It’s been a rough couple of weeks … 2 hurricanes slammed the continental U.S., another even stronger one devastated the archipelago of Puerto Rico. Four major earthquakes have hit Mexico so far this month. Political upheaval and controversy reigned, not only here in the U.S. but around the globe. We all need to look to something positive, look at those people who thumb their noses at trouble and just roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of helping others. Today’s ‘good people’ are those who take the meaning of the word ‘community’ seriously, who believe that we are all in this together and we need to set aside differences to help one another.
Julius Hatley is 95-years-young, a World War II veteran, and lives alone in Ft. Worth, Texas. At the beginning of summer, back in June, Mr. Hatley’s central air-conditioning as well as a smaller window unit both went caput, so Mr. Hatley took to sitting out on his porch most of the time, for inside the house was unbearable. Finally, one day Mr. Hatley knew he had to do something … summer was only beginning and he was already miserable. But what to do? So, the only thing he could think of was to call 911, which is what he did.
“This wasn’t a regular 911 call,” according to Fort Worth Police Officer William Margolis. “It was what you’d label ‘low priority’ because we’re not AC techs.” I have to wonder if many police departments would have just written it off as a ‘no-priority’ call? But not these guys. Officer Margolis and his partner, Christopher Weir, after responding to a few higher priority calls that morning, went to check on Mr. Hatley. They found that he had no working air-conditioner, and at 8:30 a.m., the temperature inside his house was already 85° (F), 29.4° (C).
Now these guys were under no obligation, but out of the goodness of their hearts, they went to Home Depot to buy Mr. Hatley a window unit to replace his broken one. And, just as these things so often do, their effort gained momentum when they explained to the staff at Home Depot what they were doing. Staff and management pooled their available cash and contributed $150 toward the air conditioner!
Later that day, Officer Weir returned to Hatley’s home with another Ft. Worth Officer, Steven Rebrovich, and they installed the unit. Mr. Hatley was appreciative and excited beyond words, but the story doesn’t stop there. Once the story hit the news, the community came together in the spirit of … community! An air conditioning company replaced his central air free of charge, and others took care of replacing his windows and re-painting his house! Other members of the community check on Mr. Hatley and deliver groceries every week! This, friends, is what being a community is about. This is what being a human is all about. Let us all give two thumbs up to Officers Weir and Margolis, certainly, but to ALL those who have come to help Mr. Hatley! And a thumbs up to Mr. Hatley himself for his service to our nation all those years ago.
In the small eastern Turkish town of Karakocan, nobody goes hungry. The Merkez Restaurant is just one of many in town that feeds people who need a meal, free of charge. Mehmet Ozturk, 55, the owner of Merkez, says he always keeps at least three tables reserved for the needy, even during rush hour when his restaurant is packed.
Ozturk says at least 15 people come to his restaurant every day to receive a free meal. According to residents, around 100 people eat for free each day across the whole town. The tradition to feed the needy for free first started in the 1940s at the Merkez Restaurant, one of the first eateries in town, when the former owners started offering free meals to those in need every day. The practice was quickly picked up by other restaurants in the area. Ozturk says: “The tradition has always been here, even 70 years ago. For us it was a natural thing to do, something we learned from our elders.”
There are about five large restaurants in the quaint but surprisingly vibrant town centre, and each one honours the philanthropic tradition. Individuals receiving free food tend to be regulars, familiar faces who visit the restaurant to have at least two meals a day. Ozturk says that a large margin of the regular diners suffer from disabilities, such as mental illness, such as regular Galip who says, “The Merkez is my favourite place in town, because the food is great.“
The generosity goes beyond feeding those in need, as restaurants also offer feasts for free for the whole town on Islamic holidays including Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha and throughout the holy month of Ramadan. Again, we see what community is really about. Hats off to the restauranteurs of Karakocan, Turkey for taking care of the less fortunate!
And then there’s Gothenburg, Sweden. Gothenburg is the 2nd largest city in Sweden, with about 600,000 residents. The city is one of the most segregated in Europe and is dependent on the fossil industry, and yet it was voted the world’s “most sociable city.” How can that be, you ask? Through a series of community initiatives that promote sharing and collaboration, the city is turning things around.
Just a few of these initiatives are ,,,
Collaborative Economy Gothenburg, a non-profit promoting the collaborative economy in the city through projects and events like Global Sharing Week.
Bike Kitchen, an open do-it-yourself workshop where people can repair their bikes with access to tools, space, and assistance from others. They also hold workshops where people can learn to repair bikes.
The nonprofit ridesharing movement Skjutsgruppen, where private individuals can bridge both physical distances and distances between each other as human beings by sharing vehicles.
These are just three of the twelve initiatives this community has created to overcome the obstacles the city, like any other city, faces, and I strongly urge you to take a look at the entire list … there are some terrific ideas there! It just goes to show that when people pull together, when they put aside meaningless differences, they can do marvelous things!
Mexico first experienced an earthquake of 8.1 on September 8th, and another of 7.1 on September 19th. The one in Oaxaca on the 8th was the strongest in living memory and the death toll quickly rose. Rescuers were on the scene quickly, and one seven-year-old named Frida is responsible for helping find people amid the rubble. Oh, did I happen to mention that Frida is a Labrador retriever employed by the Mexican Navy?
When the second quake hit Mexico City just over a week later, Frida was once again on the job. Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto formally recognised the labrador’s determination and bravery on Twitter on Friday morning …
“This is Frida. She belongs to SEMAR and has helped save 52 lives in various natural disasters at national and international levels.”
Yes, I know … the title of this post is Good People Doing Good Things … but this dog gave her all, and I think she deserves a bit of recognition also. And now, Frida has been immortalized as a piñata!
I hope you enjoyed today’s good people (and dog). Isn’t it great to read about people pulling together, putting aside differences in the true spirit of ‘community’? I think every city could take a lesson from Gothenburg, don’t you? Until next Wednesday, my friends, lets all try to do something good for somebody this week. Love and hugs!