-old Lola.

Acevedo assumed her dog had escaped the blaze and was wandering the neighborhood. In the days after the fire, Acevedo, an EMT and Northeastern University student, posted flyers on telephone poles, stuffed them in mailboxes, visited animal shelters, and walked the Boston neighborhood hoping to find her dog. But as the days turned into weeks, she began to think Lola had perished.

Staying with relatives, Acevedo received a call Monday from her former landlord that the alarm was blaring on the second vehicle she has kept in the driveway of her former house.

Acevedo went to shut off the alarm, and as she stood in front of the house and surveyed the devastation, she heard scratching inside the boarded-up front door.

Acevedo yelled out Lola’s name, and with the help of friends, tore the plywood off the entrance. Lola retreated into the blackened interior, then responded to Acevedo’s call. Wearing a pink collar and appearing gaunt but otherwise uninjured, she ran into Acevedo’s arms.

“I can’t explain what it was like to see her again,’’ Acevedo said. “I just can’t put it into words.’’

Acevedo took Lola to the Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Jamaica Plain. Acevedo’s mother, Tracey Bills, said the discovery rejuvenated the dog owner. “My daughter went through so much hurt after that fire,’’ she said. “So when she called me, crying that she had found Lola, it was a happy ending.’’

Lola apparently found sustenance in the house. The hospital staff said the contents of her stomach showed that Lola had recently eaten. Acevedo speculated that Lola may have eaten cat food left by residents of the other half of the duplex, which was also gutted by the fire.

Steve MacDonald, spokesman for Boston Fire Department, said the two-alarm fire was caused by an electrical short circuit. The blaze caused an estimated $350,00 in damage, and there were no major injuries. Lola has no symptoms of smoke inhalation, hospital officials said.

“We’re certainly hopeful that she’s going to make a full recovery,’’ said Anya Gambino, an emergency room doctor at Angell. “It’s something I’ve never seen before.
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Old 03-31-2011, 09:59 AM   #51
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There are people that step up during crisis situations, and people that step up, and for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, they can look at young Ryo Ishikawa to be leading the latter group.

Ishikawa, just 19 years old and a Japanese professional golfer, announced on Wednesday that he will be donating all of his 2011 prize money to victims of the natural disaster that devastated Japan on March 11. That means that Ishikawa will probably be donating over $1 million, a number people estimate Ryo will win if he has a solid second full season on the PGA Tour, especially since a season ago he earned 151 million yen ($1.8 million) on the Japan Tour alone to go along with his $149,180 in the states.

Why has Ishikawa decided to do this, besides the obvious reasons that he is from Japan and wants to help out any way he can? He has told Japanese press that he feels the extra motivation to play well will help his game, and give him a reason to really grind out every round. If you think about the magnitude that each week could carry for Ishikawa, you have to think this is a huge win-win for everyone in Japan. First, they'd be getting a hefty sum of relief money headed their way, and second, they'd get to see their young star turn into a global icon if he starts to finish high or even win some elite events on the PGA Tour.

It also says a lot about who Ishikawa is. Just 19, he always seemed way ahead of his years. He wasn't intimidated the first time he was paired with Tiger Woods in a huge event, and even beat him. He has notched nine professional wins on the Japan Tour, and shot a final-round 58 last year to win The Crowns.

You have to stand back and applaud a kid with this much charity under his sleeve. If you aren't openly rooting for Ishikawa to play well next week at Augusta, I don't know what to tell you.

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Old 04-06-2011, 11:39 AM   #52
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Huffington Post

Besides attracting thousands of visitors daily, rock concerts, hockey games and hotel chains have something else in common -- tons of food left once the guests are gone. But some of that food is being put to good use, thanks to Syd Mandelbaum, the founder of Rock and Wrap It Up! -- an anti-poverty think tank that recovers unwanted prepared food and gets it to where it's desperately needed.

Launched nationally in 1994, Rock and Wrap It Up! got its start by asking rock bands -- like Aerosmith and Bon Jovi -- to require in their tour contracts that leftover food prepared for the band and crew be donated to the hungry. Rock and Wrap It Up! would wrap up the prepared but untouched meals after concerts and other events and deliver them to local food banks and charitable agencies, along with toiletries and cleaning products donated by hotels, schools and other organizations.

