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7 months ago · by · Comments Off on New Hampshire Pup Leads Police To Crash Scene

New Hampshire Pup Leads Police To Crash Scene

A New Hampshire pup is a real life hero after leading help to the crash site of her owner on a snowy stretch of I-89. On Jan. 3, 2022, highway drivers spotted a young Shiloh shepherd — thought at first to be a German shepherd — running loose on Veterans Memorial Bridge on I-89 near the New Hampshire-Vermont border. New Hampshire State Police responded to reports of a wandering dog on the highway at around 10 p.m.

Trooper Sandberg and other officers of the Lebanon Police Department made attempts to corral her and get close, but she kept running away. Tinsley, a 1-year-old Shiloh Shepherd, eventually led them to a damaged section of guardrail. Police saw a badly damaged overturned F350 pickup truck with two injured occupants nearby who had been ejected from the vehicle.

The officers called for medical assistance and found the two injured men to be suffering from hypothermia. It was then that they learned that the shepherd pup belonged to one of the injured occupants of the truck, Cameron Landry. Tinsley stood by her owner as officers assisted him and the passenger.

Public relations and community outreach officer Amber Lagace said the dog never tried to run away from the officers on scene but instead led them further up the road and over the bridge.
Laundry suffered minor injuries and was later released from the hospital. The other passenger, identified as Justin Connors, suffered more serious injuries and is still in the hospital. He has undergone two surgeries but is expected to recover. Unfortunately, Connors’ dog, a bulldog, was also riding in the truck with the two men and Tinsley. Sadly, the bulldog was struck on the interstate after the crash; its body was discovered the next morning.

Lt. Dan Baldassarre, commander of Troop D of the New Hampshire State Police said the incident is a real-life Lassie story. Baldassarre said. “It’s really quite remarkable. This dog definitely saved their lives. I don’t think they would have survived the night given the temperatures.” The New Hampshire State Police posted a long message on Facebook about the incident which included pictures from the scene of Tinsley and the totaled Ford F350 truck after the rollover crash. Laundry said after the crash, “She’s my little guardian angel. It’s a miracle how she has that kind of intelligence to do what she did.” For all her bravery, Tinsley was rewarded with a lot of back scratches and goodies including a venison dinner.

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7 months ago · by · Comments Off on Texas Family’s Light Display Raises Money for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Texas Family’s Light Display Raises Money for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A Texas family’s Christmas light display raised just over $80,000 for the Make-A-Wish foundation. Jordan Maywald has been in charge of his family’s Christmas decorations since he was nine. Jordan said the display started very small, just a few things in their front yard but over the years he expanded across much of our property and now it covers about 3.5 acres.

For the past seven years, the Maywalds have used their famous light display to raise money for Make-A-Wish Central and South Texas. The Maywald Christmas Light Display won on ABC’s The Great Christmas Light Fight in 2019. The family won $50,000 and expanded the display to include a snowman made out of truck tires, vintage-glass carolers, a specially-built lighthouse and a whole lot of decorations.

“At the time I was the youngest champion in the show’s history, and currently still am,” Jordan said. Each year, Jordan, now 23, has added more to the light display that has turned their Austin property into a holiday destination. This year, the bigger than ever display had over 200,000 Christmas lights and welcomed more than 15,000 visitors- raising more than $80,000 to fund 10 wishes. To date, the display has raised nearly $200,000 and granted 27 wishes.

Each time a wish is granted, Jordan adds a glass reindeer to the mix, all hovering above a Christmas light-filled “Wish Lake.” He prefers to build most of the displays himself and spends the months leading up to Christmas scouring the country for old décor via Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. The highlight of this past year’s spectacle was a 17-foot-tall fiberglass Santa Claus.

Jordan, a student at Texas A&M University said there was no doubt that Christmas is his favorite holiday. “Helping these children is what Christmas is all about for us. We will continue to put up our display yearly to help grant life changing wishes!” he added. The Maywald Christmas Light Display begins in November and lasts through New Year’s Eve. The entrance is free for the public to walk through the display with donations appreciated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. This year, the family’s goal was to raise $40,000.

