Profit Over People — The “American” Way

Sure, go ahead, blame President Biden.  Blame George W. Bush, blame President Obama, blame the former guy … there’s plenty of blame to spread around.  Blame the military advisors who advised Bush and Obama (the former guy took advise from nobody, believing he actually had a functional brain).  Blame your Aunt Mabel for all I care.  The bottom line is that there was only one winner in the entire U.S.-Afghanistan fiasco:  private military contractors.

If you purchased $10,000 of stock evenly divided among America’s top five defense contractors on September 18, 2001 — the day President George W. Bush signed the Authorization for Use of Military Force in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks — and faithfully reinvested all dividends, it would now be worth $97,295.  Not a bad return on investment, eh?  Defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58 percent during the Afghanistan War.  Those top five biggest defense contractors?

  • Boeing – $8.2 billion profit in 2017
  • Lockheed Martin – $2 billion profit in 2017
  • Raytheon – $2 billion profit in 2017
  • Northrop Grumman – $2 billion profit in 2017
  • General Dynamics – $2.9 billion profit in 2017

People’s lives don’t really matter to the CEOs of these companies whose eyes only light up when they see $$$$$$$$$$.  Not Afghani lives, not U.S. or British lives, only profit matters.

It is right and proper that we leave Afghanistan – we never should have gone there in the first place and for damn sure shouldn’t have stayed 20 years, but … all those lovely profits!  How the withdrawal came about and how it was transacted will be questioned for many hears henceforth and fingers will be pointed, blame will be dispersed, and at the end of the day, nothing will have changed.  The U.S. will not have learned a lesson from this, but will continue to display its extreme arrogance in believing that they have all the best solutions and eventually, perhaps sooner than later, there will be another Afghanistan.

Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing every single defense contractor in bankruptcy by the end of next year and the U.S. defense budget for new military hardware reduced to zero.  I would far rather my tax dollars be spent helping people with such things as education, food, shelter, job training, than spent on killing machines.  However, mine is a humanitarian viewpoint, or one of a snowflake liberal as I’m often told, who cares more about people and animals than I care about profit and power.

REFLECT UPON THIS: What The World Needs Now… Respect @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA @JohnJFioravanti @NonnieJules #Quotes

Our friend John Fioravanti hasn’t posted for quite a while, but when he did yesterday, it was a post worthy of being shared far and wide. John is kinder than I am, but his words resonate with me, as I believe they will with you. His post is moving and thought-provoking, worthy of some deep thought about how we, as humans, can do better. Thank you, John!

Fiora Books by John Fioravanti

“We need to reject any politics that targets people because of race or religion. This isn’t a matter of political correctness. It’s a matter of understanding what makes us strong. The world respects us not just for our arsenal; it respects us for our diversity and our openness and the way we respect every faith.”

~ Barack Obama

Barak Obama head shot

As a retired secondary school educator, I am a firm believer in lifelong learning, and it need not take place in a formal classroom. Today, the Internet allows anyone who is curious to discover information and analysis about any topic they can imagine. It is in the context of the lifelong learner that I wish to reflect on President Barack Obama’s words quoted above from his final State of the Union Address on January 12, 2016.

In my study of history, I realize that human progress does not occur in a linear pattern…

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The Radical Right

My political ideology was once considered ‘moderate’. My thoughts, ideas and beliefs haven’t changed in the least, but now I’m labelled a ‘Socialist’ or ‘radical leftist’. The further to the right the conservative movement goes, the further to the left common sense seems to be. What we need is some middle ground, a place for compromise, but it’s long since gone. Our friend Jeff puts all of this into context and shares his thoughts after watching part of the debate between two of the candidates in the Georgia runoff elections on January 5th. Good thoughts, Jeff … thanks!

On The Fence Voters

I caught roughly 45 minutes of the debate between Senator Kelly Loeffler and Reverend Raphael Warnock last night. They’re both set to compete in the Georgia Senate runoff election on January 5, 2021. Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Senator David Perdue are vying for the other Georgia Senate seat. The two were supposed to face off in a debate on Saturday evening, but the coward Perdue was a no-show. Instead, Ossoff debated an empty podium.

We all know how vital this runoff is, with control of the Senate hanging in the balance. The moderators at the Loeffler/Warnock debate tried their best to get answers. I thought Warnock came across as genuine, decent, and thoughtful. Considering the attacks that came his way, it says a lot about the man.

