Good People Doing Good Things — Too Many To Count

Hooray for Wednesdays!  It is such a breath of fresh air to shine a light on people who care about others, who are giving of themselves, even in the smallest of ways, to somehow make life better for somebody.


California is on fire …

You’ve all seen on television or the internet the terrible devastation caused by this year’s wildfires in California.  The fires extend from the northern to the southern border, and some 9.000 firefighters are working day and night to contain the fires.  Typically, when disaster strikes, good people jump into action, and today I would like to share with you a few people who are helping.  First of all, though, I want to give a shout out to those 9,000 firefighters.  They are working in horrid conditions, with very little sleep, risking their own lives to help save lives, property, forests … these guys are HEROES! TOPSHOT-US-WILDFIRES-CALIFORNIA-WILDFIRE

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I had never heard the name John Cena until last night (yeah, I’m sure you are all rolling your eyes … I’ve told you, I am a pop culture throwback!), but it’s a name I’m not likely to forget anytime soon.  Turns out Mr. Cena is a former wrestler-turned-actor, who has a new movie coming out day after tomorrow in which he plays … a firefighter!   Mr. Cena put out a very touching video on Twitter, announcing that he is donating $500,000 to the California first responders.  But, he didn’t stop there … he called on Paramount Pictures to match his donation, which they did.

Other celebrities who have donated to the cause include Chris Pratt, LeBron James, and others. You all know how I generally feel about celebrities, millionaires and such, but when they open their hearts and wallets to those in need, I give credit where credit is due.

Last year, I wrote a post about heroic efforts large and small during the California wildfires of 2018 (I do hope this won’t become an annual feature!), and one part of that post featured celebrity chef José Andrés and his wonderful organization World Central Kitchen.  Just as they did last year, they are back out there this year feeding the firefighters.WCK-1Joining Chef Andrés were celebrity chefs Tyler Florence, Guy Fieri as well as many other chefs and volunteers.  You can see some of the pictures on the World Central Kitchen website.  Hats off to this very worthy organization and those who give of their own time and money to help feed those firefighters who are putting their lives on the line 24/7!


Two hearts …

Jonathan Pinkard collapsed at work one day a few months ago and was rushed to Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Coweta County, Georgia.  At 27 years of age, it was determined that Jonathan needed a heart transplant.  The problem wasn’t, as so often is the case, finding a heart, but rather Mr. Pinkard was deemed ineligible because he had no family to be his support system, to help him through the recovery process.  Without the transplant, Mr. Pinkard would die.

Enter ICU nurse Lori Wood …

“I think at some point God places people and situations in your life and you have a choice to do something about it. For me with this situation there was no choice. I had a room, I was a nurse, I could take care of him. So it really wasn’t anything that I struggled about it was just something that had to happen. He had to come home with me.”

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Jonathan Pinkard and Nurse Lori Wood

So, Lori officially adopted Jonathan Pinkard, which got him onto the transplant list, and he received a new heart in August.  Ms. Wood is helping him transition to living independently once again, and Mr. Pinkard plans to return to work next month! Jonathan Pinkard may have a new heart, but Lori Wood has a huge heart, don’t you think?


A very little good people …

This story first came to my attention via our friend Keith, and then I found it on the ‘net.  It’s a little thing, but I thought it worthy to be included here.

The kid’s name is Jackson Champagne, and he is 8 years old.  On Hallowe’en night, Jackson was out trick-or-treating when he came to a house with a candy bowl set outside, as some people do.  But alas!  The bowl was empty!  Not so much as am M&M remained!

“All gone. There ain’t no more candy.”

Jackson turned as if to leave empty-handed, but as he noticed other witches, ghosts and goblins coming up the walkway, he stopped, dug around in his own bag, and put some of his own candy in the bowl for the little guys coming behind him!

