Good People Doing Good Things — Big & Little

Guess what I found?  I found good people!

Generosity times 100 …

Alec Sprague lives in Jacksonville, Florida.  A few days ago, he went to his local Costco store to buy a generator, and I imagine his jaw dropped when he saw a man buying not one, not two, but 100 generators!  At $450 each, that is no small feat!  About $45,000 by my reckoning … one could buy a brand new car for that and still have money left over!

Now, I don’t think Alec got the man’s name, but he did speak to him and found that the man was buying not only 100 generators, but also a large stash of food to send to the Bahamas for those who, in the wake of Hurricane Dorian last week, are left without electricity or supplies, many without homes.  Add to that $45,000 tab another $4,285.70 for a variety of non-perishable food such as peas, beans, coffee, salt, pepper and other essentials.  What a kind and generous act!  This, folks, is humanitarianism at its finest!

One good deed leads to … six!

dominoesYou all know how dominoes work, right?  You knock the first one over and all the rest fall one-by-one.  Well, this story reminds me of dominoes, for one person’s good deed led to another and another and pretty soon, what started as one good deed ended up saving six lives and bringing twelve people together in a bond that … well, see for yourself.  This story, by the way, came to me courtesy of Scott Lawlor, aka sklawlor … thank you, Scott!


Brendan Flaherty


It happened last year at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Brendan Flaherty was born with Denys-Drash Syndrome resulting in unhealthy kidneys, and before he was even 2, he needed a kidney transplant. At 15 months old, he received a kidney donation from his father.  But for the past six years, Flaherty, now 21, has been on dialysis—hooked up to a machine for some six hours a night, and now he desperately needed a second kidney transplant to save his life.

Brendan’s best friend, Philip Cameli, graciously offered to donate one of his own kidneys to Flaherty. However, the process wouldn’t be that simple, and unfortunately, Cameli and Flaherty did not have a compatible tissue match.  According to Flaherty …

“Any time you hear that it’s always disappointing, but I’ve heard so many of those. We kind of just expected it.”


Kimberly Cooper

That’s when—out of the blue—a brave, compassionate woman named Kimberly Cooper stepped up.  One day Cooper simply walked into Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and announced she wanted to donate a kidney. She didn’t have a family member or friend to donate to, but she was determined to help someone who needed a kidney.  Turned out that she was a match for Brendan, and he received Cooper’s kidney on February 18th 2018.

Now, Brendan’s friend Philip Cameli was all prepared to donate his kidney, and the fact that Brendan couldn’t use it was not going to deter this young man.  Through Northwestern’s swap program, a match was found for Cameli’s kidney, and he donated his to Clotilde Ruiz.  Clotilde’s daughter, Daisy, had hoped to donate a kidney to her mum, but since she wasn’t a match, she instead donated her kidney to another person on Northwestern’s list, Scott Rial!  You see what I mean about the domino thing?

The momentum kept up the pace and three other donors also successfully donated kidneys to three recipients.  And all this happened within one short week, back in February 2018.  Later that month, the donors and patients finally met each other, culminating in an extraordinary string of organ transplants that Northwestern Memorial Hospital is calling “The Twelve Person Kidney Exchange.”chartThough most of these people were strangers, they forged a fast and unique bond.  I have always said that the most important thing we can give to others is to give of ourselves, but when I said it, I was thinking of our time.  This … this is truly an example of ‘giving of yourself’, don’t you think?

No act too small …

On a somewhat smaller scale, but pure goodness nonetheless, we have Kim Colvin.  Kim’s two sons had grown and left home to start their own families, careers, etc., and Kim led a busy life with job, friends, hobbies and such.  Rarely did she cook just for herself, but rather lived on sandwiches, frozen dinners, or take out.

But one day, Kim had a craving for a home-cooked meal … I think we can all relate to that.  So, she got to work in the kitchen.  She made roast beef with a veggie medley.  She made macaroni and cheese, she made green beans, she grilled corn, and then she made corn muffins.  Remember, Kim lives alone!

After Colvin had her dinner, she went to pack up the leftovers.

Staring at all the food she made, she knew she wouldn’t finish it before it all went bad. She might have it for dinner the next day and the next, but then what?  She didn’t want to end up throwing it all away … and then, she had an idea.  There is a park near her house, and she has seen people under the gazebo, begging for change or needing a place to stay.

She started to make a plate of food, and then another, and she soon found she had enough leftovers to make 11 plates. It was already getting late, so she rushed over the park—it couldn’t have taken much more than 15 minutes, she remembered. It was just supposed to be a quick errand to run before it got dark.

She got to the park and immediately saw a man sitting on the steps. She offered him a plate, and he took it. She kept walking around the park toward the gazebo, and as she turned the corner she saw a woman on her knees praying, with three children beside her.  She did not know it at the time, but the woman had just lost everything—she had no money, had nowhere to go, and she didn’t know how she would provide for her three children that night.

Colvin gave the lady the rest of the food she had prepared, and determined to cook something again the next night to bring back.

“This could be me, this could be us. How many of these people was once us? Like they were once able and now they’re not.  Just consider it when you’re done with your meal—if it fixes one plate, two plates…”

Kim-ColvinAgain … not a huge thing, but … I bet to the woman and her three children it was.

And one other small act of kindness by a young person …

Stephanie Rogers said she was driving her daughter, Skyler Smith, after school last Wednesday, when they spotted a very small girl, a first-grader as it turned out, walking along the road on her way home from school on a busy street with no sidewalks.  Young Skyler said to her mum …

“Stop the car. I’m going to walk with her.”

And that is just what she did.  Turned out, there was a mix-up at the school, and they were to have put her on the bus, but somehow the wires got crossed and the child was released to walk home.  I give two thumbs up to Skyler for caring so much.  The best time to start being a good people, I think, is when you’re a little people, and by the time you’re a big people, it’s just a habit.