I’m going to take some liberties here, for purposes of this post, and give you an idea of what most of Loeffler’s…

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On Common Sense and Humanity

People, People, People … I want you all to take a deep breath and repeat after me:

“This is not the bubonic plague, nor is it World War III.  It is not the end of the world.  I do not need 430 rolls of toilet paper in my garage, nor do I need 1,982 bottles of water stacked in every corner of my house.  I do not need to believe every dire prediction I hear, nor do I need to stock up on booze.  I do need to take sensible precautions like using hand sanitizer, washing my hands when out in public, and wiping household surfaces with disinfecting wipes.  If I do those things, I will likely be fine.  I will control what I can, but understand that some things are outside my control.”

For Pete’s Sake what is wrong with people???

Okay, I’m not surprised that milk, bread and eggs are in tight demand … if the weather forecast even breathes the “S-word” from November through March, it happens that the fools rush to the grocery and nearly mug other shoppers trying to get that last loaf of bread or gallon of milk.  Fortunately, I bake most of my own bread and we drink very little milk.  But people … toilet paper???  Seriously??? What — do you think that wiping your patootie more often will ward off the virus?  (Hint:  it won’t … you’ll just end up with a sore patootie)

tide-podsTide pods … y’know, laundry detergent?  What — are people going to actually try eating them to disinfect their bodies?  Two small packs of Tide pods were left on the shelves of my local Kroger on Friday.  Amazon just sent me an email to inform me that my monthly subscribe & save order for Clorox wipes would be delayed because … because people bought them all up.  Never mind that I have a standing monthly order because I clean 3 bathrooms 3 times a week, plus have 5 kitties to clean up after.

But it gets worse than the run on commodities.  Yesterday morning, my young neighbor sent me a copy of a text he had received …

Tholfaqar

My friend is a 19-year-old refugee from Iraq who was frightened by this obviously spammy text and didn’t know if it was real or not, wanted to know if he was allowed to leave his home.  Now why the HELL would somebody play on people’s fears at this stressful time?  What is to be gained???  Did somebody think this was funny?

And then there were the brothers Matt and Noah Colvin.  They thought they would rake in a nice little profit off of people’s fears, so one brother, Noah,  took a 1,300-mile road trip across Tennessee and into Kentucky, filling a U-Haul truck with thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer and thousands of packs of antibacterial wipes, mostly from “little hole-in-the-wall dollar stores”.  The other brother, Matt, stayed home and ordered scads of hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, and face masks, while preparing pallets for their arrival.  The goal?  To rob people blind.  They purchased, for example, hand sanitizer for just over $1 per bottle, and sold it for as much as $70 per bottle.  Fortunately, both Amazon and Ebay, where the brothers had accounts and were selling their wares, caught on quickly and pulled their accounts, so now the dastardly duo are left with some 17,700 bottles and nowhere to sell them.  Awwww … what a cryin’ shame, eh?  Seems to me the best thing to do would be give them away to people in need, but nooooo …

Think the Colvin brothers are an anomaly?  Think again.  Amazon said it had recently removed hundreds of thousands of listings and suspended thousands of sellers’ accounts for price gouging related to the coronavirus.  One might hope that these A-holes would, being stuck with a bunch of things they cannot sell, donate them to those in need and chalk it all up to a lesson in humanitarianism, but … don’t hold your breath.  These are the people who think they are somehow better, somehow more deserving than the rest of us.

I also heard that liquor stores and cannabis stores are doing a booming business, a 500% – 800% increase in revenues.  Does this tell us something about our society?

toilet-paperThose who would profit at the expense of others from this global pandemic deserve whatever punishment they get.  Who’s to blame?  All of us.  Yes, you.  Yes, me.  We allow panic to take precedence over common sense.  To be sure, we have had help from the federal government, the ‘president’ who we should be able to trust, but cannot, and from the media with their voices of gloom and doom.  But, at the end of the day, we are responsible for our own actions.  We are adults, capable of thinking, reasoning, and capable … when we so choose … of being humans, of thinking of others.  Instead, some 90% of the population, it would seem, are thinking only of themselves, how to keep themselves safe and to hell with the rest of the world, how to have a few laughs at our expense, or how to profit from our misfortune.  It is times like this that I despise the human race.  Times like this that I am more determined than ever that if someday I must return to earth, it will be as something other than a human.

clorox-wipesI am human, and thus yes, I am concerned about the coronavirus.  My daughter is a nurse who works with sick people every day, so naturally I am concerned for her. I am 68 years old and have health issues, so I am in that “highest risk” group.  But you know what?  There’s a difference between being concerned and panicking.  I’m not stockpiling anything, and while I am taking reasonable precautions, such as washing my hands when in public, I am not locking myself in my home.  I will go out to dinner with the girls this evening, and mid-week I will go to the grocery in hopes that there is still a chicken and a bag of rice left.  I will be responsible for my own fate and help others to the extent that I can.  I will be able to live with my own conscience.  We cannot live in a bubble, friends.

