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Old 11-05-2010, 04:53 PM   #21
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:17 AM   #22
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I saw this last night and I thought it was beautiful

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams: News and videos from the evening broadcast- msnbc.com

It's the first two videos about music and veterans

http://guitars4vets.org/
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:06 PM   #23
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Leo DiCaprio donates $1 million to Wildlife Funds
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:50 PM   #24
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. — The Salvation Army red kettles are coming up golden in Indiana.

The charity says anonymous donors have left gold coins in kettles in Mishawaka and Kokomo this Christmas season.

The South Bend Tribune reports that someone dropped a 1-ounce U.S. gold coin worth $1,400 in a kettle outside a Sam's Club in Mishawaka. The coin was wrapped in a $100 bill and a small note thanking the organization for "doing God's work."

The Kokomo Tribune reports that another donor dropped a South African Krugerrand worth more than $1,400 in a kettle at Markland Mall in Kokomo.

The Salvation Army also has received four gold coins in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

Despite the gold coin donations, officials in South Bend and Kokomo say donations are running behind expectations.



Last week, Msnbc.com covered the struggle of Wayne Pittman, an unemployed carpenter whose unemployment benefits were on the verge of running out.

Like millions of other "99ers" across the country, Pittman was nearing the 99-week limit of unemployment benefits, with no job prospects.

According to MSNBC.com:

Christmas is out of the question for Wayne Pittman, 46, of Lawrenceville, Ga., and his wife and 9-year-old son. The carpenter was working up to 80 hours a week at the beginning of the decade, but saw that gradually drop to 15 hours before it dried up completely. His last $297 check will go to necessities, not presents.

Just six days later, things are looking up for Pittman's family -- and other unemployed Americans.

After reading Pittman's story, Florida lawyer Dan Dannheisser stepped up to make sure Pittman's son wouldn't go without Christmas presents. He's giving legos, "Star Wars" videos and sports memorabilia to the young boy.

According to a follow-up story on Msnbc.com, Dannheisser said:

"I can't fix the unemployment situation in this country and the unfortunate situation he and Jacqueline were in, but I thought I could certainly fix a 9-year-old boy having Christmas."
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Old 12-15-2010, 09:39 AM   #25
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By David Filipov and L. Finch
Globe Staff And Correspondent / December 15, 2010


Maybe it was the holiday spirit. Maybe it was because it was the right thing to do.

Or maybe it was a little bit of both that inspired Brian Christopher to perform a simple act of kindness.

The 49-year-old Navy veteran was walking near City Hall Monday when something on the ground caught his eye. It looked like a comic book. Christopher, an amateur artist, picked it up.

It was a wallet with $172 in it. But no credit cards, license, or any other identification.

What would you do? While you are thinking about that, consider this: Christopher is homeless. He has no income. He has three children, ages 14, 12, and 10, in Maryland. He really, really could have used the cash.

Instead, he brought the wallet to the closest police station, where an officer found a receipt inside with a name and telephone number. The police officer used that to track down the owner, who picked up the wallet. All the money was there.

Yesterday, Christopher admitted he had struggled with the temptation to keep the cash.

“I counted the money and said, ‘Wow, I could probably get three nice presents with this,’ ’’ he said at the Frog Pond in Boston Common, where he had gone to skate. “But maybe it was some student’s Christmas gift money. I just kept thinking of the meaning of Christmas.’’

It turns out the owner, Meghan Schultz of Cambridge, really needed the money, too. The bike messenger put the wallet in her back pocket. It slipped out as she was making the rounds.

“I had pretty much written it off,’’ said Schultz, 22. “For me that’s a pile of cash.’’

To her surprise, she got a call from Officer Richard Osberg of District One. When she came in to claim her wallet, she also got Christopher’s phone number.

“I wanted to see if I could take him out to lunch,’’ she said. “It’s not like I have a ton of spending money but I can afford this.’’

Christopher served in the Navy in the 1980s in a noncombat position before receiving an honorable discharge. He worked for a while as a bartender at Cheeseburger in Paradise in California, Md. Christopher, a native of Quincy, returned to Massachusetts this month. But his parents did not have room to take him into their Braintree home. And because his mother spends her time looking after his father, a veteran who is disabled after a stroke 10 years ago, they could not help out their son. (His wife lives with their children in Maryland.)

Last week, after failing to find a job or a place to live, Christopher checked into the New England Center for Homeless Veterans on Court Street.

He was outside the building when he saw the wallet. “I was facing a conundrum, a real moral dilemma,’’ Christopher said.

Christopher called a friend in Las Vegas and asked her advice. He called his case manager at the shelter, Reneé MacLean. They both suggested that he turn the wallet in to police.

“Doing the right thing when no one is looking shows something wonderful about his character,’’ MacLean said. “It’s definitely nice, especially around Christmas.’’

Osberg, the police officer, said that people occasionally turn in property that they find on the street, and not only the ones who can afford to.

“It’s always good when people make the right decision when they come across anything of value,’’ Osberg said. “Just because someone’s homeless doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a moral compass.’’
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:41 PM   #26
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When she came in to claim her wallet, she also got Christopher’s phone number.

“I wanted to see if I could take him out to lunch,’’ she said. “It’s not like I have a ton of spending money but I can afford this.’’
I loved this part-kindness being paid back .