Remember, folks … there are good people out there … lots of them!  We can all find ways to be good people … small, simple things might mean a lot to someone in need.

Good People Doing Good Things — Saving Critters

Today’s good people post is a little different than the usual fare.  Typically, I seek out people helping other people, but today I want to focus on a couple of people helping non-human critters, for their lives are important too.

Chella Phillips lives in the Bahamas, where Hurricane Dorian left a trail of devastation this past weekend.  She also runs a refuge for homeless dogs, called The Voiceless Dogs of Nassau, Bahamas.  On this day, her refuge celebrated its fourth anniversary, and in that time she has taken in some 1,000 dogs and found homes for them.  But on Sunday, Ms. Phillips home became an extension of the refuge.chella-phillips.jpgHurricane Dorian was beginning to hit the island and there were dogs everywhere, some abandoned by owners fleeing the island, some were strays, but all were definitely in harm’s way.  And that’s when Chella Phillips stepped in and did what not many people would do.  She took the dogs home with her … 97 of them!pups-1No, Ms. Phillips doesn’t live in a mansion, but just an ordinary house.  Here’s what she posted on her Facebook page …

“97 dogs are inside my house and 79 of them are inside my master bedroom.

It has been insane since last night …

I managed to bring some less fortunate ones and I really appreciate some of you donating for crates.. I really needed it for the scared ones and the sick ones. so Thank you!

Coincidently, today is the Fourth anniversary since the refuge opened its doors to homeless and abandoned dogs and we have cared for nearly 1,000 of them which we are very proud that we managed to give them hope so they could all be happy at last.

Please pray for the Bahamas!”

pups-2And then, on Monday she posted …

“We are alright after a stressful night were we flooded bad inside the refuge, not even 3 pumps could contain the rain from washing us inside and after an hour all 3 pumps reheated and burned down and we have been outside with buckets fighting a losing battle..

All services are down, all TVs are fried from the lightnings so no more cartoons for the sick dogs until we can purchase new ones.

Thank you for the outpouring support and heartfelt prayers from so many people that don’t even know us, my post from yesterday went viral and total strangers are reaching out to us giving us the exposure that we need so bad..

Thank you!”

I give two thumbs up to this kind, caring woman for her dedication to these dogs who likely would not have survived the night of devastation. 👍👍

I would like you to meet Dr. Amir Khalil.

Gaza Lion Cubs Rescue 2015

Dr. Khalil speaks quickly in a voice laced with various accents. Born in Egypt, he has lived in Vienna for the past 27 years and has a Bulgarian wife. He speaks six languages, including Coptic Egyptian.  But none of that is what gave him a spot in this good people post.  Dr. Khalil is a veterinarian who has dedicated much of the last 25 years of his life to rescuing animals from crisis zones in places like Iraq, Sudan’s Darfur region and Bosnia, and creating sanctuaries around the globe for the rescued animals.  He has calmed traumatized bears from Syria and vaccinated thousands of stray dogs in Myanmar. The work can come at personal risk: In Kosovo, he had a pistol held to his head. In Kenya, gunmen shot up his car.

Dr. Khalil has worked for Four Paws International, a Vienna-based animal welfare charity, for 25 years.  Most recently, his mission was to rescue 47 animals — including lions, wolves, baboons and ostriches — from a struggling zoo in the city of Rafah, in the Gaza Strip.amir-khalil-2This was his Khalil’s fifth assignment in Gaza, which is controlled by the militant Islamist group Hamas and blockaded by its neighbors, Israel and Egypt. He had already evacuated two other Gaza zoos in 2014 and 2016. But this rescue would be his biggest.

“We go to places where the logic doesn’t exist. The government doesn’t exist. No one cares. And where no one will believe you are coming to save animals. You see everyone escaping from a city like Mosul, going out. Thousands and thousands. And you are the only car going the other way around. You are going inside.”

Against this backdrop of conflict, Khalil brokered a deal with authorities from Jordan, Israel and Hamas so he could move into Gaza, shut down the Rafah zoo and evacuate the animals.  It was no easy task.  Long story short, he was challenged at the border … twice.  He was threatened, told to leave, denied entry to the area where the animals were in captivity, some dying of neglect and starvation.  But, he persevered and ultimately, Khalil and his rescue team crossed to safety with the animals into Israel.  The story of this rescue is fascinating, but a bit long for this post, but you can read it on NPR.lion-cubsSince the rescue, several of the animals, including three porcupines, three pelicans, two foxes and an ostrich, have been released into the wild in Jordan. The lions, including a declawed lioness, and baboons are living in wildlife sanctuaries in Jordan and South Africa.

Sometimes Khalil wishes he could have a normal life, eat a normal dinner with his three daughters without having to worry about conflict areas, mistreated animals or being trapped in crossfire. “I am a human, I have my weaknesses,” he says. “But I come to be addicted. I am infected by my job.”

Another two thumbs-up for this remarkable man who has saved countless beautiful lives.two-thumbs

Good People Doing Good Things — Everyday People

Today’s good people are just average, ordinary people who see a need and step in to help another.  Small things, everyday sort of things, but things that mean so much …

In October, Milwaukee bus driver Natalie Barnes started talking with a passenger named Richard, who told her he has been homeless for a week, since the place where he had been living was condemned. When he asked if he could ride along for the night to stay out of the cold, she agreed.

“At some point in our lives, everybody needs help. I wanted to do what I could to help Richard in some way.”

At one point during her shift, she took a break at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and offered to get her passenger a bite to eat.  “Now I don’t know what to say but to say thank you,” he said to Barnes and promised to pay her back somehow.

She refused, saying, “I want to help you.” bus-driver-homeless-manBut it doesn’t stop there. During another break, she reached out to a friend, who helped get Richard into a temporary shelter.  Barnes and Richard became friends during that six-hour bus ride. Now he has her cellphone number, and they keep in touch.

“We talk every couple of days and he thanks me every time he talks to me for helping him. He calls me his little guardian angel. I’m happy to say that he’s progressing well.”