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

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

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.

Kind Hearted Challenge – August Edition

We all know how, of late, kindness, respect, compassion, and the like seem to have gone by the wayside, right. Last night, a blogging friend shared a blog titled “Cyranny’s Cove”, and specifically the post I am about to share. I love the concept … one act of kindness a month. That isn’t too hard, is it? What if everybody in the world followed this … tried hard to bring ‘kindness’ back into our society? Anyway, take a look if you will, and let’s help Cyranny spread the word, okay?

Cyranny's Cove

20190713_000439

Happy first day of August, Lovelies!

As you might know, I have been waiting for a while to post this, and I am quite excited to finally launch this new, monthly Kind Hearted Challenge!

What is the Kind Hearted Challenge about?

It is really simple… First of all, it is not a challenge per se, but more an invitation to take a moment and think about doing kind things around you. You don’t have to participate every month, and if you join in, you have all month to complete your mission.

I think that spreading the word out is the best way to get at least a couple of people to think “You know what? That’s really easy, I think I’ll give it a try!” There are so many free, easy acts of kindness that we can do in our everyday life… Things to make other people around us…

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Shared Words … Shared Feelings

I wasn’t going to have an afternoon post today, for I have an overwhelming amount of things I must get done today, but then my friend Herb tagged me on something on Facebook this morning, and as I read it, I realized it sums up what the majority of people in the U.S. are feeling these days.

A Message to Trump Supporters
by Mike Miller

‘A message to all tRump supporters:

When this national nightmare is over….and it WILL be over, hopefully sooner rather than later….and the country is returned to normalcy, order is restored, and patriotism and common sense replaces bigotry, hate and stupidity, don’t expect to regain the stature you once enjoyed as a citizen and return to the society you ransomed to placate your hate. Everything this country once stood for….everything better men and women than you sacrificed their lives to protect and preserve….everything we held dear to our hearts, was cast aside, thrown away, denigrated, defiled, stepped on, ridiculed, and despised by you in order to support the most corrupt, dishonest, fascist traitor to every occupy the people’s house. 

When our free press told you the truth about him, you rallied behind his cries of “fake news” and supported his attack on our free press. 

When fake “chrisitan” religious frauds attempted to hijack religious freedom in order to force feed their own deluded brand of bigotry and hate disguised as “christian values” you stood by and let them stoke your inbred prejudices.

When the same mindset that turned Germany into Nazi Germany in the 1930’s tried to establish a foothold here, you again showed your true colors and instead of quashing it in its tracks, you abandoned the spirit of this country, forgot history, and allowed its hatred and division to seep into our society. 

When healthcare was taken away from the most at-risk of our society, you allowed it to happen.

When children were denied food and healthcare, you supported it.

When innocent African-Americans were murdered by law enforcement, you remained silent, only to finally raise your voices in disgust and hatred when they knelt in protest.

When children were murdered in schools and sane gun legislation was called for, you sided with the gun lobby and decided that the murder of school children was more favorable than sensible gun laws.

When hard-working, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens were denied their constitutional and human rights simply because of who they chose to love, you allowed discrimination and hate to overtake your sensibility and relegated them to second-class citizenry, using YOUR “religious freedom” as the rationalization for the hatred you hid behind.

When environmental policies that demanded clean water and clean air were thrown aside in order to coddle to the monetary interests of the polluters, you remained silent.

When policies that assisted the homeless, the elderly, the needy, the hungry, the veterans, the retired, and the sick were systematically nullified and terminated in order to transfer that tax money into the pockets of billionaires, you turned a blind eye to their struggles. 

When children seeking refuge were taken from their parents and housed in cages, instead of outrage you supported the victimization and maltreatment of refugees seeking asylum. 

When the reputation of this country and our commitment to our steadfast allies were trashed in order to appease our most rabid enemies, you supported the traitors who betrayed the country and everything we once stood for. 

