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EVEN IN HIS PASSING, HE WILL BE REMEMBERED A SELFLESS HERO

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This month started with a tragic story coming out of Canada, when the Humboldt Junior Hockey team bus was involved in an accident that killed 15 of the passengers and left dozens others injured. One of those injured players was Logan Boulet, he was a defensemen from Lethenridge but will certainly be remembered as much more, he will be remembered as a hero.

Immediately following the crash Logan was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support. While there the hospital was quickly at work trying to find positive matches for his organs. In a statement released by his family, they stated that Logan made it a point to sign his donor card as soon as he turned 21. Logan’s selflessness payed off as the hospital was able to find 6 positive matches for his organs overnight. In the ultimate act of heroism Logan’s life was lost but at least six others were saved and as his dad said even in his passing, “he will be a selfless hero.” Not only did Logan directly save the lives of 6 individuals, he inspired a community to save the lives of countless others. In an average week about 425 people sign up to be organ donors in Alberta, the weekend following Logans heroic act..over 3,000. His actions have sent a ripple effect that will continue to touch and save the lives of others.

An event as severe as this is truly a nightmare and something that will not be moved on from quickly. One thing that is for sure is, that Logan will forever be remembered and recognized as a hero.

A 16 YEAR OLD BOY HELPING EMPLOY THE HOMELESS

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Our nation has so much access to information and technology and resources, all we could ever want is right at our fingertips. The problem is, we do not always take advantage of it the way we should. Also, far to often a good idea is presented or created, but it is never seen through, the idea is like our attention span, short lived and bouncing from one thing to another. When one is able to overcome what now seems like social norms, incredible things can happen. At 16 years old, Kevin Barber listened to TED talk and like so many, immediately became inspired. It was a talk about a program in Albuquerque, New Mexico, that employed the homeless to help clean up the streets. "It just looked really simple, and the statistics were staggering," Kevin thought. That thought developed into an idea, and then Kevin followed through.

With the help of his Mother, Kevin developed his idea into a program that they felt would work, and then reached out to the city government to start a trial run for this homeless program. It’s called “Wheels of Change”. Participants are picked up from the local homeless shelters in a van and then hit the streets, cleaning up San Diego one piece of trash at a time. San Diego has the fourth largest homeless population in America, and with the incredibly positive response the program has received from the community, the waiting list to be able to participate grows every day. Bob McElroy who works with the homeless through the non-profit Alpha Project says the impact the program has had on them is clear by just looking at the faces of the individuals associated. “It is so medicinal for our folks who have always been marginalized and irrelevant.”

Kevin is already looking to expand the program, adding more vans, to help as many homeless as they can. Just because an idea seems too good to be true, doesn’t mean it can’t become a reality. All it takes is the right person acting as the driving force, And Kevin Barber is that right person.

YOUNG LADY SPENDS HER BIRTHDAY HELPING THE HOMELESS, AND WOULDN'T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY

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Jordyn Burch embodies everything we are trying to highlight in this world and embodies someone who truly deserves to be recognized. By doing things with the sole purpose of helping those in need and bringing a community closer together rather than further separating it, one can create a contagious energy that trickles down into those impacted by one's generosity and continues to spread. These are the stories that need to be shared.

A story of a young lady who wanted nothing more for her birthday than to give back to the homeless and unsheltered in her community. She wasn’t exactly sure what shape that would take but ever since she saw the conditions in which so many people in her community lived she knew she had to do something. Almost as if it was fate, she heard about Central Louisiana Homeless Coalition's Freeze to the Finish 5k happening two days after her birthday and knew that was what she wanted to do to celebrate. Jordyn could barely contain her excitement and began raising money. Going through her community doing her part to bring everyone together. By race day, two days after her birthday, she had raised over $3,000 to help the homeless in her community. The Coalition was so grateful for the money she had raised they presented her with a certificate to commemorate her efforts, and some cupcakes too to help celebrate her big day.  Jordyn Burch is eight years old, eight years and this special young lady chose to spend her birthday and the weeks leading up to it giving back to individuals in her community who truly were in need. “When I was 6, me and my family went to New Orleans and I saw lots of homeless people and it broke my heart..”