Helping others comes second nature for Barnes, who has received three commendations for outstanding service since being hired by the MCTS two years ago.

Lisa Meilander of Elizabeth Township, Pennsylvania, was eating dinner with her family at Eat’n Park restaurant when a 91-year-old World War II veteran sat down to eat his meal alone.

But he didn’t eat alone.

Lisa shared what happened next in a Facebook post.

“The elderly gentleman was seated in the booth directly across from my family as we ate dinner Saturday night at Eat’n Park in Belle Vernon. We really didn’t see him come in. But we did notice when our server, Dylan, dropped to one knee to look him eye-to-eye as he got ready to take his order.server-dines-with-lonely-old-man-2The man apologized for not hearing too well. He had forgotten to put in his hearing aids. He talked about how he lost his hearing during his time in the war. He was 91 years old with many stories to tell. Dylan patiently listened giving him his full attention.

Eventually the man apologized for talking so much.

‘I’m alone now,’ he said, ‘and I don’t often have someone to talk to.’

Dylan smiled and said he enjoyed listening.

He then helped him figure out what to order and left to take it to the kitchen. It was a touching site. I wanted offer to pay for the man’s dinner, but before I could flag down Dylan, a man seated at a nearby booth asked Dylan to bring him his check.

‘Someone’s already taken care of it,’ Dylan smiled. I guess we weren’t the only ones eavesdropping on the conversation.

After the man received his food Dylan came back to say he was on a break. He asked if he could sit with the gentleman as he ate. As we left the restaurant the two of them were conversing and many people seated nearby were smiling. It was a touching sight.

server-dines-with-lonely-old-manWith all of the negative stories about our youth today this was a breath of fresh air. I wonder if I would have been as kind and attentive if I were the one working there. One thing’s for sure, if you are ever at Eat’n Park in Belle Vernon, ask for Dylan. If he’s your waiter you’re certain to get great service.”

Antonio Basco, 61, made headlines after issuing a public invitation to his wife Margie’s funeral, saying he felt alone as the couple didn’t have any nearby relatives. Over 3,000 people turned out for her services and over a thousand flower arrangements were sent for the funeral.Antonio-Basco-funeralThe following weekend, Basco’s vehicle was stolen and wrecked. In addition to the car destruction, the thief also stole a pressure washing machine from Basco’s trailer that he used for his mobile car washing business.Antonio-BascaoCasa Ford Lincoln, a dealership in El Paso, posted on its Facebook page that it was looking for ways to help Basco.  The dealership gave Basco a brand new Ford Escape and a trailer.  CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported that an anonymous donor bought Basco a new pressure washer for his business.

When responding to a recent call, members of the Webster Groves Fire Department noticed a woman in a wheelchair falling over while trying to enter her home.

“Multiple stairs and uneven terrain unfortunately led to the resident falling over in her wheelchair while trying to enter the house. Luckily the patient was uninjured, but we saw an opportunity to help.”

firefighters-build-woman-in-wheelchair-a-path-1.jpgThe firefighters spent several off days digging out and pouring a new sidewalk for her.

“She will now have a level pathway and ramp to gain access to her home. A huge thank you goes out to the members that spent their days off helping those in need.”


See, folks, you don’t have to have a lot of money to help others … you just have to be willing to give a bit of yourself, of your time.  ‘Til next week, then, remember …good people

Good People Doing Good Things … Best Buddies and More

My first ‘good people’ of the day came to my attention thanks to my youngest reader, Benjamin, who emailed me with … “Namaste, Miss Jill! It’s me, Benjamin! We, Gem and me, found a good people for you! Gem read it to me and I told her, that’s a good people thingy for Miss Jill. Bye!”  Well, he was right, this is perfect for my “good people thingy” … thank you, Benjamin!  Don’t you just love it when a 5-year-old is already taking notice of the good people in this world?

Michell Girard is a hero, at least to one person, Chris Barrington.  Ms. Girard was Chris’ teacher many, many years ago, and she must have been an exceptional teacher, for when Chris was found wandering alone on a highway outside of Gatesville, Texas one day back in June, hers was the only name he could think of to give the Sheriff’s deputies.  You see, Chris is autistic and severely developmentally delayed, and functions at the level of a six-year-old child.

Chris had been living with his father, but his father was in the late stages of leukemia and was not able to get out of bed to care for Chris, so Chris struck out on his own.  When the deputies found him, he had been walking around for two days, and other than his father’s name, the only other one he could come up with was his teacher from way back when, Michell Girard.

When the Sheriff’s office contacted Ms. Girard, she asked …

“What happens if I don’t take him? Will he get in a group home?”

When told that no, he would be institutionalized, she responded …

“Not on my watch, he’s not!”

You’ve gotta love that lady!  And that is how Chris Barrington came to live with a woman he hadn’t seen in years.  Chris’ father died a short time later, on August 1st, and Ms. Girard has applied for permanent guardianship.

There are a lot of things in life that most of us take for granted but that Chris had never known … simple things like … a birthday party!  Says Ms. Girard …

“He’s never had a birthday present, a birthday party, he’s never had Christmas, Thanksgiving, nothing. So, this year is going to be full of firsts.”

But he had a party this year!birthday-cakeAnd that’s not all … he took his first boat ride!  Ms. Girard posted on Facebook to see if any of her friends knew of somebody with a boat who would be willing to take him for a ride … just around Lake Waco.  Enter Jimmy Bennett, owner of JMB Fishing …

“You know, there are so many things that kids want to do. They want to go to Disney. I have one that wants to go to Hawaii on a shark fishing trip. Chris is happy to come out on Lake Waco and ride around on a boat. That’s all he wants to do.”

Check out the video …

Ms. Girard definitely qualifies in my book as a ‘good people’ … and from the looks of it, Chris Barrington is embarking on a fun new chapter in his life!