In every instance where compassion, civility, sympathy, acceptance, inclusion, humanity, fairness, justice, and respectability were needed, you supported the policies and the people who showed no compassion, no civility, no sympathy, no acceptance, no inclusion, no humanity, no fairness, no justice, and no respectability to anyone whose very existence they disregarded and refused to legitimize. 

So again, when this is finally over, don’t expect to be accepted back into the society of the REAL Americans you stabbed in the back simply to legitimize your own prejudices.

At every turn….at every chance….at every opportunity, when you were called on to support the foundation and pillars that this country was built on, you looked the other way and were willing to support those who were tearing down those pillars and destroying that foundation. You had no qualms about sacrificing this country to justify your own intolerance. When the choice was to support your country and its constitutional guarantees for everyone, or support the traitor who has worked tirelessly to destroy those constitutional guarantees, you chose the corrupt wannabe dictator over the constitution. Please know that there are many of us, this person especially, who truly love this country, and are intelligent enough to see the damage your misguided support of this administration has reaped. I, for one, will NEVER FORGET and NEVER FORGIVE you for the choice you made and what that choice did to this country.’

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Good People Doing Good Things — Dynamic Duos!

It has been a while since I’ve focused exclusively on young people doing good things, but these are always so uplifting … it is so heartwarming when we see kids who already have compassion and genuinely want to find ways to help others.  So, today, I would like to introduce two dynamic duos, brothers and sisters who work together to do good things to help humanity.


Julianna Gouthiere remembers when she was six years old, her mom telling her a story about a time when a fireman gave her a stuffed animal at the scene of a motorcycle accident and the impact it had on her mom’s life.  She turned to her mom and said she wanted to do that — to give stuffed animals to children in hard life situations.

Julianna in 2013 and in 2018

Julianna is eleven now and the founder of Bear Share.  Her project donates new stuffed animals to children going through difficult life situations. As of December 2018, Bear Share has donated over 16,000 stuffed animals in 6 states (Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, and Florida) and 2 countries outside of the United States (Africa and India).  Now that, in itself, is an awesome thing for a young lady of so few years, but wait … there’s more.

Joey in 2015 and 2018

Julianna’s brother, Joey, older by two whole years, saw what his baby sister was doing and wanted to do something of his own, so he founded Geaux Green, to encourage everyone to do their share in taking care of Planet Earth.  In the first few months of his project, he was able to secure a recycling container for his former school, A.C. Steere Elementary. He also adopted the garden there and had regular work days for 3 years where he and others picked up litter and took care of the garden. Hundreds of people have joined Geaux Green and are helping to keep their localities clean.  His short-term goal is for every school in Caddo Parish (Shreveport, Louisiana) to begin recycling and to stop using styrofoam for its meals.

The two together have formed a 501(c)(3) called Geaux Show Lovegeaux show love

Check out their website … I think you’ll be impressed by the sheer energy of these two young siblings!

Now, lest you think these are small things … sure they are, but folks, remember … these kids were only 6 and 8 years old when they started these projects … and already they have made a difference in people’s lives.


And yet another brother/sister dynamic duo are Alexander and Allison Wu of Lexington, Massachusetts.  It all started when 6-year-old Allison learned how to make origami cranes. She made a hundred of them to help Japan recover after a tsunami. For each crane that was donated, a company gave 1 dollar. Japan could use the money for housing, food and other things that they needed.alex and allisonAfterwards, she sold origami crafts at the local Farmer’s Market sale with her friend.  The following year, her brother Alex became her assistant. Alex and Allison worked very well together.  After selling at the local Farmer’s Market for five years in a row, together they decided to help others in need and to raise money for children.origami-1Proceeds from their origami are donated to Housing Families, Inc.,  an organization that provides shelter to homeless families.  Alexander’s goal is not only to raise money, but also to raise awareness about homeless families and their unique struggles.  In addition to selling origami, Alex tutors children at the shelter, organizes a holiday boutique called “Housing Families Holiday Boutique,” where homeless families can select gifts for each other, creates Birthday2Go boxes that include the necessary supplies to host a child’s birthday party, and curates cleaning supply kits for families transitioning into new homes.alex and allison-2Working together, Alexander and Allison have mobilized their peers to support Housing Families Inc. by contributing origami creations and by purchasing items from Origami4Kids to support the cause. More than 200 children and parents were able to celebrate the holidays this past year through the Housing Families Holiday Boutique, 25 children had birthday parties with the Birthday2Go boxes, and ten families cleaned their homes with the cleaning kits.


