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



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.”


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 — 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


Firefighter gives CPR to rescued dog … the dog lived!

tired firefighters


Little Donnie and 2 of His 3,500 Lawsuits!

hotelTrump International Hotel, currently under construction in Washington, D.C., is having a difficult time finding restaurateurs willing to open a restaurant in the hotel.  Two who had previously committed, have since backed out, and guess what?  Donald Trump is suing them both!


AndresThe first is chef Jose Andres, who had planned to open a Spanish restaurant in the Trump International Hotel, but pulled out after hearing Trump’s rhetoric about Mexican immigrants.  Andres’ argument is that he would be hard-pressed to find staff willing to work in a Trump facility.  Andres owns 8 other restaurants in the D.C. area plus a food truck, and his staff is 71% Hispanic.  Lest you think Andres is some fly-by-night chef just trying to strike a blow against Trump, this man is well-known and well-respected within the food community.  He owns restaurants in Washington DC, Beverly Hills, Las Vegas, South Beach, Dorado and Philadelphia. Andrés is chair of the advisory board for LA Kitchen, a social enterprise in Los Angeles, California that works to reduce food waste, provide job training, and increase access to nutritious food.  He has also received the following recognitions and awards:

  • Best Chef of the Mid-Atlantic Region (James Beard Foundation, 2003)
  • Chef of the Year (Bon Appetit, 2004)
  • Saveur 100 List (Saveur, 2004)
  • Men of the Year (GQ Magazine, 2009)
  • Orden de las Artes y las Letras de España – Order of Arts and Letters (Cabinet of Spain, 2010)
  • Vilcek Prize in Culinary Arts (2010)
  • Outstanding Chef (James Beard Foundation, 2011)
  • One of the world’s 100 most influential people (Time Magazine, 2012)

Andres, born in Mieres, Spain, earned his American citizenship in December 2013.

zakarian The second being sued by da trumpeter is chef Geoffrey Zakarian, of Food Network fame.  Zakarian is an Armenian-American, Iron Chef, restaurateur, television personality and author. He is the executive chef of several restaurants in New York City, Atlantic City and Miami.  He is featured on several television programs on the Food Network, including Chopped and in 2011, The Next Iron Chef, where he won the right to join Iron Chef America.

Zakarian, the chef and a partner at the Lambs Club and other Manhattan restaurants, was to open a branch of the National, his brasserie-style restaurant in Midtown, in the new hotel. But in 2015, he said in a written statement that “the recent statements surrounding Mexican immigrants by Donald Trump do not in any way align with my personal core values.”  I imagine this is tough for da trumpeter to understand, because it contains a word that is not in his vocabulary:  values.  Money is the only thing Mr. Trump values.

Di Toro.jpgNow, for the interesting part.  The judge in the Trump vs Andres case is D.C. Superior Court Judge Jennifer Di Toro, appointed to the Superior Court in 2011 by President Obama.  I wonder if Trump will try to get the judge to recuse herself, as he did U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel?  Although Judge Di Toro is of Italian, not Hispanic ancestry, there is no doubt in my mind that da trumpeter will hold that against her if it appears likely that she will rule in favour of Andres.  After all, we did fight the Italians in World War II.  Or perhaps he will ask her to step down based on the fact that she is a member of the LGBT community.  Not only that, but she is a woman … GASP … that is 3 strikes against her right there!  The judge in Zakarian’s case is District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman.  I know very little about Judge Holeman, but I am encouraged that he ordered Trump to testify in the case.

So, apparently Mr. Trump, in addition to all his other time-consuming activities, such as running businesses, dealing with his Trump University lawsuit, dealing with these two lawsuits, and running a political campaign, if one calls it that, will also be seeking other restauranteurs to take up residence in his new hotel.  It seems like a real bargain, with rent starting at only $28,750 per month.  Trump International Hotel is scheduled to open in September, and given the current events, I will not be surprised if either the opening is delayed or it opens with no restaurants.  Interesting how one’s words can sometimes come back to haunt them, isn’t it?  My hats off to both Mr. Andres and Mr. Zakarian for having the courage to follow their convictions and for having values.

ppgirlTrump apparently likes lawsuits.  He has been involved in some 3,500 over the past few decades, has become either the plaintiff or defendant in 70 just since he announced his intent to run for president last June, and still has at least 50 older suits still pending.  I have said before that the man has very thin skin and cannot accept criticism … any criticism!  I keep trying to find a way to make my blog or my OpEds in other publications come to his attention so he can sue me!  I will laugh my fool head of because a) I am doing nothing more than exerting my 1st Amendment rights, and b) as my late husband always said, “you can’t get blood out of a turnip”!  Bring it on, li’l Donnie … bring it on!