As I was digging for more information about Michell Girard and Chris Barrington, I came across another story that led me to an organization …Lisa-RuthMeet best buddies Lisa Buchanan and Ruth Godding.  The two met 20 years ago, through an organization called Best Buddies International, a non-profit that is working to end “social, physical and economic isolation” among people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

When they met, Lisa Buchanan was president of the Best Buddies chapter at Marymount University in Virginia.  Per Lisa …

“We hit it off right away. We started talking on the phone. We just did all the on-campus things through college, like Halloweenfest and Christmas parties. Then when I graduated I wasn’t technically in Best Buddies anymore, but I still kept in touch with Ruth.”

The two have spent many good times together.  Lisa is now a schoolteacher and the mother of 13-year-old twins, of whom Ruth says …

“They were very cute babies! I was very surprised they were twins. Wow! There were two babies! I wasn’t expecting that one.”

Godding-Buchanon.jpgBest Buddies International highlighted Ruth and Lisa’s story of enduring friendship this month. According to the organization’s founder, Anthony Shriver …

“Ruth and Lisa’s 20-year friendship is really what Best Buddies is all about. It’s truly a testament to the power of friendship and inclusion. Genuine one-to-one friendships like this change lives, and it’s why we’ve spent the last 30 years working to connect people who may not normally be friends and changing the way people think about individuals with special abilities — everyone should have a best buddy.”

Best Buddies’ Mission Statement:

Best Buddies International is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, leadership development, and inclusive living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The IDD community that Best Buddies serves includes, but is not limited to, people with Down syndrome, autism, Fragile X, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury and other undiagnosed disabilities.

Best Buddies is the world’s largest organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Our programs empower the special abilities of people with IDD by helping them form meaningful friendships with their peers, secure successful jobs, live independently, improve public speaking, self-advocacy and communication skills, and feel valued by society.

our-visionAnd they have had a global impact …


Take a look at their website  … I think you’ll agree that this organization also qualifies as a ‘good people’ and deserves a two thumbs-up!

Once again, good people just dropped into my lap and I didn’t have to look far.  Underneath all the noise and detritus in the news these days, there are these people, real people, making a difference in the lives of others.  Kind of restores a bit of faith in the world, doesn’t it?

Good People Doing Good Things — Helpers

We’ve had more than our share of bad news in the past week or two, haven’t we?  It’s often easy to believe that the world is mostly evil, that kindness, compassion and caring have gone by the wayside.  But, as I find every week when I go in search of good people for my Wednesday morning feature, they are out there … we just have to shove aside all the bad people and open our eyes and our hearts, and we will find them.  Today, I have for you an assortment, but first … I thought this was in keeping with the theme …Inspirational-quote

Caden Dixon is nine-years-old, and he really, really did not want to go to school that first day of fourth grade.  He was dreading it more than most kids do.  Why?  Well, you see, Caden’s dad was a police officer with the Hall County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Department and he was killed exactly one month before in the line of duty.  Caden’s dad always took him for the first day of school … but this year he wasn’t there and Caden couldn’t face it.  Enter a bunch of good cops …Caden-1



Caden-4On Wednesday morning, more than a dozen of his dad’s colleagues arrived at Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy in Gainesville and escorted Caden to class.  The deputies in Dixon’s Patrol Watch were a tight-knit group, according to spokesman Derreck Booth.

“Since the tragedy last month, members of the watch and other deputies, particularly Sgt. Hewell, have been actively involved with serving and comforting Dixon’s family.”

Last November, California experienced the most devastating wildfires in its history. The worst, known as the Camp Fire, killed 85 people and destroyed 14,000 homes, leaving over 50,000 people homeless.  Enter Woody Faircloth of Denver, Colorado …

Woody-Faircloth“There are people that lived lives like we do, that went to work every day, went to school and had very normal lives that now find themselves homeless with nowhere to turn, nowhere to live. I just couldn’t imagine being in that position. I had a hard time letting it go … I knew I wanted to do something to help.”

Faircloth browsed Craigslist in the areas affected by the fires and saw an enormous need for temporary housing for evacuees. So, he set up a GoFundMe page and invited people to donate so they could purchase and restore a used RV for a family.

Through social media, Faircloth eventually got connected with a family of six that was greatly in need. Just before Thanksgiving, Faircloth filled the RV with supplies and — along with his youngest daughter, 7-year-old Luna — embarked on the nearly 1,200-mile drive to California to deliver the vehicle.rv.pngThat first donated RV led to another, and by December, Faircloth had more than 100 requests for RVs from afflicted families.  Witnessing how great the need was, Faircloth turned his idea into a nonprofit, RV4CampfireFamily.

“If we have a platform to help, we have to keep helping.”

Faircloth connects with RV owners interested in donating or selling their used RVs at a low cost. He refits the RVs himself and negotiates costs when he needs to enlist professional mechanics for heavy-duty repairs. Once the RV is ready to go, Faircloth organizes a way to transport it to the recipient.

The organization has thus far provided RV homes to 65 families.

Imagine … we as adults are so devastated by the recent mass shootings, it affects us in any number of ways, from sleeplessness to frustration & angst, to looking about every time we go out in public, wondering who might be thinking what.  So, imagine what it’s like for children who are just old enough to understand what happened, but not yet old enough to understand why.  One eleven-year-old, Ruben Martinez of El Paso, was among those who was having difficulty taking it all in.  According to his mother, Rosa Gandarilla …

“He was having some trouble dealing with what happened. I explained to him that we could not live in fear and that people in our community are caring and loving. I told him to try and think of something he could do to make El Paso a little better.”

And so, Ruben did just that! Ruben-1Ruben Martinez is challenging each person in El Paso to do 22 acts of kindness for others in honor of the 22 people who died that day.  Ruben has been passing out flyers and posting on social media to try and help the #ElPasoChallenge spread. He is also leading by example …

“Last night, he agreed to go out to do his first act of kindness. He chose to go deliver dinner to our first responders.”

