Good People Doing Good Things — The Gift Of Self

Follow-Up

I want to start this week’s ‘good people’ with a follow-up to one of last week’s stories.  You may remember the woman who was at the McDonald’s drive-thru with a cranky child in the car and suddenly realized she had left her purse with her money at home.  The young man working the drive-thru did not hesitate but used his own bank card to pay for her order.  Last week, that young man, Wyatt Jones, was the ‘good people’, and in this week’s follow-up, the woman, Brittany Reed, is also a good people, as well as many others. 

Ms. Reed was so grateful to young Wyatt, but he wouldn’t accept any extra money from her.  So, she managed to contact his mother, who told her that Wyatt was working to save money to buy a car.  Ms. Reed jumped into action and started a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $5,000 to help Wyatt buy a car. 

My jaw dropped when I visited the page and found that nearly two thousand people had donated to the fund for a total of $34,820!!!Jones-fundraiserMs. Reed is certainly a good people for wanting to do something kind for Wyatt who had helped her in a time of need, but so are each and every one of those 1,900 people who have donated, some as little as $10, others $100.  I don’t know about you, but it warms my heart to know that so many people do still care about others and want to help out.  Lots of thumbs up in this one!


A good cop

We hear a lot about the bad apples in law enforcement these days, and it’s enough to make us lose faith in those who we are supposed to trust to serve and protect us.  But they aren’t all bad … there are an awful lot of police officers who are doing their best to be members of the community, to protect and instill trust.  So, when I get the chance, I like to shine a light on those officers who have gone the extra mile to do something good.  Today’s shining example of a genuinely good cop is Officer Arthur Parker of Plano, Texas. parker-2Officer Parker retired earlier this year, but he is missed by one and all at Clark High School.  Affectionately known as O.P., he had served for 34 years with the Plano Police Department, 27 of which were spent as a School Resource Officer.  When on duty directing traffic outside the school, his dance moves earned him fame.  Said Parker …

“I had a patrol call and say someone called and said there’s an officer drunk in the street. They got a real call!”

Officer-Parker-1Says the school’s principal, Janice Williams …

“My first impression was ‘oh my gosh, this is gonna be the person that’s gonna be protecting us’ because he did his normal goofy OP (Officer Parker) thing and went into some kind of character, and he’s kept me laughing ever since.”

Officer-Parker-3To keep students motivated, Parker even taught himself a tune on the harmonica for every situation. For a history lesson, he plays Taps. When he’s trying to get kids to move along, he said “Play ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Luke, I am your father, go to class.’”  To the teens at Clark High, he’s a confidant and confidence booster.

According to the students …

“OP, he really tries to find that connection.”

“He’s mostly just taught me how to be confident no matter what.”

“When it’s fun. he’s always fun, when things get real, he’s strict.”

ParkerOfficer Parker may be retiring from the Plano Police Department, but he’s not leaving the students, for even in retirement he plans to use his unique style of humor and dancing to win over students.

“People are saying, hey it’s time to relax. No, it’s not! I’ve got energy. Relax? Please!  If I go to school and volunteer, I have to be there enough times to say, ‘hey, we know who he is! That’s O.P. Old person. Not Officer Parker any longer.’”

Now, Officer Parker didn’t rescue people from burning houses, didn’t donate his life savings to someone in need, so you might be asking yourself why I feature him in this week’s ‘good people’ post.  Well, folks, good people are carers, givers.  Officer Arthur Parker cares about people, particularly those young people at Plano High School, and he gave … continues to give … of the most precious thing any of us have: himself and his time.  It’s easy enough to write a check, or donate online to a worthy cause, and I’m not knocking that … not at all!  But, the most beautiful gift, I think, is the gift of self, of selflessly giving your time to someone who needs it. 

We will never know how much of a difference OP made in the lives of some of those students, but I’m betting that to some, he was literally a lifesaver. 