Jodryn has taught us all that it does not matter your age, or size, or resources, everyone can do things to help others and bring their communities closer together. These are the stories that should be shared with our children, these are the people that should be going ‘viral’. Jordyn Burch you inspire us all to be better people, we are so happy to share your story.

74-YEAR-OLD MAN HITS THE STREETS TO SAVE HIS WIFE

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It’s amazing to see the lengths people will go through to help the ones they love, and Wayne Winters is a great example. The 74 year-old from Farr West, Utah found himself in a desperate state to help save his wife, who was diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failures. Typically, this is something you would wait for through the hospital but Mr. Winters had other ideas, “I didn’t know what to do. I felt like i needed to do something.”

Like a scene out of a movie, Wayne strapped on a sandwich board sign that read, “Need Kidney 4 Wife” and his phone number. With his sign and slacks Wayne walked along busy roads for miles, day after day in search of the kidney to save his best friend. After weeks, Wayne received the call he had been waiting for. His wife is now recovering from transplant surgery. Winters told the local tv station, “I will have my wife back the way she was, normal, helping people, loving people; she likes to serve other people.” It certainly seems that her kindness has rubbed off on Wayne, as he now says he will keep walking and finding donors, making it his ‘life mission’ to help those in need.

SAVING A LIFE, ONE ANIMAL AT A TIME

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Deming Animal Guardians (DAGs) has been addressing the needs of unwanted or abused pets, as well as the care and well being of pets in low-income households, for the past 25 years. Their impact has been felt throughout Luna County, New Mexico, and has even inspired others to chip in. However, one individual, Mike Reitz, has done far more than just chip in.

Mike and his wife Lisa both have a passion for animals, and always want to do more for them. They have been working with animals for some time at their Sunshine Grooming business, but have since expanded their efforts to helping animals in need. They want to give every animal born in their area a fighting chance. To do this, they have began developing their property into a facility to house and rehome unwanted, abused and abandoned pets. Mike has worked endlessly setting up the no-kill shelter and taking in animals all over Deming and Luna Counties. Mike and Lisa have placed over 1,000 pets into loving and caring homes, and the number is still growing. Mike has not stopped driving this forward, as he continues to build more shelters and make room for more animals needing help.

The community has noticed Mike’s efforts, and supports him however they can. Mike says, “There are just too many people to mention, but we greatly appreciate the support. We have no running costs and it’s been strictly volunteer.” Mike knows how important any and all support and donations are. To ensure they are getting the most out of the contributions of others, he oversees and provides the energy for all advancements. Along with finding new homes for animals in need, the Reitz’s work closely with DAGs to offer support to low-income families, so that they help create a better life for the animals that are already part of a loving household. Together they have distributed over 14,000 lbs of emergency food to animal owners in need, and this has only been possible through the donations they have received.

Mike, we recognize your endless compassion and hard work towards providing better lives for the animals of your community, as well as inspiring others to give back and donate the way they have!

MAN SKIPS AN INTERVIEW TO SAVE A STRANGER


These days, job interviews are not the easiest thing to come by. They are especially difficult when you've been out of prison for only seven days, but Aaron Tucker came out of jail with a new perspective on life, and he was not going to let his past put limitations on his future.

Three weeks after being sentenced, he received a call that his son was born. “I heard my son crying in the background, and right then and there I was like, 'I'm changing my life’.” When he was released, he knew that if he worked hard things would start working in his favor, and he would be able to provide for his son.