The response on Twitter has been great …

  • Willow the RainFawn@DaDoofFloofbutt:  “I will join in. But instead of 22, I will have 34 acts of kindness-3 for the Garlic Festival shooting, 22 for El Paso, 9 for Dayton, Ohio”
  • Victoriaa@hippievicky:  “Today my niece, friend and I did the #ElPasoChallenge! It felt so good doing something nice for others! Each of the 22 notes had the name of a victim because we wanted these good deeds to be for them! #ElPasoStrong I encourage y’all to do this challenge!”

And there were many, many more.  It seems to me that the youth of this nation are our hope for the future, and right now I trust their good sense more than I do that of many adults!  People turn to churches for guidance in times of trouble … perhaps they would be better off to turn to young people!

I came across this short video on a friend’s blog, Nuggets of Gold, last night, and I think it fits in perfectly with the ‘good people’ theme.  See what you think …

Good People Doing Good Things — Young People

The news from the past week has been the stuff that nightmares are made of, and I think we are all ready for some good news for a change, a heartwarming story or two, yes?  As always, I have been out digging for good people, and as always, I found some!  I always like it when I find young people who at an early age have discovered the joy of helping others, and so tonight I’ve decided to highlight a few such youths …

Max Bobholz, from Green Bay, Wisconsin, was only 12 years old when he came up with the idea to create a charity to provide baseball equipment to children in Africa.Max-Bobholz.jpgWhile watching the 2012 Little League World Series on his television, a profile of the Ugandan team describing how the players sometimes lacked shoes and often shared bats and baseballs gave Max an idea. He thought about all of the extra bats, balls and equipment that he and his friends had in their garages and homes.

Max’ parents weren’t too keen on the idea at first, but they realized he was serious when that year he told them that all he wanted for Christmas was their help in turning his idea into reality.  With their help, he founded Angels at Bat and, thus far, he has donated over 10,000 pieces of equipment to kids in need in Kenya and Nigeria! Along with this, Max has traveled to Africa several times to donate equipment and the trips double as opportunities for Max and others to teach baseball to children who’ve never played it.

His charity has grown to include six branches in other towns around the USA, and Angels at Bat was recognized as the primary source of baseball equipment for the entire country of Kenya by the President of Kenya’s Little League.  Last year, Max started college at the University of Wisconsin, but he says he will still be continuing his work with Angels at Bat, that he intends it to last “beyond college and beyond my lifetime.”

Recently, Max, now age 18, was honored by CNN as one of 5 Young Wonders, for his amazing spirit of giving and service.

Sonika Menon’s family has always made a really big deal over birthdays.  Awareness that other kids weren’t so lucky came to Sonika when she was 14, growing up in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.  Sonika formed the Birthday Giving Program, a nonprofit that brings birthday parties to kids and families in need, but it goes even beyond that.  I’m going to let Sonika’s personal message from the Birthday Giving Program’s website tell you a bit about it all …

Sonika-MenonMy name is Sonika Menon and I am the founder of The Birthday Giving Program, a 501c3 organization. My cousin, Rinna Talwar, is the founder of the Senior Citizen Division. We decided to start this program to help those who aren’t able to afford a family member’s birthday. While watching our own parents go all out on our birthdays, we realized that there are many who are less fortunate than us. Through this program, we found out that we could make a difference one person at a time.    

We serve children, teenagers, mentally/physically challenged adults, and senior citizens. Teenagers and adults are neglected by many other charities because they are harder to provide for, but The Birthday Giving Program has decided to take on this challenge. Our program currently supports the northwest suburbs in Chicago, Illinois.    

These birthday bags are able to teach children the importance of giving to others. Adults receive the privilege of knowing that people love and care for them no matter what challenges they face. Eventually, both children and adults realize their potential to have an impact on the lives of others.    

For a single parent, the cost of a birthday can prove to be burdensome. Birthdays can prove to play a significant role in a child and adult’s life. They give children and adults the confidence, respect, and love they need to commemorate their existence in the world.   

I am going into 10th grade this year. In high school, I am planning to create a club to help recruit more volunteers. Rinna Talwar is going into 9th grade and is hoping to bring The Birthday Giving Program to her school through Student Council. After consulting with directors of various organizations, The Birthday Giving Program expanded to provide achievement parties as well as welcome boxes while still continuing the birthday giving concept. Our goal is to provide for as many people as possible and the sky’s the limit! 

Katie Stagliano was just nine years old when she planted a cabbage seed in a garden outside her house. She cared for it every day by watering it, weeding it and giving it plant food.  It grew to be HUGE! Forty pounds huge!Katie-Stagliano.jpgKatie wanted to do something special with this very unique cabbage.  With her mom’s help, she decided to donate it to a local soup kitchen to help feed the hungry in her community of Summerville, South Carolina.

When she arrived to make her donation, she saw a long line of people waiting for food. Then, Katie served her cabbage to the guests. As the many people thanked her, she knew she could and should do more to help.

With the help of her parents and school, Katie’s Krops was born. Katie’s Krops plants gardens to grow food that is donated to local soup kitchens to feed the hungry.

Katie-StaglianoKatie’s dream is to end hunger around the world.  So, after she created several gardens in her community, she decided to do more.  She wanted to help other kids create gardens in their communities. There are now over 100 Katie’s Krops gardens growing across the United States! All of the gardens are led by kids between the ages of 9 and 16. They have donated thousands and thousands of pounds of fresh produce to people in need!

Too often today we hear only the negative side, and more than once I’ve heard that the problem with today’s kids are that they are lazy, not being raised right, selfish, etc. Max, Sonika, and Katie are just three examples of the good things young people are doing to make the world a little better place.  Let’s try to focus more on the good, and less on the not-so-good, shall we?