And a couple of short ones from CNN’s ‘Good Stuff’ newsletter …

Love’s labors found

Tim-GjoraasTim Gjoraas, a 45-year-old teacher from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, knew he may not have long to live. After battling colon cancer for several years, doctors told him it was terminal. So, Gjoraas (first row, black shirt above) decided it was finally time to repaint the outside of his house. It was something his wife had always wanted, and if ever there was a time for fulfilling wishes, it would be now. Originally, he had asked a friend to take care of the task for him next year, with the understanding that Gjoraas, sadly, may not be around to see it through. However, word got out to his community, and more than a dozen people showed up to get the job done while Gjoraas could still enjoy it. They drank craft beers, told stories, and within half a day the house was a beautiful new shade of blue. It’s just one way, Gjoraas says, that his friends and neighbors have stepped up during this difficult time. “My community has really gone to bat for my family and I over and over and over,” he said.

California firefighter Grant Newnom …

… who drove straight from a 60-hour shift with the San Jose Fire Department to help save his girlfriend’s parents’ home from an approaching wildfire.  Elise Jones, his girlfriend, was having dinner with her parents at their home in Santa Rosa when they were ordered to evacuate. When Newnom arrived on the scene, he started moving woodpiles, debris and other flammable materials away from the house and used his chainsaw to cut down nearby trees to protect the home.fireAs he was leaving, a Santa Rosa fire truck drove up. Because of its location, the Santa Rosa fire captain decided that’s where firefighters would make their fight against the impending blaze. Though the rest of the area was sadly not as lucky, the house was saved.


Critters is good people too …

I don’t know who wrote this or what the circumstances were, but it touched my heart.

“Ham saved my life yesterday. He hurt his paw but I’m alive because of his bravery.

I was working on my house where I fell and was critically injured. He ran to me and started howling and crying; he tried to drag me and ripped his foot open. Luckily he got my neighbors attention. I should be dead, but he saved me.HamThank you, Ham. You are my best friend.”


See, friends, you don’t have to be rich or have vast resources to be a good people … all you have to do is care enough to give the gift of self, to give up an hour or two of your valuable time to help someone.  I bet if we all try, we can be good people this week … what do you say?

Good People Doing Good Things

Good people come in all shapes and sizes, all ages, all colours and can be found almost anywhere, but sometimes you have to look for them, for they don’t go about tooting their own horns, making a public spectacle of themselves.  It’s encouraging, I think, to find these people and know that kindness & compassion still exist.


A simple act of kindness

Izayah Edwards is a senior at Merrillville High School in Crown Point, Indiana.  According to his bio on his scholarship application …

“My ultimate goal in life would be to become a pediatrician and help kids in need. I am most passionate about my education, I work hard. I am a great candidate because I am self driven and things that I set out to do, I give my all.”

About a month ago, Isayah began working as a bagger at the Jewel-Osco supermarket in his town.  One day last week, an elderly woman was checking out and as he was bagging her groceries, he saw her struggling … counting and re-counting the bills in her wallet, but coming up a little short.  Izayah, according to a woman who was next in line, didn’t hesitate, but pulled out his own wallet and quietly handed the woman a $20 bill.Izayah-EdwardsThe woman who was next in line snapped a photo and posted it on Facebook, and from there the story went viral.  Last I heard, Indiana State Representative Lisa Beck is planning to honor him at a ceremony with Crown Point’s mayor soon.  This young man is going to be a fine pediatrician someday … I believe in him.


Another young person steps up to the plate

It seems that the youth of today haven’t yet discovered greed and selfishness … let’s hope they never do!

This one happened at the McDonald’s drive-thru in Waynesville, Ohio.  I will let the recipient of the kindness, Brittany Reed, tell you the story …

“Tonight as I was leaving football practice with my three kiddos my 4 year old was so tired he started crying and acting a fool as we were getting in the van. My 7 year old daughter started crying because I told her we were having red potatoes as a side for dinner and clearly she wasn’t a fan sooo I threw my hands up and said FORGET it – McDonald’s tonight!

We go through the drive through, order food, all three kids are now crying for one reason or the other. I go to pay – I LEFT MY PURSE AT HOME. Welp now I wanted to cry. I look at the young man with tears in my eyes just from being stressed and annoyed and say ‘hun I am so sorry but I have to cancel that order I left my purse at home when we went to football tonight’ WITHOUT HESITATION he takes out his wallet and swipes his card before I could even say ‘no I will be right back!’

I was like ‘wait no hun it’s ok I will come back through’ then he replies ‘no it’s totally fine, my pleasure’.

