Well, it’s the last ‘good people’ post of 2020, and I’ve got a great bunch for you to wrap up this otherwise chaotic year!
One homeless man … a ton of courage
Keith Walker is a 53-year-old homeless man in Atlanta, Georgia. On December 18th, he was near the W-Underdogs animal shelter when he realized that the building was engulfed in flames. Walker is an animal lover, his own dog Bravo being the only constant in his life. He did what many of us would not have done … he rushed into that building and saved every single animal there!
“I was nervous as hell, I’m not going to lie. I was really scared to go in there with all that smoke. But God put me there to save those animals. If you love a dog, you can love anyone in the world. My dog is my best friend, and I wouldn’t be here without him, so I knew I had to save all those other dogs.”
Says the shelter’s founder, Gracie Hamlin …
“He is my guardian angel. Even the firefighters didn’t want to handle the dogs. They called animal control, but Keith was already in the building pulling out the cats and dogs until they were all safe.”
Great job, Mr. Walker … a two-thumbs-up for him! But the story doesn’t quite end there.
As word of Walker’s bravery spread, a GoFundMe campaign was launched to make life a little more certain for “The Atlanta Animal Shelter Hero” and his sidekick, Bravo. So far, more than $52,000 has been raised. Mr. Walker has been homeless for many years, and the campaign’s founder has vowed that all monies taken in will be put toward making a better future for the man who risked his own life to save the lives of helpless animals. In the words of one donor …
“…Mr. Walker, you’re an extraordinary gentleman, risking life and limb to save not only dogs, but the cats in the shelter as well, which would have been far more difficult. I can’t wait to see you on the news in a fresh apartment with a new start. You’ve earned it, man.”
I second that.
Retired and busier than ever
John Hobson is a 93-year-old retired Air Force Colonel who likes to stay busy. This year, Hobson occupied himself by handcrafting close to 100 walking sticks, the proceeds of which he donated to a local Ohio charity outreach group, the Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry.
To sell his wares, Hobson set up a roadside stand in his front yard. The price was beyond reasonable: $3.00 each, or a food pantry donation. Not surprisingly, the senior whittling-wonder was sold out in just a few days, having earned about $600. Wanting to do more, Hobson and his family set up a GoFundMe page which has since raised $9,565 in cash for the Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry. All told, donations from the sale of the walking sticks, the GoFundMe campaign, and additional donations made in Hobson’s name total close to $16,000.
“We have been told by the pantry that a $1 donation generates five pounds of food. That means that we have helped the pantry be able to distribute about 40 tons of food to the Xenia community! What a massive blessing to those in need during this very difficult time.” – Mr. Hobson’s granddaughter, Jenny Denen.
Hobson says knowing that he’s still able to help others in need in a meaningful way just makes him feel good. Oh, if only everyone in the world felt that way, what a wonderful world we could live in!
Jumping right in there … again … and again
You may remember a few days before Christmas when I told you about the trials and tribulations in the UK , and how France was not allowing trucks to enter from the UK and trucks were backed up for miles. Some 1,500 truckers were stranded just a few days before Christmas.
Well, a group of Sikh volunteers put their heads and hands together and handed out thousands of meals to stranded truckers in Kent. Members of Khalsa Aid International dished out 1,000 pizzas and 1,500 bowls of curry and pasta to truck drivers in the days running up to Christmas.
But within hours of leaving the location on the M20 on Christmas night they got a call from flood-ravaged Bedfordshire—and set off the very next day. They sourced four tons of sand and set about filling and distributing 1,000 sandbags by the end of the day.
Says Indy Narwal, a senior volunteer at the Slough-based aid group …
“Sikhs are very giving people, and after such a bad year, we want to do all we can to help. If they need more help in the future, we’ll be back.”
No big deal … it’s only a kidney
Skully White owns a gourmet hotdog stand, Lullys Food Experience, in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Tim Hiscock has been a regular customer at Lullys for several years now, but until last year, Skully did not even know Tim’s name. That all changed late last year when Tim’s wife called Skully …
“He was a customer for almost three years before I knew his name. One day his wife called me up and said he had some medical issues and I wasn’t supposed to feed him without her permission.”
Hiscock’s issues became a crisis in May 2019 when his diabetes led to advanced kidney failure. Late last year, it was determined that Tim would need a new kidney, and when Skully heard the news, he immediately volunteered to donate one of his.
These things, of course, take time. Turned out that White was a match and could donate a kidney to Mr. Hiscock, but complications arose, and then came the pandemic. Long story short, the transplant took place on December 14th and both gentlemen are doing well, though White is chafing at the restriction on lifting anything over 10 pounds for three months!
When asked why he would donate a body part to a near stranger, Skully replies …
“It’s such an easy thing. It shouldn’t scare anyone … You have two kidneys and by the time you die, you won’t even have used half of one. People live all the time with one kidney.”
On Lullys’ Facebook page, the hotdog stand says it now offering free foot-longs for life to anyone who follows in White’s footsteps. White hopes the campaign will convince others to give a kidney to save a life.
Toys, toys, toys!
Mike and Judy Sullivan, both retired, recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary! When Mike, a 72-year-old, 26-year army vet retired, he and Judy signed up for a woodworking club. It started as a hobby, but after witnessing the yuletide happiness their handmade playthings brought local families, it became their new vocation. Seven years on, the pair continues to churn out toys at a pace that would give Santa’s elves a run for their money.
This year, the pandemic meant many families didn’t have funds to cover non-essentials, which made the Sullivans’ mission more important than ever. Mike and Judy embraced the challenge, creating and distributing close to 1,400 toys that included animal figures, puzzles, and trucks, to name just a few.
The Sullivans’ toys made their way to a local kindergarten class, Coachella Valley Rescue Mission, a food pantry, and other charitable organizations—all of them free of charge (including postage for items sent out of state as far as Indiana and Texas).
Mike and Judy say they plan to continue making toys as long as they’re able.
“We’re both in good health and are able to be out here six to seven days a week for eight to 10 hours. It’s so much fun, it feels like home here in the shop working things out.”
Yes, my friends, there really are good people out there doing things to help others every single day. You don’t have to even look very far … in fact, some of you I know could just walk into the bathroom and look in the mirror to see a ‘good people’.