One thing that stands out about these young people, as well as the ones I have written about in the past, is that at such a young age, they are doing for others, selfless acts of humanity.  Where, do you suppose, they get their values?  I think we also need to give a ‘hats off’ to their parents, for they must be doing something right to be raising such conscientious young people.  If this world stands a chance for survival, our fate is in the hands of young people like these.

Remembering …

Good Monday Morning, friends.  Jolly Monday will return in its usual format next week, but for today, without apology, I am doing something a bit different.  I came across something that I felt was a timely reminder and important for us all to read, to think about, to remember.  This came from a Facebook page I follow, the Jon S. Randal Peace Page.Peace Page

In 2005, a foreign army made its way toward the southern border of the United States.

As the convoy and troops passed Mexican villages on its way to the U.S., people in the villages cheered, waved, honked car horns and rang bells to support the mission of their troops.Mexican armyThe Mexican army, its trucks emblazoned with large Mexican flags, crossed the border at Laredo at dawn and advanced up Interstate 35, arriving in San Antonio later that day. The Mexican Navy would also send ships, buses and helicopters. It was the first Mexican military operation on U.S. soil in 90 years.

Mexico had sent its people to help and feed their neighbors – tens of thousands of homeless and hungry Americans displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

To backtrack, in August 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. It would be one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, and it became obvious very early on that U.S. aid agencies and relief/support was overwhelmed. People in Mexico were horrified to see scenes of floating corpses and botched relief efforts.

Mexican President Vicente Fox would send his condolences to President George W. Bush, saying, “In the name of the people and of the government of Mexico, I assure you of my deepest and most sincere condolences for the devastating effects caused by Hurricane Katrina”. He would also instruct the Secretary of Foreign Affairs its neighbor to the North would be provided with any kind of help that was needed.

“This is just an act of solidarity between two peoples who are brothers,” said Fox’s spokesman, Ruben Aguilar.

The Mexican government, with support from its citizens, would send a 45-vehicle convoy, which included two mobile kitchens, three flatbed trucks carrying mobile water-treatment plants and 15 trailers of bottled water, blankets and applesauce, according to CBS News.

The 195 Mexicans taking part included military specialists, doctors, nurses and engineers.katrina-mex-2According to the Washington Post, the Mexican soldiers set up camp at a former Air Force base outside San Antonio, where they distributed potable water, medical supplies and 7,000 hot meals a day for the next three weeks.

The Mexican army even brought beef to serve their neighbors, but the USDA blocked the distribution. Undeterred, the Mexicans bought their beef locally.

According to former diplomat Stephen R. Kelly, by the time the Mexican army completed their mission, the Mexicans had served 170,000 meals, helped distribute more than 184,000 tons of supplies and conducted more than 500 medical consultations at a time when the United States was struggling to provide aid to its own citizens in devastated areas.katrina-mex.jpgMexican sailors also assisted with clearing downed branches and other storm debris in Biloxi, Mississippi, where they posed for photos with President George W. Bush, who thanked them for their help.

Kelly, who was a former U.S. diplomat who served in Mexico from 2004 to 2006, would say, “this doesn’t sound like the Mexico you’ve been hearing about lately — the one that has been ripping America off, the one that sends rapists and criminals across the border . . . it was an extraordinary gesture” of humanity from our Southern neighbor.

Good People Doing Good Things — Betty Kwan Chinn

You are going to fall in love with today’s ‘good person’ …gateway-to-life.pngHer name is Betty Chinn, and as you may have already guessed, she is originally from China.  I’ll let her tell you about the days of her childhood …

Betty-Chinn“I was born in a very good family. I’m one of 12 kids. And then in the 1960s, they had the Cultural Revolution. My mom was a US citizen and a Western educator. My mom believed in God, religion. Because my parents had religion and education, my family was a target for the government.

I was separated from my family and I lived on the street by myself. I had to wear a sign on my neck that said, ‘I’m a child of the devil.’ I had nothing to eat, hungry all the time. Every time when I asked for food, I was beaten up by people. Torture, separation from my family, abandoned, betrayal … this all happened at a very young age.

My sister took me out of the country … and then to Hong Kong. I did not know my birthday.

I had never been to school. I stayed home. Then I found my best friends on Sesame Street. They were the ones who taught me English.

Each day when I get up in the morning, I get moving, that’s my birthday. I am celebrating my birthday every single day when I can move, and I can breathe. I have my freedom. That’s the way I look at it.”