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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on Michigan Pastor Wins USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Award

Michigan Pastor Wins USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Award

USA TODAY’s Best of Humankind Awards honor everyday people who have showcased the highest level of kindness, compassion, and perseverance in 2021. Each Humankind award celebrates an everyday person who is making a difference in their community. Winner of this award, Pastor Heather Boone, has shown a dedication to helping those who need it most in the Monroe community and her efforts are well-documented.

Boone moved to Monroe from Detroit and immediately went to work. She and her husband decided they wanted to stay in Monroe and start their own church, Oaks of Righteousness.
She made the Miracle on E. Second Street a reality by convincing the Detroit Archdiocese to sell her the historic St. Joseph Catholic Church at far below the asking price. It started as a homeless shelter and learning center known as Oaks Village.

She then further developed Oaks Village and formed a nonprofit grocery store, a clothes closet, soup kitchen, free childcare center and a free medical clinic. Her ministry serves as a village in the community. “I’m an unpaid pastor. We’re not a wealthy church and so we just wanted to change our community,” says Boone.

When the winner was announced, Boone was quick to point out none of it would be possible without the efforts of their volunteers. Boone, who lived in the homeless shelter for 2 years until they could afford to expand, said “There is no one road to homelessness. These are people just like you. We are all just a few paychecks away from being in this same predicament.”

When asked about winning the award Boone said “I mean it’s still surreal. When you think about it, across the whole United States, it’s all over the country. And so to be the person of the year… out of the whole country. It feels amazing.” But she says things are really just getting started. Next, Pastor Boone wants to build a tiny house village for those who are ready for permanent housing. This award puts her on the map, which is what she’s been praying for. “I had a lady call me from Chicago who saw it and she was asking me questions because she wants to do something similar in her community and that’s what we’re here for,” said Boone.

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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on Bronx Father Helping Feed the Homeless

Bronx Father Helping Feed the Homeless

Marty Rogers, from Bronx, NY, has been feeding the homeless for 44 years. And in those four decades, the dad from Bronx, New York, has organized a Thanksgiving dinner for those in need through his church, Immaculate Conception. Every year, his three kids help him serve up the holiday meal. He said even though they’re all grown now, he can count on them to return to the Bronx and help him each Thanksgiving.

Marty was inspired to do even more a few years ago. Marty came up with what are now called “Hope Walks.” A few times a year, Marty and volunteers from the church and school would get together to make sandwiches and then walk around their South Bronx neighborhood and ask people if they’d like some food. Marty and his group try to make each person feel comfortable, and they also ask each person their name.

When the pandemic hit and many things shut down, Marty decided to ramp up his efforts. “No one was out. Everyone was quarantining. But, who is out, is more and more people who are homeless,” he said. “Now, it’s staring us really in the face. And we had the conversation and we started going out once a week with our supplies, and then we said, ‘This has to be more.’ And we went three times a week.”

Each week, they pack up bags with homemade sandwiches, snacks and water. The supplies are bought with donations from the community, including donations from businesses. Volunteers for the walks include kids from Immaculate Conception. Each volunteer grabs a bag filled with sandwiches, cookies, water, and gloves, and walks the neighborhood to look for people who might be in need. The students witness people on the street looking out for their friends, at times leading the walkers to another person “who could use” a sandwich or a bottle of water that the group was giving out.

“Our neighborhood has a lot of people who are homeless. Some of the people are seniors, some of the people might have addiction issues. We don’t ask, it’s none of our business, it’s non judgemental.” Each person they encounter is gracious for the food and the prayer. Marty has gotten to know many people in the neighborhood and is happy it’s making an impact. Rogers said he hopes other parishes, schools and church organizations replicate what the Hope Walk is doing so more people can be helped.

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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on Ohio Siblings Donate Nearly 50,000 Toys to Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Ohio Siblings Donate Nearly 50,000 Toys to Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Two Ohio siblings have donated nearly 50,000 toys over the past six years to one of the largest pediatric hospitals in the country through their annual holiday toy drive. It all started when the Slaven siblings teamed up in 2015 with one mission: to help children who are in the hospital on Christmas. This holiday season, Tyler and Monica Slaven are hoping to bring another 11,500 toys for the children at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

The siblings began utilizing their school’s expansive network of students and staff to get volunteers and donations. The Ohio Virtual Academy, an online public school for K–12 students, serves more than 18,000 kids from across the state, according to Tyler Slaven. Tyler said “The school does a tremendous job of helping us get the word out every year and reach new people, since we are a statewide school.”