Good People Doing Good Things — Dale Schroeder

Today’s ‘good people’ post is a bit shorter than usual, because … Filosofa forgot that it was Wednesday, and last night I spent a few hours preparing what I thought would be this morning’s post.  And then, as I was setting it up on the schedule for 3:00 a.m., I saw the calendar and … oh sh*t … it’s Wednesday!  I considered going with my original post, making my apologies, and doing the good people post later, or tomorrow, but … I know you guys count on it and in today’s environment, we all need to be reminded of the humanitarians who walk amongst us.  So, it is a bit short, but it is heartwarming, I promise you!

Dale-SchroederDale Schroeder lived his entire live in Ames, Iowa.  He was, as his friend Steve Nielsen described him, “… that kind of a blue-collar, lunch-pail kind of a guy. Went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans.”  Mr. Schroeder grew up poor, never married and worked as a carpenter for 67 years at the same Des Moines business.  Just your average Joe … or Dale.

Now, Steve Nielsen was a friend, but it also happens that he is an attorney.  One day near the end of Dale’s life, he popped into Mr. Nielsen’s law office and wanted to talk about his will.

“I never got the opportunity to go to college. So, I’d like to help kids go to college.”

When Nielsen asked Dale …

“How much are we talking about, Dale?”

The answer stunned Nielsen, who says he nearly fell out of his chair …

“Oh, just shy of $3 million.”

When Mr. Schroeder died in 2005, he owned two pair of jeans – church jeans and work jeans – and a rusted Chevy pickup truck.  But Mr. Schroeder left a legacy that will live forever, for because of him, 33 people were able to go to college and come out debt-free!Dale-Schroeder-2.pngYou may wonder why I am writing about this now, some 14 years after Dale’s death, but I have my reasons.  This month, the group of 33 who have dubbed themselves “Dale’s kids” got together to honor the man who changed their lives. They’re now doctors, teachers, therapists — and friends.

There’s just one thing Schroeder asked for in return. “All we ask is that you pay it forward,” Nielsen said. “You can’t pay it back, because Dale is gone, but you can remember him and you can emulate him.”

One such recipient, Kira Conrad, tells her story …

“I grew up in a single parent household and I had three older sisters, so paying for all four of us was never an option.”

Y’know, folks, to most of today’s politicians or wealthy industrialists, $3 million is a drop in their bucket, probably not even worth losing a night’s sleep.  But to Dale, it represented two things:  a life lived frugally, without all the toys and gadgets that we think we simply cannot live without, and an opportunity to give of himself to others, to give others a chance to do what he was never able to do.  I have stated before that I don’t have much use for millionaires and billionaires, but if they were all like Dale, used their money for the betterment of people … what a wonderful world it could be.

Good People Doing Good Things — Cops

When I was a child, I was always told that if I was in trouble, I should find a policeman, that the policeman was my friend.  (I was in trouble more often than not, so I heard this often!).  Today, few of us tell our children that.  I believe that most police officers are good, that they became police officers because they wanted to help make the world a little better place, but a few bad apples have given police a bad name.  I find myself looking away when I see a cop, even though I’ve done nothing illegal.  Anyway, today I bring you two heartwarming stories about officers of the law (and others) doing good things.

Heart of gold

Dena Walker Pauly is a police officer with the Lawrenceville, Georgia, police department.  One day two years ago, Officer Pauly was called to a local pawnshop where there was a man in some sort of distress, though nobody was quite sure what.

Officer Pauly responded to the call, to find an elderly man, obviously unwell, but unable to communicate.  So, Officer Pauly offered to take the man to his home and see if she could determine what his problem was.

From the Georgia Law Enforcement’s Facebook page …

Life has not been kind to Bob. He’s been on his own since he was a child and has no known family. He was homeless most of his life and a stroke eventually left him non-verbal. His life is a series of sad stories strung together by poverty and loneliness.

She was horrified when she saw Bob’s living conditions.  She immediately addressed Bob’s deplorable living conditions and taught him basic skills such as throwing garbage in the trash can rather than the floor. She’s ensured he has food to eat and routinely cleans his small apartment.

She eventually sought and received a Power of Attorney for Bob’s medical care. He’s been in the hospital since May and today was an important day for Bob and Dena.

Officer Pauly made the difficult decision to begin hospice care for Bob, so she held his hand and told him many times that she loved him. It’s quite possible she’s the first person to ever utter those words to this poor man.


This photo depicts the true nature of law enforcement officers. We are drawn to this profession because we care. We care so deeply that it hurts sometimes. We see the worst, but sometimes we also get to see the best. And we have opportunities to truly make a difference for people. Like Bob.

Officer Pauly, your dedication and commitment to your oath of office, and fellow man, embodies what it means to be a Police Officer. Stories like this happen every day, but because they don’t fit a certain narrative, no one hears about it.

And then, on July 17th

“It is with a very heavy heart that we have to report that Bob passed away earlier today. While the end of one’s life is always sad, it is the love and compassion that he received from Officer Pauly that gives us a smile knowing he is now in a much better place.”

gold-starA gold star for Officer Dena Walker Pauly, one of America’s finest.

The good counters the bad …

Alizay Kashif is eleven years old and lives in Naperville, Illinois, outside of Chicago.  Like many kids her age, she decided to open a lemonade stand in her neighborhood this summer.  She wasn’t in it for the profits, though, for Alizay planned to donate all profit to Feeding America, a U.S. hunger relief organization based in Chicago.

According to the Chicago Tribune

But a bad location and thieves turned the 11-year-old’s entrepreneurial dreams into a nightmare. Thankfully, that was rectified when the community stepped in to help.

Alizay’s father Kashif Zaman said his family lives on a Naperville cul-de-sac where there’s not much foot or vehicular traffic. Alizay sat outside for more than two hours June 28, and “didn’t see any customers,” Zaman said.

Feeling sorry for his daughter, Zaman offered to buy some of her lemonade, soda and chocolate chip cookies, all priced at $1. “She told me, ‘I need some real customers,’” he said.

Eventually, Alizay cobbled together $9 in sales.