Today, Rock and Wrap It Up! has fed more than 500 million people, supports over 43,000 agencies in North America, and is partnered not only with 150 bands, but with professional sports franchises, colleges, hotel chains, film and television producers and even the entire National Hockey League, with Major League Baseball considering signing on as well.

Mandelbaum's passion for stopping hunger and poverty was influenced by his own personal history. Both of his parents are Holocaust survivors who almost starved to death as teenagers in Nazi concentration camps.

"I want to change this country so that what my parents went through, no one in this country has to go through -- hunger," Mandelbaum told NBC Nightly News.

NBC reports that at Boston's TD Garden, home of the Boston Bruins, up to 25 tons of food would get tossed every year. Now, much of that food has been diverted from the landfill; Instead, it's donated to Boston Rescue Mission, which serves hundreds of hungry people each day.
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Old 04-27-2011, 02:51 PM   #53
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I still can't believe this story-what are the odds? Crazy-or maybe something we can't explain going on

Long lost half-brothers from Massachusetts meet in Hawaii thanks to photo-op

Updated: Tuesday, 26 Apr 2011, 8:12 AM EDT

LEOMINSTER (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) - It was a picture perfect vacation- Rick Hill, his wife Maureen and their kids visiting Waikiki from Massachusetts.

But it's the serendipitous encounter with the man behind the camera that changed all of their lives for good when he offered to snap their picture.

"He said 'Say Leominster', that's where he's from. So we smiled and said 'wow, what made you say that?' And he said 'That's where I'm from' and we said 'Wow, we're from the next town over, Lunenburg'," explained Rick's wife Maureen Hill.

And so the name game began between the two men; Rick Hill and Joe Parker who now lives in Hawaii.

They threw out names until a shot in the dark sent chills down all of their spines.

"And then I looked up and they started talking about Dickie, and I just started crying," added Maureen.

Dickie was Dick Halligan, Joe's father who passed away years ago. It just so happens Dick is also Rick's father. The two men are half-brothers.

It took traveling 6,000 miles away, from two hometowns less than a few miles apart and a simple question to bring these brothers together.

"Who would think that you would take a camera from a perfect stranger and it would end up being your sister-in-law and brother you've never met before in your life. 6,000 miles away from where we're from? It's mind blowing to say the least," offered Joe Parker.

"I kind of knew I had a brother but I never was able to meet him and didn't know where he was from and didn't know how to contact him," added Rick Hill.

Maureen snapped a photo of the long lost brothers. It's a picture 38 years in the making for the family who had come for a simple vacation and picked up a family member to add to their album along the way.

"I was like surprised because I thought we were just coming to Hawaii just to visit and then we meet my uncle," according to Adam Hill, Rick's son.

The brothers say they had known about each other for a few years, but didn't know each others names and were living in different states as it turns out. Since they met a few days ago, they've seen each other every day and say they definitely plan on keeping in touch.

Read more: Long lost half-brothers from Massachusetts meet in Hawaii
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:55 AM   #54
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A crowd of 15,000 cheered as UC Berkeley graduating senior Austin Whitney took seven steps with the help of a remarkable robotic exoskeleton to get his degree last week.

Whitney was paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident in 2007, and has been a paraplegic ever since. Berkeley Professor Homayoon Kazerooni and a team of graduate students worked to design the robotic device Whitney operated via a switch on his walker to move toward Chancellor Robert Birgeneau to shake his hand.

"'If somebody told me four years ago that I'd be walking at this graduation, I would have never believed them in a million years," Whitney told ABC News. You can watch the video after the jump:

Whitney, who majored in history and political science, was the exoskeleton's first human test pilot, and the team named the device after him. "This team is so much more than just a group of researchers. They are my best friends at the university," he told Berkeley's news center. Most exoskeletons on the market cost about $100,000--the researchers are trying to make their model more affordable.

Whitney had been drinking when he crashed his car into a tree and severed his spinal cord four years ago; he now gives motivational talks about the dangers of drinking and driving.

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Old 05-18-2011, 10:32 AM   #55
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Not so much a "feel good" story as a really cool one. And an amazing photo!

Space Shuttle Twitpic Launches Woman to Tweeting Fame

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Old 05-24-2011, 09:12 AM   #56
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Just wanted to post this somewhere


"We saw this picture and it made us wonder…we know we are queens at multitasking, but, honestly, do Moms have to do everything?