With the help of the students and faculty, the Slaven siblings would start placing toy donation boxes in different towns across the state. They also stop by droves of businesses that are “very eager” to help them out with monetary donations as well as donating actual toys. Every year, the Slavens collect donations until Dec. 10th and then they and their team of volunteers use the donations to buy toys at local stores.

In 2015, they were able to donate 800 toys to the hospital. One year later, that number more than doubled, amounting to 1,700 donations. In 2017, they donated 3,000 toys and in 2018 and 2019, the toy drive broke the hospital’s record for the single largest donation with 9,200 and 20,300 toys, respectively. Every year, the toys are packed in a U-Haul vehicle and various cars and taken directly to the children.

Not only do these toys bring holiday cheer to the children and their families, but they also take their focus off of being in the hospital, Tyler said. “Seeing a child who truly understands … the joy of Christmas is priceless.” Tyler said they just wanted to help the kids still have that joy, for those who are in the hospital during Christmas and it quickly became an annual drive. “Once you get on the hospital property, it is just phenomenal. They’re so friendly and welcoming … and spirited. It’s a true joy to be around” Slaven said.

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8 months ago · by · Comments Off on Brazilian Artist Turns Old Tires Into Pet Beds for Homeless Animals

Brazilian Artist Turns Old Tires Into Pet Beds for Homeless Animals

Brazilian artist, environmentalist, and animal lover Amarildo Silva Filho was inspired after coming across a pile of used tires in his neighborhood a few years ago. Where some saw trash, Silva Filho saw an opportunity for upcycling treasure that wound up making a world of difference to stray cats and dogs.

He collects the tires he uses from unused lots, the side of the road, or waste disposal areas. These are cleaned thoroughly, cut into the right shape, and then Silva Filho puts his artistic and artisanal skills to use to create cozy, vibrantly painted, personalized animal beds. Once the custom paint jobs are complete, with the addition of hand-sewn mattresses, the colorful comfy cots are ready to be distributed to local shelters.

Silva Filho’s recycled pet beds became so popular, a niche market of eco-conscious pet owners sprang up as well. To meet the growing demand, he launched Caminhas Pets and has since created more than 6,000 hand-crafted beds in the two years of his operations. While retail sales have helped sustain his efforts, the majority of Silva Filho’s creations have gone to animals in need.

He’s even branched out to create potted plant holders from tires and play areas for kids. There’s a lot that can be done with upcycled tires, as far as Silva Filho is concerned. He’s certainly showing us that when a good idea stems from a good place, almost anything can be achieved. Silva says he intends to help as many animals as he can and he believes that the only way to do a great job is to love what you do.

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9 months ago · by · Comments Off on GoFundMe for Kevin Strickland Raises Over $1.6 Million

GoFundMe for Kevin Strickland Raises Over $1.6 Million

A GoFundMe set up for Kevin Strickland, the Missouri man freed after serving 43 years in prison for a triple murder he did not commit, has raised over $1.6 million dollars. Missouri law states that only DNA evidence can lead to someone wrongfully imprisoned receiving $50 per day of post-conviction confinement but Kevin Strickland was not freed through DNA evidence so a GoFundMe was launched.

Strickland was sent to prison in 1979 but has maintained his innocence for four decades stating he was home watching television at the time. No physical evidence ever linked him to the crime scene and Cynthia Douglas, the sole witness to the crime, said detectives pressured her to pick Strickland out of a lineup. Two suspects, Kim Adkins and Vincent Bell, were later arrested. Bell was a childhood friend of Strickland’s, and lived at a house nearby. Police found a fingerprint belonging to Strickland on Bell’s car; Strickland says this was because he had driven the car before, but the last time he had seen Adkins and Bell was at 5 or 6 p.m. on the night of the murders. Both Adkins and Bell confessed to the murders and said Strickland was not involved.