And now that you know how Ms. Chinn got her start in life, let’s take a look with what she is doing today.  Eventually Betty was sent to live with a sibling in California and settled in the town of Eureka in Humboldt County.  Married to now-retired Humboldt State University physics professor, Leung Chinn, the couple had two sons, and it was this that would spark Betty’s passion for helping others.

One day in 1984, while volunteering at her son’s elementary school, one of his classmates complained that she was always hungry.  Betty began putting an extra sandwich in her son’s lunch for the girl, only to discover a few days later that the girl and her family were homeless, living out of their car. So, Betty began sending extra food for the family, as well.  Although she didn’t realize it yet, she had just started down the path that would last for the rest of her life. She began observing people in the town and was shocked to see how many other people were in the same situation and decided to make it her mission to provide for the less fortunate in her community.

“I’d do anything I could do to make people not hungry. When I even hear somebody say, ‘I’m hungry,’ my stomach hurts. I feel the hunger inside me. I still remember the hunger.”

She used income from her part-time job to buy food, which she would load into her car and deliver to people living on the street, under bridges and highways, anywhere she could find them. At first, she didn’t tell anyone about what she was doing – not even her husband.

“He did ask me, from time to time, ‘Why are you cooking so much food? Why we buy so much food from the supermarket?'”

He eventually found out – ten years later – and is now her biggest supporter!

Though she never publicized what she was doing, Chinn’s efforts were noticed and appreciated. In 2008, she received the Minerva Award for remarkable women from California’s first lady, Maria Shriver, which included a $25,000 prize.  By now, I’m sure you can guess that Betty did not spend that money on new clothes and a lavish vacation, right?  Nope, she built showers!  Yep, you heard me right … showers.  The following March, she opened Eureka’s first (only) free public shower facility, with the mantra “Providing Dignity One Shower at a Time”.

In 2010, she was one of 13 recipients of the 2010 Presidential Citizens Medal from President Barack Obama, the nation’s second highest civilian award. She was honored for showing how one person can touch the lives of hundreds of people whom the rest of the world has forgotten.Chinn-Obama-2010It was at that point that she started dreaming of opening a “Betty’s House,” a type of central location where she could help clients keep warm and fed while connecting them with a variety of services housed under one roof.  Four years later, this dream culminated in the Betty Kwan Chinn Day Center which houses Betty’s commercial kitchen, helps clients connect with services, jobs and housing, while also offering after school care, wellness courses, and educational programming for homeless children.day-center.pngBut Betty didn’t stop there!  In 2016, she opened Betty’s House, a family shelter that provides transitional housing up to 8 families at a time, giving them the stability, services, and support needed to find a permanent place to live. The shelter’s downstairs, operated in partnership with St. Joseph Hospital, offers a space for up to 10 homeless people recently discharged from the hospital to convalesce under a nurse’s 24/7 care.betty-house-front.png

Betty-house-1

Betty-house-2Betty-house-3But we’re still not done …

Also in 2016, as the city of Eureka was working to clear its largest homeless encampment from a greenbelt near the bay, Betty partnered with the Humboldt Coalition for Property Rights to convert some old Connex shipping containers into a housing village, known now as Betty’s Blue Angel Village, that shelters up to 40 people at a time while offering intensive wrap around services aimed at transitioning them into permanent housing situations. It is one of few shelters on the West coast that allows animals.Village-1Village-2There is so much more I could write about Betty Chinn … this woman … this woman is so good, has done so much for her community, that my words feel inadequate to describe her.  Betty arises at 2:07 every morning, ready to go, seven days a week, rain or shine.  I recommend paying a brief visit to her website, The Betty Kwan Chinn Homeless Foundation, where you will find additional information, photo galleries and more.

In 2015, she received yet another award from President Obama …2015-Chinn-ObamaLast week, Ms. Chinn was named one of CNN’s Heroes … an honour well-deserved. In addition to American recognition, Betty has received commendations from China and is hailed as the “Hong Kong Angel.”  And around Humboldt County, she is known as the ‘Chinese Mother Teresa’.  Eureka’s police chief, Andrew Mills, described her as a philanthropic force of nature. “It’s a humbling experience just to sit in her presence.”

Heck, I found it humbling just to research and write about this woman … I am in awe.  If I had a third, I would give this woman three thumbs up, but as I have only two, I shall give her both.  Thank you, Betty Kwan Chinn, for making such a wonderful difference in the lives of so many!  👍👍