Good people are everywhere. In the past week, we may not have noticed them as they quietly went about the business of helping others, for chaos and drama were much more at the forefront. But the good people were still there …
Scott Rudes is the principal of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, Texas. The school, like all others in the U.S., closed in mid-March as a result of the coronavirus, and like every other school in the nation, its students missed out on the rites of passage otherwise known as ‘graduation’.
Dr. Rudes, however, found a way to make graduation special for the 249 seniors graduating from his school. While other schools have held online ceremonies, Dr. Rudes wanted it to be more personal for his students, so he hopped in his pickup and spent the next 10 days driving 1,500 miles to personally present each student with a diploma!
“When I get to the house, we’re all masked up and we’re all sanitized, and I bring them their diploma cover and we have an opportunity to take a socially distanced picture. Many of the places that I’ve shown up to, it’s been a mini-graduation ceremony with the red carpet and the backdrop and everything. Even though we’re going through extraordinary times right now, they are extraordinary people and they’re worth this effort.”
“Whatever presents in life, find the opportunity with that and run with it. That’s one of the things I think we do best at a school like ours with artists, to teach them to view the world from multiple perspectives and to be creative and expressive. I think that’s what gets them through the hard times.”
Two thumbs up 👍👍 to Dr. Scott Rudes for giving the gift of time … for caring.
I first became aware of Captain Thomas Moore a month or so ago, and considered him for a ‘good people’ post back then, but for some reason that I cannot remember, he didn’t quite make the cut that week, and by the next week I had forgotten Captain Tom. But this week when he came back onto my radar, I knew I had to include him.
Captain Tom, is a former British Army officer who served in India, the Burma campaign, and Sumatra during the Second World War, and later became an instructor in armoured warfare. After the war, he worked as managing director of a concrete company and was an avid motorcycle racer.
On April 6th of this year, at the age of 99, he began to walk laps in his garden to raise money to aid the NHS Charities Together (NHS is the National Health Service in the UK), with the goal of raising £1,000 by his hundredth birthday on April 30th. In the 24-day course of his fundraising he made many media appearances and became a popular household name in the United Kingdom, generating much interest in his life story, earning a number of accolades and attracting over 1.5 million individual donations. He featured in a cover version of the song You’ll Never Walk Alone, with proceeds going to the same charity. The single topped the UK music charts and made him the oldest person to achieve a UK number one!While Captain Tom started with the modest goal of raising £1,000, he far surpassed that goal! On the morning of his hundredth birthday the total raised by his walk passed £30 million, and by the time the campaign closed at the end of that day had increased to over £32.79 million, or about $41.2 million USD! More than 1 million people from around the world signed a petition to have him knighted—but despite all the appreciation and praise, Moore remained humble during his birthday celebration with the press and requested that they end the event with a round of applause for healthcare workers. Thanks to a special nomination from Prime Minister Boris Johnson which was approved by Queen Elizabeth II this week, however, the veteran’s official new title is Captain Sir Thomas Moore.
100 years old and giving his all to help others … now THAT’S what I call a good people!
I’d like you to meet former bartender Doc Hendley …Now, back in 2009 Doc was one of the CNN Heroes of the Year for his work starting a non-profit, Wine to Water, to provide clean water and sanitation to communities around the world. I may feature him and Wine to Water in a future ‘good people’ post, but today Doc is on my radar for another reason.
When restaurants across the country closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, thousands of service industry workers suddenly lost their jobs. As many of them found themselves struggling to make ends meet, Doc wanted to do something to help.
“It was devastating for the service industry community … People were scrounging, trying to file for unemployment, trying to figure out how are they going to make their rent payment.”
Hendley and his team of volunteers started putting together care packages in his hometown of Boone, North Carolina. The group distributes the packages, which are filled with 40 meals and other household necessities, to laid off restaurant workers throughout the state. Even as restaurants across the country start to reopen, Hendley knows it will be crucial for his box program to continue.
“The problem is that revenue will still struggle for a lot of these places and many workers will still be out of the job since businesses will be trying to run extra lean. A lot of those workers are living paycheck to paycheck, or trying to pay their way through school, or a single mom trying to take care of kids.”
The boxes include fresh fruits and vegetables, coffee, fresh baked bread, and toilet paper, among other food and hygiene items. Since March, his organization has already given out more than 72,000 meals.But that’s not all! His non-profit Wine to Water has risen to the challenge of the pandemic as well. When the epidemic broke out, the organization’s water filter factories around the world began mass producing portable hand washing stations, which are placed in heavily trafficked areas such as police stations, health care clinics, and larger hospitals.
“It’s been so inspiring to see how many people have gotten behind and supported our programs around the world. When the sun does come out after the storm’s over, I think that we as a people are going to come through this stronger and more together than we’ve ever been.”
This guy deserves a medal of honour in my book!
I end with a bit of a lump in my throat … it felt soooooo much better to write about these people than the people and situations I’ve been writing about for the past week. I hope this week’s good people raised your spirits just a bit, as they did mine.