Cynthia Douglas attempted several times to recant her testimony before her death in 2015. In 2009, she emailed the Midwest Innocence Project, saying, “I am seeking info on how to help someone that was wrongfully accused. I was the only eyewitness and things were not clear back then, but now I know more and would like to help this person if I can.” Douglas said police told her, “Just pick Strickland out of the lineup and we’ll be done, it will all go away, you can go on and you don’t have to worry about these guys no more.”

The Kansas City Star did an investigation into Strickland’s case in September 2020 which prompted prosecutors to review the case. Former prosecutors in Strickland’s case then said they thought he was innocent as well, along with federal prosecutors for the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, the Mayor of Kansas City Quinton Lucas and more than a dozen state lawmakers.

On November 23, 2021, Judge James Welsh overturned Strickland’s conviction “since it was not based on physical evidence but on eye-witness testimony, who later recanted her account”. Strickland was released on the same day and exonerated after more than 42 years in prison, making his case the longest confirmed wrongful-conviction case in Missouri’s history.

Strickland, now 62 and confined to a wheelchair, said the first thing he did when released was visit his mother’s grave, who passed away in August 2021. Strickland said he plans to find a place to live where he can be alone, have some pets and make arrangements to try to unite his family who he says are spread out in Florida, California and Michigan. “I’d like to spend my final days trying to get everybody together and have a big family get-together where we all get together and see who’s who.”

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Virginia-Based Driving Rehabilitation Program Helps Wounded Warriors Get Back On The Road

Virginia-Based Driving Rehabilitation Program Helps Wounded Warriors Get Back On The Road

A veteran who was severely injured in Afghanistan teamed up with his occupational therapist and driving rehab specialist to help people with disabilities get back into the driver’s seat. Marine veteran Josh Himan and Tammy Phipps developed the Driver Rehabilitation Center of Excellence (DRCE) in 2016. DRCE is the first driving rehabilitation program offering a full suite of services aimed at helping people who are either injured or physically challenged get back behind the wheel.

The pair first met at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, where Phipps had developed the first and only driver rehab program in the Department of Defense. Himan, one of her patients, was left paralyzed from the waist down after his vehicle drove over an IED during the last month of his deployment in 2009.

Himan said “During my time in the hospital, you know, one of their things was, what can I do back in society again? They told me that I had the ability to drive…but the problem was trying to put the whole package together.” He recalled thinking: “OK, so I have the capability of driving. But how do I find the type of vehicle? How do I know about all the things that are available for people with my disability to drive?”

Himan said trying to figure out the Veteran Affairs paperwork proved to be very distressing so he called Phipps for help in 2013. He said she helped him with the entire process, including the paperwork and actually got him driving back on the road. Phipps recalled getting multiple calls from veterans that had just transitioned into veteran status across the nation and needed help but didn’t have the right customized vehicle or resources to find one. Part of the problem is there are only around 400 occupational therapists that do driving rehabilitation and that number gets smaller and smaller, the more complex the cases become.

Himan said being able to drive again was a life changing moment for him and he knew that people like him were all over the world. The two decided to address the huge gap in services for veterans and for all people with disabilities in the area. Based in Fairfax County, Virginia, DRCE offers a full suite of services. DRCE staff will evaluate a driver and help them find auto-adaptive equipment that’s best suited to their unique needs. They will properly install the equipment for the driver and, through their driving rehabilitation programs, will get them comfortably back on the road. Veterans are not the only ones benefiting from these services, over the past five years, DRCE has helped hundreds of people who are severely injured get back out on the road and transition back into the world of mobility.

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Community Comes Together to Get Neighborhood Handyman’s Roof Replaced

Community Comes Together to Get Neighborhood Handyman’s Roof Replaced

For decades, James “Mac” McWhorter of Waco, TX has been working on the homes of his neighbors as a handyman so when it came time for his house to receive some TLC, they were ready to return the favor. McWhorter, a veteran, started doing odd jobs here and there, and as word spread that he did good work, he became the trusted neighborhood handyman.