Now if that doesn’t just melt your heart.  Happens that the homeowner, Leslie Hodges, saw the whole thing on their home security video later on that evening.  Hodges said just what I always say on these Wednesday posts …

“He renewed the faith that there are still some good people out there.”

Quite so.


Remember, folks … there are lots of good people out there doing good things … you don’t even have to look far.  In fact, I’m betting that if you go down the hall in your house right now and look in the mirror, you will see a ‘good people’.

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.”

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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 — California Wildfires

Wildfires have been raging seemingly forever in California. I don’t know for certain that there was even a break between the fires last December and the current batch that started in early April and is still going strong.  Wildfires are almost a given in California on an annual basis, but this year’s fires have exceeded any in the state’s history.  A total of 5,283 fires have so far burned an area of 903,797.6 acres … nearly one million acres!  And the toll isn’t only land and homes, but there is a human toll also. Just two days ago, yet another fire fighter died in the line of duty, the sixth this year.  In addition, eight civilians have also died.

The fire fighters have been working non-stop, sometimes 24-hour shifts with very little time for rest in between, so they haven’t had the time to sit down and tell us their stories, but some day they will and then I will listen and write about their amazing stories, their acts of heroism.  Meanwhile, though, I do have a few stories about good people doing good things in the tragedy of the California wildfires.  Most of these are small, yet heartwarming stories … the bigger ones will, no doubt, come later.


California Highway Patrols across California have deployed officers to help California residents evacuate from the fires.  This unidentified CHP officer rescued this deer and received a deer kiss in return.police rescues deer


Susan and Jeff Grant were evacuated from their home during the Carr fire, the second largest. Luckily, the fire didn’t damage their home and after 10 days in a motel, they were able to return home. When they did, they found a note from one of the fire fighters who had been working to protect the area …firefighter noteHe had watered their flowers & garden, and looked after their turkeys!  A small thing, but consider this man was likely exhausted and yet took a few minutes to do this small act of kindness for people he doesn’t even know.


Last Friday, the Nelson fire was rapidly approaching the Solano SPCA in Vacaville, and there it was obvious that there was a limited amount of time to get the animals out and taken to safety.  There were 67 animals in the shelter, including a python, and only a few minutes to get them out.  All the animals were safely rescued, thanks to the fine work of these men and women.

The shelter was spared and the animals were able to return the next day.  An added side benefit … about a dozen of the animals are now being adopted by their rescuers!


World Central Kitchen is a not-for-profit non-governmental organization devoted to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters that was founded in 2010 by celebrity chef José Andrés.  Along with Guy Fieri of Food Network fame, they are on the ground in Redding, California, near the Carr fire, feeding both the displaced and the crews who are working to contain the fires. Guy FieriFieri and Andrés have combined their efforts with local branches of disaster relief organizations the Red Cross and Salvation Army, as well as Operation BBQ Relief, an organization that rolls up with smokers to feed victims of natural disasters.  Together, they are feeding about 1,600 – 2,100 people a day.


Photographer Noah Berger was on assignment shooting photos of the Clayton fire in Northern California when a firefighter came out carrying a goat.  He asked Berger to please take the goat, as he needed to go back and get the others.  Turns out there were 10 goats stranded in the midst of the flames!goatThe family that owned the goats had been forced to evacuate, and couldn’t get the stubborn goats to come along, so they had no choice but to leave them behind.  Thanks to some heroic firefighters and Noah Berger, the little goats are safe.


These stories may not seem like much … just little things, really, like watering someone’s flowers or rescuing an animal … but these are the things that people with kind hearts, people with compassion, people who care about others do.  We help others, even if only in small ways.  Every single firefighter and rescue worker out there battling the heat, exhaustion, and risking their life has my undying gratitude and utmost respect.  These are my heroes this week. Let us hope for an end to these terrible fires soon before the toll in property and lives goes any higher.firefire-2fire-3

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Firefighter gives CPR to rescued dog … the dog lived!

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Exhausted