I snapped a quick picture and asked his name to which he replied Wyatt Jones ma’am. I told him I would be right back with cash for him and he tried hard to talk me out of it.Wyatt-JonesI just want his parents to know how KIND and COMPASSIONATE your son was tonight! He made this stressed out momma pause for a moment and realize this is exactly what we parents are trying to do, raise great humans. Well Wyatt sir, you are an amazing human!!!

I went back and handed him cash and had to make him take it because he didn’t want to take more than he had paid but I wanted him to know that when you put good out in the world it comes back to you ten fold!

Wyatt, do not let this world change your kind heart young man for its people like YOU that will change this world for the better!”

I fully agree.


A helping hand from across the border …

The wildfires on the West Coast are devastating … millions of acres of land has been razed, homes destroyed, lives and livestock lost.  Firefighters are exhausted, their numbers nowhere near sufficient to control these horrific fires.  Last Wednesday, help arrived in the form of firefighters from Mexico’s National Forestry Commission.  The five crews from Mexico — a total of 100 firefighters — will help fight the Sequoia Complex Fire, which spans more than 144,000 acres.Mexican-firefighteresAccording to Eduardo Cruz, the Mexican agency’s national fire director …

“Fires do not have borders, fires do not have different languages and cultures. In the end we all speak the same language when it comes to fighting fire.”

I try hard to keep politics out of my Wednesday ‘good people’ posts, but I cannot help mentioning how so many people in this country have followed the rhetoric of the person in the Oval Office in denigrating Mexicans, and yet just look … they are risking their lives, giving of their own time away from their families, to help us save homes, land and people.  Remember this next time you hear someone put down Hispanics or Mexicans … or any other ethnicity.  There are good people everywhere.  For my part, I offer a heartfelt thanks to these wonderful firefighters for their assistance!


Good critters doing good things

Magawa, a giant African pouched rat, has been awarded a British charity’s top civilian award for animal bravery, receiving the honor for searching out unexploded landmines in Cambodia.  The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, PDSA, started as a free veterinary clinic in 1917 and has honored heroic animals since 1943.MagawaMagawa was trained by a Belgian organization that has taught rats to find landmines for more than 20 years. The group, APOPO, works with programs in Cambodia, Angola, Zimbabwe and Mozambique to clear millions of mines left behind from wars and conflicts.

Magawa is the group’s most successful rat, having cleared more than 141,000 square meters of land, the equivalent of some 20 soccer fields.  Before Magawa, all the recipients were dogs.

“It’ll Start Getting Cooler. You Just Watch.”

I’ve written a couple of times in the past week about the West Coast wildfires, but our friend Jeff today shared an open letter to Trump by the esteemed Governor of Washington, Jay Inslee, that pulls no punches, that “tells it like it is”! I have always respected Governor Inslee, and now even more so! Thanks, Jeff, for sharing this letter!

On The Fence Voters

Every day, the current president seems to be on a mission to eliminate as many people as he can in the United States of America. Whether it’s through his immense incompetence and failures to address the worst pandemic in a century, or ignoring the ongoing climate crisis, we can see in real time how devastating another four years of this administration would be to human life and suffering.

Today, I’d like to share a letter written by the current Governor of the state of Washington, Jay Inslee, that was published today on Medium. In it, he addresses the current president in an open letter to lambaste him for his abject failure to even acknowledge there’s a climate crisis emergency in progress.

Open letter to President Donald Trump on the role of climate change in historic wildfires

WA Governor’s Office

WA Governor’s OfficeFollowSep 14·5min read

September 14, 2020

The Honorable…

View original post 942 more words

Going Once, Going Twice …

Arguably the single most important issue facing the world today is climate change.  In the throes of the current pandemic, and amidst the undeniably craziest election the U.S. has ever seen, we in this country seem to have largely forgotten about the damage that we humans have done to this planet over the past 100 years or so.  The wildfires on the West Coast and the onslaught of hurricanes in recent years should have been a wake-up call, but … we are still focusing on other things, while the world burns.  We are nearing the point of no return in our wanton disregard for the environment, yet few seem to care.  Robert Reich speaks wise words …


Trump doesn’t care if wildfires destroy the west – it didn’t vote for him

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The climate crisis is upon us all but the president pursues more rollbacks. This election offers an existential choice

The air outside my window is yellow today. It was orange yesterday. The Air Quality Index is over 200. The Environmental Protection Agency defines this as a “health alert” in which “everyone may experience more serious health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours.” Unfortunately, the index has been over 200 for several days.