That's a really heartwarming story. I hate the fact that this man is homeless, though-it'd be great to do something to help fix that.

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Old 12-15-2010, 06:32 PM   #27
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Secret Santa spreads joy, disbelief in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Secret Santa II hit the streets Tuesday in a long-standing Kansas City tradition of handing out $100 bills — sometimes several at a time — to unsuspecting strangers in thrift stores, food pantries and shelters.

Some people gasped in surprise. Some wanted to know if the $100 bill the tall man in the red cap offered was fake. Others wept.

[Related: Inexpensive Secret Santa gifts for co-workers]

Secret Santa II has seen a lot of reactions since taking over where his mentor, Kansas City's original Secret Santa, Larry Stewart, left off when he died in 2007 at age 58. Like Stewart, who gave away more than $1 million to strangers each December in mostly $100 bills, this Secret Santa prefers to stay anonymous.

A fake white beard taped to his face, Secret Santa II handed out about $10,000 in total Tuesday. Recipients included a police officer with terminal cancer, a homeless man pushing a rickety old shopping cart, an 81-year-old woman who had recently told her 27 grandchildren she wouldn't be able to afford any Christmas gifts, and Bernadette Turner, a 32-year-old unemployed mother of two.

"It's hard to come by," Turner said looking in disbelief at the $200 Secret Santa had given her.

Then one of Santa's "elves" — another tall man in a red cap — sidled up to next to Turner, asked a few questions, and handed her an additional $100. Turner, whose children are 3 and 8, was overcome.

"I can only afford one gift for each child. But now ...." she said, wiping tears from her cheeks and reaching out for a hug.

[Related: Cheap stocking stuffers for kids]

"Do you believe in Santa Claus?" Capt. Ray Wynn of the Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department, asked from a few feet away. Wynn had followed Stewart on many "sleigh rides" around the country and now follows this Secret Santa, providing stories, memories and amusing sound effects.

"I do now," Turner said. "I do now."

Secret Santa II took over from Stewart about the time the recession hit and the economy went into a tailspin. Like Stewart, this Secret Santa doesn't talk about his own finances, where those $100 bills come from and if — like for so many people now — they've been harder to come by.

Come December, he just fills his pockets with money, dons his red cap and heads out looking for people to make really happy.

He will likely hand out about $40,000 this December. He says he'll go "till the money runs out."

"The recession, unemployment. This is the time you don't want to stop. You don't want to back off," he said.

He walked up to Peggy Potter, 59, of Kansas City, Kan., who was looking at some framed prints at a thrift store. He made some small talk, put his arm around her and within minutes she was crying. Her son died about a year and a half ago. Her husband died in July and her daughter died soon after that.

[Related: 12 geek stocking stuffers for less than $10]

"I'm just ... today's been a rough day for me, just thinking about my loved ones," she said. "I've been having a hard time paying for all the funerals."

Santa gave her $200, listened more, hugged her, and told her the poster she was holding had special meaning. It was a photo of two hands, one large, one small. Words printed at the bottom could have been written by Secret Santa, the original or the current one.

It said: "Kindness in giving creates love."
Secret Santa spreads joy, disbelief in Kansas City - Yahoo! News
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:19 PM   #28
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Good lord, I feel awful for Peggy Potter . That poor woman... She most definitely deserved that act of kindness, no question.

This really has to be one of the best thread ideas ever. These stories are amazing.

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Old 12-17-2010, 09:11 AM   #29
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CANOE -- CNEWS - Good News: Twins become new parents on the same day

MONTREAL — Twins are rumoured to have a spooky connection that science can’t fully explain.

But these Quebec twins went a step further — they both became new parents on in the same hospital on the same day.

Daniel Couture’s wife was pregnant at the same time as his twin sister, Michelle Couture.

“I don’t know why but I dreamed Wednesday morning she would give birth,” he said in an interview Thursday.

“I just felt it. I called her at home and told her she would give birth that day.”

But his own wife soon went into labour herself, and Michelle joined Daniel at the Montreal-area hospital to wait. Then, just before Daniel’s wife gave birth, the heavily pregnant Michelle began to feel the early signs of labour as she paced the hospital corridors.


“My brother told me not to worry, there were plenty of doctors around,” she said.

Daniel’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, Rebecca, just after nine Wednesday morning. Michelle, whose due date was actually Christmas Eve, gave birth to a baby boy, Simon, 10 hours later.

“It’s a cute story,” Michelle admitted.

“Our doctor is very impressed. But I don’t think there’s anything mysterious about it. It’s really just chance.”

But recalling his strange dream, Daniel thinks it was more than just a coincidence.

“I’ve never had a connection like that with my twin sister before,” he said. “But this time, I must admit, there was definitely something going on.”

Officials at the Anna-Laberge Hospital confirmed nothing of the kind had ever happened in its 22 year history.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:04 AM   #30
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That's a really heartwarming story. I hate the fact that this man is homeless, though-it'd be great to do something to help fix that.
He's been getting monetary donations at the shelter-and the company that designs the wallets wants him to design one (he's an artist). The girl took him out to lunch and he actually wanted to pay, but she did.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:08 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, 07:24 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?’’

Why?

“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, 07:31 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.

Angela
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Old 12-27-2010, 07:32 PM   #34
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Thanks for reading all that I posted
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:08 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, 05:39 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, 05:44 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, 06:12 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, 09:51 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, 02:09 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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