Just a week after his release, Aaron started realizing the benefits of this new outlook on life as he put on a dress shirt he received from a halfway home and got on the bus for a job interview. Somewhere along the route, however, the bus driver came to a sudden stop as a car in front of them hit a tree and flipped. Aaron jolted up and asked the driver if he was going to stop to help the driver. "No, but if you get out I'm going to leave,” the driver replied. Without hesitation, Aaron jumped off the bus and sprinted over to the man, whose car was now lying upside down. When he got there the man had already lost a lot of blood from his head, and his bleeding showed no signs of slowing. Aaron pulled the man from the car, as it was now starting to catch fire, and took off his dress shirt to control the man's bleeding. "You're going to be all right," Aaron kept reminding the man as they lay together in the middle of the street. "Your family wants to see you. Keep your eyes open." He continued to lie next to the man, encouraging him and controlling the bleeding until first responders showed up. When they did arrive, Aaron stayed near, grasping the man's arm as they gave him oxygen. “I just wanted to make sure he was alright, and that's what I did,” Aaron said.

Unfortunately, Aaron missed his job interview, but, in his mind, he knew that jobs come and go, but “a life is one time thing." In the end, however, he was rewarded for doing the right thing, as the local community noticed his heroic actions and set up a gofundme page for Aaron and his son. A local businessman gave him a tailored suit to wear to future job interview, and Aaron has since received lots of job offers.

When Aaron was in jail he knew he was going to be the best role model he could be for his son when his sentence was done. He started by getting his GED and becoming a tutor for other inmates while serving, and certainly continued to be a role model by putting his life on hold to help save a stranger's life. We recognize you, Aaron, for your selfless act.


A BLACKSMITH CHANGES A LIFE IN A SINGLE MOMENT


In a 19th century blacksmith shop, Rob Lyon was working away at his forge when a little boy ran up, grabbed his leg and asked to be his friend. Without a second thought Mr. Lyon told the little boy that it would be his honor. He had no idea who the little boy was, or the impact this would have on him. The boy was Will Mitcham, a hyperactive and friendly child who has been diagnosed with autism. His mother was often over-protective, and worried that people did not always understand her son and were not very sensitive towards him. She feared that he would not be accepted. That all changed with Mr. Lyon's act of kindness and compassion.

After agreeing to befriend the young boy, Rob asked Ms. Mitcham if he could stay and help him finish his work. The blacksmith spent the rest of the day patiently teaching and showing Will the tricks of his trade. It was another day at work for Mr. Lyon, with nice company, but for Will and his mom it left them a new perspective on life. “His kindness to my son made me realize that I didn’t need to be as protective of my son as I had been – that by trying to shield him from potential hurt, I was actually robbing him of precious opportunities ... to meet and interact with some incredible people.”

Not only did it impact his mom in this way, it also had a huge impact on Will himself, who has made it a part of his everyday life to pay it forward. “He taught me to give kids who have special needs a lot more patience and to teach them the best you can,” said Will. “He also taught me that everyone is worth the same, no matter who they are or what they can do. He made me feel happy, because he became my friend and taught me a lot about how to make people feel important and to be kind. He also taught me respect, patience and kindness, and let me help out in the forge, which was something that I always wanted to do and still want to do.”

Will was able to go back to that the Old Sturbridge Village blacksmith shop and thank his friend for his actions some years ago. Rob was very humbled by the story and felt honored to have been able to have the impact he has had on Will’s life. Although many kids have made their rounds in the Old Sturbridge Village blacksmith shop, none will hold onto the memory the way will has, “After meeting the blacksmith, I felt like somebody finally saw me for who I was, and I still feel like I matter because of him. People with autism should not be made fun of, but they should be given patience and shown kindness. I wish that more people were like the blacksmith.” We recognize both Mr. Lyon for his incredible act of compassion, as well as Will, for his ability to use it as a constant reminder to pay it forward and give back.