The west is burning. Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington are incinerating homes, killing scores of people, sickening many others, causing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, burning entire towns to the ground, consuming millions of acres, and blanketing the western third of the United States with thick, acrid, and dangerous smoke.

Yet the president has said and done almost nothing. A month ago, Trump wanted to protect lives in Oregon and California from “rioters and looters.” He sent federal forces into the streets of Portland and threatened to send them to Oakland and Los Angeles.

Today, Portland is in danger of being burned, and Oakland and Los Angeles are under health alerts. Trump will visit California on Monday, but he has said little.

One reason: these states voted against him in 2016 and he still bears a grudge.

He came close to rejecting California’s request for emergency funding.

“He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him,” said former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor.

Another explanation for Trump’s silence is that the wildfires are tied to human-caused climate change, which Trump has done everything humanly possible to worsen.

Extreme weather disasters are rampaging across America. On Wednesday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released its latest State of the Climate report, finding that just in August, the US was hit by four billion-dollar calamities. In addition to wildfires, there were two enormous hurricanes and an extraordinary Midwest derecho.

These are inconvenient facts for a president who has spent much of his presidency dismantling every major climate and environmental policy he can lay his hands on.

Starting with his unilateral decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump has been the most anti-environmental president in history.

He has called climate change a “hoax.” He has claimed, with no evidence, that windmills cause cancer. He has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide from power plants and from cars and trucks. He has rolled back rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. He has opened more public land to oil and gas drilling.

He has targeted California in particular, revoking the state’s authority to set tougher car emission standards than those required by the federal government.

In all, the Trump administration has reversed, repealed, or otherwise rolled back nearly 70 environmental rules and regulations. More than 30 rollbacks are still in progress.

Now, seven weeks before election day, with much of the nation either aflame or suffering other consequences of climate change, Trump unabashedly defends his record and attacks Joe Biden.

“The core of [Biden’s] economic agenda is a hard-left crusade against American energy,” Trump harrumphed in a Rose Garden speech last month.

Not quite. While Biden has made tackling climate change a centerpiece of his campaign, proposing to invest $2 trillion in a massive green jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure, his ideas are not exactly radical. The money would be used for improving energy efficiency, constructing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and increasing renewable energy from wind, solar, and other technologies.

Biden wants to end the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035, and to bring America to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by no later than 2050. If what is now occurring in the west is any indication, his goals may be too modest. 2050 will be too late.

Nonetheless, Americans have a clear choice. In a few weeks, when they decide whether Trump deserves another four years, climate change will be on the ballot.

The choice shouldn’t be hard to make. Like the coronavirus, the dire consequences of climate change – coupled with Trump’s utter malfeasance – offer unambiguous proof that he couldn’t care less about the public good.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 9/12

Every week, our friend TokyoSand searches high and low for the best political cartoons of the week.  This week was no exception.  TS has had some WordPress issues this week (we can all relate to that, I think!) and so I cannot re-blog her post in the usual way, but can only include a link.  I do hope you’ll pop over and check them out!  Thank you, TS, for all your amazing work!


A roundup of cartoons from the nation’s best editorial cartoonists reacting to this week’s top news stories.

Source: The Week’s Best Cartoons 9/12

While The West Coast Burns …

The West Coast of the United States is on fire.  Property is being devoured by the hungry flames, lives are being lost, people are being uprooted with nowhere to go, having lost everything.  Surely the nation’s leader must be on top of this situation, must be worried and seeking help from all venues to assist in the firefighting, yes?  Well, no … not exactly.  In fact, he hasn’t actually mentioned the fires since a few weeks ago when he taunted California’s Governor Gavin Newsom for not … um … raking the forest properly and threatened to cut off funding to the state.

fires-5Oh, but the so-called leader has many things to draw his attention away from the disaster that is taking lives and leaving thousands homeless!  He is busy throwing away his campaign money on such foolishness as limos and paying his businesses for his own profit.  And he’s very busy watching Fox ‘News’ for 6-9 hours per day, and denigrating Democrats and thinking up new nasty names for us all, but especially his likely successor, Joe Biden.  Oh, and holding mask-free campaign rallies even in cities that have banned large gatherings.