Tiffany Goodwin, of Fredericksburg, Va., caught a foul ball while holding 8-month-old son Jerry during a minor league baseball game in Richmond. (Jerry wears a head-shaping helmet to ensure his skull plates fuse together. )

Oh, and the guy who Tiffany -- with her southpaw! -- snagged the ball from? That would be her husband, Allen. Can it get any more awesome?"

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Old 06-28-2011, 09:42 AM   #57
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Japanese Man Makes a Long Trip to Help Joplin - WDAF

Toshiya Muto was in Japan in March when the deadly earthquake and tsunami hit. He was so thankful and overwhelmed by the support that came from the United States that he decided he must help Joplin tornado victims.

Muto arrived in Joplin last week and while he says it is sad to see all the devastation, he says tragedy brings out the good in people.

"It's not just the sadness. You see the good side of people. I felt that in Japan and I feel that here. I really respect the people who are here volunteering and helping out," Muto said.

Muto rides his bike ten miles everyday from his hotel to the disaster zone.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:14 AM   #58
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LMAO!! This story made my day.....

Mating turtles shut down runway at JFK - CNN.com

Is this what's called joining the mile-LOW club??

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Old 07-06-2011, 09:33 AM   #59
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Yahoo sports

The event - a foul-shooting contest for top academic students at Compton High School in Los Angeles - was created with a simple premise: Organizers wanted to show the kids at Compton how to create community spirit with college scholarship money as the incentive.

Following a tear-jerking gesture from the winner - it appears the true lessons learned were by the adults.

The kids in Compton are more than alright.

Three months after winning the $40,000 top prize, Allan Guei donated all of his winnings to the seven other finalists.

Guei, a star player on the basketball team who is headed to Cal-State Northridge on a full scholarship, said he felt the others could use the college cash more than he could. He wanted to give his classmates a chance to make their academic dreams come true, too.

"I've already been blessed so much and I know we're living with a bad economy, so I know this money can really help my classmates," he said in a release from the school. "It was the right decision."

One that stunned Court Crandall, the man behind the event.

"What he has done is exceptional, just like Allan," he said. "Like any young people, whether it's my kids or someone else's, you hope they are given opportunities to show what they can do. These Compton High grads have a lot of talent. They have a lot of drive, and I wish them all the best."

Crandall, a partner at the Southern California advertising firm WDCW and a hollywood screenwriter whose credits include "Old School," came up with the idea after watching his 16-year-old son play on a basketball team with some Compton students.

Crandall felt foul shooting was something that could unite a community regardless of racial divide. He felt doing it in Compton - a community battling an image problem - could help change those attitudes, too.

"I thought the free throw is a good metaphor in a world where there's a bunch of lines that are kind of dividing us," Crandall said afterward. "The focus became, how do we show the world another side of Compton, that's more positive, beyond the stereotypical guns and crime stuff."

The only requirement for the contest is that the students must have a GPA of 3.0 and above. After receiving nearly 100 applicants, eight contestants were chosen at random. The contest was held in March.

"My hope was that what started as a competition would become a collaboration with the kids supporting each other," Crandall told the L.A. Times. "They did, but in the end they did that to a much greater extent than I ever could have anticipated."

The students were filmed throughout the ordeal as part of a documentary that is scheduled to be released this fall.

One of the final scenes figures to be Compton principal Jesse Jones making the surprise announcement at the school's graduation in June.

"Allan is a great basketball player, but he is a better citizen than a basketball player," Jones said. "It's truly a blessing."

Even though Guei was a basketball star, Crandall allowed him to enter the contest to reward him for his academic efforts.

Guei would have been allowed to keep the money under NCAA rules. The other finalists, who will receive roughly $5,500, are thankful that he will not.

Donald Dotson, who also plans to attend Cal-State Northridge, said Guei is "a very deep, intelligent, and warm person."

Dotson figures his gesture will pay forward.

"He's going to go really far in life," he said. "Because of what he's done for us, God will bless him. That's what life is all about; stepping forward to help other people."

The irony in this story: Compton's boys basketball team advanced to the Southern Section Division 2AA title game last winter before losing . The team was done in by poor foul shooting.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:59 AM   #60
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iPhone 4 survives fall from skydiver's pocket - CNN.com

Where's John Cameron Swayze when you need him....lol.

GREAT story!

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