Her hopes were raised when two teenagers came by and asked how much she was charging. The two said they had no cash on hand, but they’d run home and return with money to make a purchase, she said.

To her delight, the teens returned in a car with two more friends.

Alizay said the same teen once again asked how she was charging for the lemonade. But instead of paying, the teen grabbed Alizay’s basket with the money and drove off with the ill-gotten gains.

Alizay said that at first she thought it was some kind of joke, but then when the teens drove off, she realized this was no joke, and she began to cry.  Mr. Zaman posted about the incident on Nextdoor, a social media platform, and before the night was over, some 50-60 people had responded, most expressing sympathy and urging him to contact the police.

One of the commenters was a man named Ben Hutchinson, a former television reporter. He suggested that Alizay set up her stand in front of his house at the corner of Charles Avenue and Gartner Road in Naperville, where there would be more exposure, more potential customers.

Alizay took Hutchison up on his offer Sunday, and she immediately saw results.

Neighbors came out in droves after reading of her plight on Nextdoor, Zaman said, “and the police caught wind of her stand.”

“Initially I started hearing sirens,” Alizay said. Then a line of Naperville squad cars rounded the corner and pulled up in front of her lemonade stand.

“We were not expecting a huge motorcade,” Zaman said.

Naperville police also passed the hat at the police station and collected $170, which was presented to Alizay.

“I think that really made the day,” Alizay said. “I think that was super nice, and it played a really big part.”

Proceeds as of Monday totaled $348. She plans to personally deliver the money she’s collected and the story behind it to Feed America.

lemonade-standHutchison, who grew up in Naperville, said he’s proud of the outpouring of support from neighbors and the police. Video of police arriving at Alizay’s stand in front of his house is growing by roughly 10,000 viewers a day.

A small thing?  Sure, but isn’t it great to see a community come together like this?

I had one more, but I have run out of time tonight, so I’ll save it for next week, or maybe even later this week.  Remember, friends … good-people

Good People Doing Good Things — Lots Of ‘Em!

It’s Wednesday, and that means it’s time to leave the dark world of politics for a few minutes and take a look at some good people who are quietly going about the business of being … good people!

A trio of teens …

A little after midnight, Aeron McQuillin, Bailey Campbell, and Billy Tarbett were on their way to Tim Horton’s coffee shop after a swim when they noticed steam billowing from under the hood of a car stopped along Highway 20 in Fonthill, Ontario.

The boys, all car enthusiasts, pulled over to lend a hand. After looking under the hood, they told the driver that it probably needed a new engine and advised against starting the motor. The woman was visibly upset and said she couldn’t afford a tow.

That’s when Billy suggested they push the car to the woman’s home in Welland.

“We had nothing better to do—but even if we did I would like to think we would have helped her anyway.”

good-samaritan-teensThe teens grabbed their water bottles and pushed the Chevy Cobalt up a hill and continued for more than two hours along the dark Merritville Highway, laughing, joking, and appreciating the great ‘workout’. “We were helping her, but also she was helping us,” said Tarbett.

Another stranger, Niagara Falls resident Dan Morrison, decided to drive along behind the trio to keep them safe—he turned on his flashers and totally went into “Dad mode”.

The cooperative rescue mission, which covered over 4 miles (7 km) finally ended at four in the morning.  According to Aeron McQuillin …

“We were at the right place at the right time, and this is one of those stories that we can look back on in 10 years and say it was one of those crazy things we did, but it was all worth it.”

Dan posted about it on social media with a photo of the boys, and their phones began “blowing up” with messages from people they’d never met. Some offered a free meal or Tim Horton’s gift card.

But the boys were taking none of it.

“We really appreciate it, but we didn’t do this to get free handouts. If I was broken down on the side of the road, I would love for someone to stop and help out.”

Morrison, a father of two, said this was a great reminder that in a seemingly-negative world, “There’s good kids out there.”

Indeed … we sometimes need to be reminded of that, for in general we hear much more about those who are getting into trouble or causing mischief.

Eco-friendly skies …

Two thumbs up to Air New Zealand for slashing their use of plastic on flights—cutting out 55 million items, which will actually make the planes lighter, save a bit of fuel, but most importantly, cutting way down on the airline’s carbon footprint.

As of 2018, the company generated 3.5 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, making it one of New Zealand’s largest polluters.  Management decided it was time to be pro-active and do what they could to be more environmentally conscientious.  The list of plastics that will no longer be used is 55 million items long, and includes everything from plastic cups to water bottles, sauce packets to cheese trays. Every one of those pieces has a carbon footprint equal to around 3 ounces of carbon dioxide, so by eliminating them from the flights, Air New Zealand cuts out 10.3 million pounds of CO2 this year alone.air-New-ZealandThe majority of the 55 million items come in the form of 29 million cups. Passengers on international flights will still be able to get a cup of coffee when they want, but as of this fall, those cups will be made from plants. It’s a change the airline started earlier this year on domestic flights, swapping out 14.7 million for the plant-based version. The same goes for plastic water cups, which will be exchanged for a recyclable alternative.

Great job, New Zealand Air, and let’s hope other airlines quickly follow suit.

Two dads – six kids

Steve-RobSteve and Rob Anderson-McLean of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, have been together for 18 years. They shared a commitment ceremony in 2006 and were legally married in Maryland in 2013.  The couple raised two sons together, Parker, 25 and Noah, 21, from a previous marriage. But after their boys grew up, they decided they “weren’t done” being parents just yet and began exploring adoption.

Meanwhile, in Ohio there were six children – Carlos, 14, Guadalupe, 13, Maria, 12, Selena, 10, Nasa, 9, and Max, 7 – who had been in foster care for nearly five years.  The children had been subjected to abuse and neglect, had been separated, and the parents finally lost all custodial rights.

Steve and Rob happened to see the children on an adoption website and the rest is history.

the kidsSteve and Rob were matched with the kids in June 2018. The siblings went to live with the couple a month later and have been with them ever since.  The adoption was finalized on May 23rd.  The judge asked the couple …

“Do you understand at this point forward they are your children? They are just as much as your biological children?”