While the nation burns.  The fires that started in California, then spread to Oregon, have also now spread to Washington State.  Consider, if you will, that those three states account for 16% of the U.S. population total, as well as some of the most beautiful natural resources in the nation.  So, why is the person in the White House ignoring the fires in those three states?  For starters …

All three states have Democratic governors:

  • California – Gavin Newsom
  • Oregon – Kate Brown
  • Washington – Jay Inslee

Trump seems to have some misguided notion that democrats are not his problem, that his job is only to represent republicans, and especially those who “like” him.  Another reason …

fires-4The fires are largely a result of climate change.  Trump can still be heard calling climate change a “hoax” (one of his most favourite words) and during his 45-month tenure, he has done everything possible to add to the destruction of our environment.  He has rolled back regulations … nearly every one that was in place to help repair and protect our planet … he has pulled us out of the Paris Climate Accords, letting down every other nation on earth.  He has signed “executive orders” to virtually destroy the planet by the end of the century.  So, to spend time focusing on the fires would be to open himself to intense scrutiny and criticism in his handling of all environmental issues.

And the third reason, I think, is that to care about what is happening on the west coast would require a certain level of empathy, of compassion, and Trump is an emotional black hole when it comes to caring about any but himself.  Even his children and grandchildren are judged by him and found wanting, they may get financial help from him, but they will never receive love or compassion from him.  So, how can we expect him to care about Jacob and Jamie Hyland who just lost their one-year-old child to the wildfires in Washington, while they themselves both suffer serious burns?

fires-7fires-6Or Blake Campos who just lost his house and the family farm to the fires.  Or Dewey and Anabel Bratcher who lost not only their home, but all five of their kitties.  Jesus Mendoza, a 42-year-old tree-trimmer who lost his home, truck, car and all of the equipment he uses for his gardening business. Eileen Menzies Gram, age 78, who lost her ranch, all of her possessions and several of her animals in the fire. The list is endless already and there is no end in sight.  Do you believe for one minute that Donald Trump cares about any of these people?  If you do, please contact me, for I can give you a great deal on a bridge – practically new, barely used!

fires-1fires-2fires-3I have a number of friends who live on the west coast, who are potentially in danger of losing their homes, their livelihoods, perhaps even their lives.  In fact, our friend Jeff Marzick (Brookingslib from On the Fence Voters) lives in Oregon, not too far from the site of one of the fires.  Never having been up close to a wildfire, I can only imagine the trauma, based on the pictures I’ve seen.  For the “leader” of this nation to shrug it off and put all his energies into his re-election bid, his hate campaign against the 60% of the people in the nation who do not support him, is beyond unconscionable.  It is criminal.

We learned this week that Trump intentionally downplayed and blatantly lied about the coronavirus pandemic, calling it a “democratic hoax”.  His greed and corruption, his self-dealing, cost thousands of lives in this nation.  And now, we have wildfires out of control and all he can do is shrug his shoulders and … “Nothing to see here, folks, let’s move on to the Trump Family Circus Show”.

When Trump took that oath of office on January 20, 2017, he swore to uphold the U.S. Constitution and he took his office to support all 330 million people in this country.  Not just whites.  Not just males.  Not just Republicans.  Not just people who “like” him, for whatever reason.  But he has let us down … has let us all down.  Congress cannot step up to the plate and fill in the gaps Trump is leaving, because the majority in the Senate are paid to do Trump’s bidding!  Oh sure, We the People pay their salary, but they are paid much more by big corporations and lobbying groups that see an advantage to keeping Trump in office and therefore they care NOT ONE WHIT about the people in California, Oregon, and Washington.  They care NOT ONE WHIT for the Black people who have been killed by police for no reason other than the colour of their skin.  Like that ‘man’ they have sold their soul for, they have only their own self-interests at heart.

To all our friends on the West Coast … keep safe, and know that you are in my heart and thoughts.