Neighbor Carmen Merritt said no job was too big or too small and anything you needed, he could do. McWhorter was so busy helping others take care of their houses that his own home was falling into disrepair. Merritt noticed he needed a new roof and said knew she had to do something. “This is not OK. He has helped me with so much and I didn’t feel right just going back inside and doing nothing,” Merritt said. She reached out to neighbors on the NextDoor app about ways to assist McWhorter. “Almost immediately there were people offering to donate,” Merritt said.

Eighty-seven year old neighbor Millie Woods, an interior designer who owns MLW Real Estate Holdings took the lead on the project. Woods said she got involved because he was known to make some repairs for poor people without charging the going rate. He was just a good man and has been robbed of those skills because he has dementia. She asked one of her contractors if he would be willing to take a look at the house and volunteer one Saturday to fix it.

What she thought would be a simple roof repair turned out to be a lot more. Donations for repairs started pouring in after the initial post in early May and neighbors also raised enough money for a year of pest control. In addition, Clayton Homes is donating all the shingles and Lowe’s is furnishing the rest of the materials. Woods made sure McWhorter was able to enjoy the experience without doing any work. “The thing about Mac, twice I had to stop him from getting on a ladder to get up on that roof,” Woods said. “I said, ‘Mac, you can’t help with this job, you don’t need to do this anymore. This is something that you deserve because you’ve done this for other people for so many years and you need it and now it’s your turn.”

McWhorter said he’s grateful for the unexpected blessing. “It shows me that there are still those kinds of people that are willing to help others,” McWhorter said. Woods, who’s done a lot for military veterans in the past, said no one who served should have to live with a roof in the state of McWhorter’s. “We don’t want anyone to live that way, but our veterans that served our country need better care than that and we are blessed to have found out about him and it’s an opportunity for us to give something back,” Woods said.

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10 months ago · by · Comments Off on Parents Magazine Names America’s Kindest Family

Parents Magazine Names America’s Kindest Family

Parents magazine held a contest that began last April looking for the kindest family in America as a way to inspire “families to continue to do good and to share their stories.” The winners of the America’s Kindest Families contest are the Barrons’ family. Luke and Holly Barrón, who live in Oklahoma, lost their 8-year-old son, Keaton, to acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2018. Ever since, the couple and their children, Reid, 7, Holden, 5, and Conley, 2, have worked tirelessly to continue Keaton’s legacy by helping others through their foundation, the K Club.

Towards the end of his life, Keaton was visited by a volunteer at the hospital named Kay and the two started the K Club. The foundation, which was Keaton’s idea, primarily helps children fighting cancer and their families. It is also committed to doing random acts of kindness. While in the hospital, founding member Keaton wrote that the club’s mission is “to be kind to others, be courageous, compassionate, and caring.”

The club raised money by selling clubhouse dues for just $1 and has grown to have a significant impact on the lives of countless families. The K Club helps kids with cancer and their families by throwing several fundraisers a year, including a golf tournament and a Christmas celebration where they sell baked goods. The club also makes K Packs that allow parents to remember the children they’ve lost to a terminal illness. They include recordings of the child’s voice and artwork.

The K Club also collects diapers, wipes, and clothes for a pregnancy resource center, makes hygiene packs for those experiencing homelessness, and donates funds to build wells in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Holly and Luke have also created “K Cares” to help pay for funerals. The list of good deeds goes on and on.

“Even though he lived a life of suffering, he looked out for other people first, that was Keaton.
It’s an honor to provide a tiny bit of hope or peace in the most unimaginable time in a family’s life. We feel for every parent who may lose a child and will do anything we can to be there for them” Holly said.

Every month, the Barrons host a party at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, where Keaton was treated. Marie Janne Lopez, who nominated the Barrons for America’s Kindest Family, recalled how Keaton would often choose a toy for his younger sibling instead of himself. “He realized his brother’s life had been turned upside down by his treatment. How many 6-year-olds do that kind of thing?” Lopez asked.

The Barróns think that the K Club is a great way for Keaton’s younger brothers to keep his spirit alive. “I think Keaton would be pleased with it all, but I don’t think he’d be like, ‘Whoa, this is unbelievable!'” Holly said. “I think he’d just say, ‘Yeah, this is what I’d planned. Good job.'”

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