MAN SENDS STRANGER BACK TO SCHOOL


Not everyone leaves a lasting impression with those they meet, and that's to be expected. We can be so consumed in our own lives or distractions that face-to-face interactions sometimes go in one ear and out the other. But when someone takes the time to listen to someone else that crosses their path, and sympathize with them, they allow an impression to be made. When Donald Carter allowed a Popeyes employee to make an impression on him, it was a lasting one.

Carter got home late from work and hadn’t make plans for dinner, so he made an irregular trip to his neighborhood Popeyes where Shajuana Mays was waiting to help at the drive-thru. She was polite and engaging, with a special spark that he knew was bound for bigger and better things. He asked her what she wanted to do in life, and she told him she wanted to go back to school to become a nurse. He got is chicken and took it home to eat. As he sat there and ate he had a thought. “What if I pay for this girls school?” Carter knew he could not do it alone, but he also knew that he had 1,300 Facebook friends, and with a little help he could make this possible. So he reached out to his friends and in a week was able to raise over $13,000 for a complete stranger. It was far greater than his initial benchmark, but the community came together in a way that he could have never expected.

Shajuana had encountered setbacks in her life that put her dream on hold but this act left her speechless. Carter went on to say, “Any obstacles you have, we have a whole city and maybe even a nation to remove whatever roadblocks there are. “This is not about us, it’s about you… it’s about the community supporting somebody who wants to do better.” Well, we do recognize you Donald Carter, for your incredible act of compassion to improve the life of a stranger.

FIREFIGHTER'S PRAYERS ARE ANSWERED AFTER DELIVERING A BABY ON A CALL


After a slow day at the station, a Myrtle Beach firefighter went on a call that would forever change his life. A women complaining of stomach pain developed into a serious call as the women began giving birth. “We got her some oxygen, started some IVs and literally as we were getting ready to leave the parking lot in the ambulance, my partner said, ‘We're about to deliver a baby right here.' We had no time to prepare. Before we could do anything — we hadn't even cut her clothes — Gracie came right out. Immediately she was handed to me."

Marc Hadden had been with the fire department for 20 years and never delivered a baby until this fateful day. They got the mom and baby to the hospital safely and both were doing well. Had that been the end of it, Hadden would have had a day he would not forget for a long long time. However, it turned into one he would remember with great clarity for the rest of his life.

Marc and his wife had been praying for a third child but were not being successful. At the hospital, Hadden learned that the mother wanted to put the baby up for adoption immediately. It was an answered prayer in the most unexpected manner. After talking to his wife, the Hadden’s brought Gracie home two days later, and she's forever part of their family now. We recognize you, Marc Hadden.

MAN DONATES KIDNEY TO WIFE ON 20TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY


Celebrating a 20th wedding anniversary is a big deal in itself, to be able to look back on 20 years of memories that one another were able to share is truly a special connection that is not just given. It requires hard work and whole lot of love to hold that together. Traditionally, at this momentous point in a relationship a husband may spring for a beautiful set of china for his wife to impress her family and friends on special occasions. For Scott Chafain that just would not do. When he said his vows 20 years ago, he intended to keep them for as long as he live, and that is just what he is doing. In ‘sickness’ and in health he will be there for his wife Cindy.


Cindy, 45, has a polycystic kidney disease that has left her surviving on dialysis. She was diagnosed with the disease when she was just 22 but really started to feel the effects when she was 38, by 40 she was on a transplant list. Scott went right in to see if he was a match. As it turns out he was. Expectedly, Cindy was not ready to make that leap, asking for a donation is no easy task, and when the one you love most is involved it becomes even harder. However, her health declined, dialysis left her in pain and feeling as if she was unable to do her job as a mother. Scott began pushing the issue and doing his part encouraging her to take the next step.  When she was finally ready, Scott was already waiting. Cindy was overcome with emotion by the purest act of love she could have ever imagined. Certainly a hard gift to follow, however, it is one that will be enjoyed by Scott, Cindy and their children for a lifetime to come.