Steve says …

“Obviously we knew that, but when I looked up and saw all those eyes, it was very emotional. We never imagined we’d be lucky enough or blessed enough to have six.”

adoptionHow many couples do you know who, after raising two children to adulthood, are willing to start all over, taking on not one, not two, but six children?  Today, all six siblings have the Anderson-McLean name and two doting dads.

“I’d say our kids have brought a great kind of crazy to our lives. It’s heartwarming and so exciting to see how they connect with us and our extended family and friends.”

the family

“We’ve known them for less than a year, but at the same time, it feels as if our emotional bonds were years in the making. There are no rules as to what can constitute a family, and the love that we share.”

I give two thumbs up to these two men for giving so much to these six kids!  The world needs more like them.

An editorial aside, if you will permit me.  Right now, there are an estimated 690,000 children in U.S. foster care awaiting adoption. So, when social conservatives create laws allowing religious adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, they’re denying children a chance to be raised in a loving home.

And that’s all I’ve got for this week, folks.  Isn’t it nice, though, to see people like these doing things that make the world just a little bit better place?  ‘Til next week …

Good People Doing Good Things — Lots of ‘Em

This week, the focus is on everyday people doing things that help others in one way or another.  It’s nice to report on those people who are making mega-differences in people’s lives, but sometimes it’s just as meaningful to look at the everyday folks who are doing what is within their power to make a difference.  Sometime, the opportunity to be a ‘good people’ just drops in your lap, as you’ll see in the last story.

Mohan-3Mohan Sudabattula, a 23-year-old student, along with his team of volunteers collect medical equipment from thrift stores and donations. They clean up the gear, which ranges from slings and braces to wheelchairs and walkers, and then send it to disadvantaged medical facilities around the world.Mohan-1.pngSudabattula thought of this idea when he was in school and volunteering in the prosthetics department at a nearby hospital. Whenever a patient outgrew a prosthetic, it would simply be thrown in the garbage. While prosthetics are designed exclusively for the wearer, Mohan wondered if he could recycle other medical equipment and give it a new life.Mohan-2Back in 2006, he went to India with his parents, and while at an orphanage he saw children creating makeshift crutches and wheelchairs out of everyday objects. Now, over ten years later, he was able to donate several dozen wheelchairs and crutches to that very same orphanage because of the work he is doing with Project Embrace.

Since launching the nonprofit in 2016, the group has donated over 900 refurbished medical devices to low-income hospitals in the U.S. and India.

Simon Child works in the very McDonalds in Fayetteville, Florida that he was caught sleeping in. When a woman in the community saw Child asleep in a booth, she photographed him and posted the picture on Facebook, apparently hoping to mock or shame him.Simon-1.jpegThe post had the opposite effect the woman was hoping for, as everyone in the community rallied around the homeless worker. They learned that Child had a child of his own and was working tirelessly to support them both after the death of his mother.Simon-2.jpgNews spread, and soon the entire community was pitching in to help Simon. He got a free haircut from a local barbershop to help him look more professional. A local eatery lent him a car for job interviews. One member even offered to put Child and his son up in a hotel until they found a permanent residence.Simon-3.pngMembers also donated food, clothes, diapers, and more to help the struggling father. They even raised $2,000 for Child to get a life start. As for the woman, Child says he harbors no ill will towards her because, without her post, the community would have never known.

Rita-1Riya Hariharan (16, Palo Alto, California) is the founder, a global organization that provides critically needed educational and wellness supplies for kids who are orphans around the world with the goal to motivate the kids to stay in school, be well, and change the trajectory of their future.  Through her organization, Riya is helping two severely under-resourced schools, in Haiti and India.

In India, Riya supports an orphanage of children who are primarily from the historically most oppressed (Dalit) community and come from a variety of backgrounds … single mothers, parents unable to provide basic care and mostly children who are orphans. Kids need to walk a good distance to school through the somewhat harsh climates in Bidar – from cold winters to the heavy southwest monsoon. ​ Giftkids shipped colorful sweaters to them in time for the Indian holiday of Diwali.rita-india.pngIn Haiti, the remedial school she helps is comprised of enthusiastic kids who struggle with reading and are first-generation learners. They attend this free school with the hope to be able to attend high school someday. However the kids are often absent in class because they do not have proper shoes to walk the distance to school. ​In 2017, Giftkids shipped new sneakers to them in time for their pre-Kanaval celebration in January.riya-haiti.pngIn the two years since its start, Giftkids today has helped over 100 kids in need in Haiti, India, and San Jose, California.

This last story is a really small thing, but it struck a chord with me, and I think speaks volumes about this man.

Tim Crowley and some buddies were hanging out in Tim’s backyard last weekend, and there was a fair amount of drinking going on when all of a sudden, a baby bird fell out of the sky!  The bird needed help, so Tim, still with some of his wits about him, called the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah and sent them a picture of the bird.Petey-1The staff at the Center told Tim to bring the baby bird on in, but there was one problem:  nobody in the group was sober enough to drive!  So, after some thought and debate, they called for an Uber!  The first Uber driver refused, so they didn’t tell the next driver who the passenger would be, and she gladly delivered the little birdie to the Wildlife Center.Petey-2The staff at the center named the little guy, fittingly, Petey Uber, and they say it is unlikely he would have survived without intervention.  Tim Crowley … the man paid for an Uber to save the life of one little birdie!  Doesn’t that bring a lump to your throat?  How many people do you know who would have done the same?

Petey is reportedly doing fine and will be released into the wild when he is able to survive on his own.  Thanks to Tim Crowley!

And that’s a wrap for today, folks!  If any of you run across a ‘good people’, feel free to send me a link or story, and I will consider it for inclusion in the good people posts!  Meanwhile, let’s all try to be a good people, even if only in a small way.