North Carolina Women Roofers Fix Homes Free of Charge
When she heard about a member of her church congregation who couldn't afford to have her roof fixed, Nell Bovender had an idea. It was a Sunday in October 2002, she remembers, and "'Make a Difference' day [at the church] was coming up. I said, 'Why don't we redo a roof?' "
Inspired, the husbands and wives in her Sunday school class quickly agreed. But when it came time to do the project, only classmates Lori Herrick, 48, and Susie Kernodle, 64, showed up.
"We expected Billy Honeycutt (the parishioner in charge of the project) to say, 'Let's wait for the guys,' " recalls Herrick, of Rutherfordton, N.C. "What he said was, 'Pick up your hammers and get to work!' "
Ten years and 67 roofs later, the all-volunteer group of 80 moms, grandmothers and widows called the Women Roofers is still going strong, repairing and replacing roofs for the elderly and disabled in and around Forest City, N.C.
Founded by Herrick and Kernodle after that first project, the group pools their own resources to purchase supplies and fix roofs free of charge.
And they're having a ball doing it: A typical repair takes a day, which leaves a lot of time for girl talk.
"I've often said our grandmothers used to do quilting bees," says Bavender, 59, "and that's what we're doing up there on the roof."
It's especially satisfying to see the fruits of their labor after a hard day's work, adds Herrick.
"Besides being a mother, this is the most rewarding thing I've ever done," she says.
One grateful homeowner is Irenabell MacAdoo, 74, who says her Forest City, N.C., house was sprouting leaks everywhere before the ladies got to work.
Says MacAdoo: "I don't know what I would have done without them."
I was near the end of my parcel delivery run for the day, and I drove past an elderly gentleman who was obviously walking home from town. He was walking slowly and looked tired. I felt sorry for him, but kept on my way, driving to the next house on my run. After I had delivered this parcel, I turned up into the next street which runs up a long and quite steep hill. I noticed that this same gentleman was still walking, by now looking quite weary and puffed. I pulled over, wound my window down and asked if he would like a lift. I don’t normally do this sort of thing because I am a female. He looked most relieved and grateful. I made room for him to sit in the front seat, putting the remaining parcels in the back, and drove him to his house, right up to the front door!! I told him to have a great day, and he replied that he definitely would, now that I had made his day! But the best thing about it was that for the rest of my day, I had a great day!!!! Yes it was a little inconvenient having to rearrange the parcels twice, but seeing that look of absolute gratefulness and thanks in his face made my inconvenience seem trivial in comparison.
Bald 4 Bryan
PHOENIX – Two young girls brave the razor and shave off all their hair in tribute to their cousin.
On Jan. 24, 2012, Harley and Ariana's cousin Bryan, who was "like a brother to them”, died from a rare form of childhood cancer called neuroblastoma. He was only 13 years old.
Now, one year later, his two cousins have bravely stepped forward to go “Bald 4 Bryan”. The 11 and 12 year old girls shaved their heads live on Thursday’s Good Morning Arizona, to honor their cousin’s memory.
This is just the latest step in the girls' fund-raising campaign. Over the past year, the young ladies have already raised $1,400 by asking friends, family members and even strangers for donations.
100 percent of the money they raise will be donated to Phoenix Children’s Hospital Cancer Research Fund.
If you would like to help the girls with their cause, you can donate by sending a check to:
Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation
ATTN: Krisann Diaz - Bald 4 Bryan
2929 East Camelback Road, Suite 122
Phoenix, AZ 85016
You can also donate and find out more information on the website the girls have helped set up.
All donations will receive a tax receipt from Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation.
Harley is a 7th grade Honor student at Greenway Middle School in the Paradise Valley School District. She came up with the idea to shave her head to honor the memory of her cousin, and had said she couldn’t wait to be "bald and beautiful"! Harley plays the flute and wants to be a professional singer and/or fashion designer when she grows up.
Ariana is a 5th grade Honor student at Arrowhead Elementary in the Paradise Valley School District. As soon as she heard Harley's idea she could not wait to be a part of it. Ariana wants to be a brain surgeon when she grows up. She plays the clarinet and bass clarinet.
The girls say their goal is to simply “make a difference.”
Helping Mark Move
Mark lives in my apartment building. Unfortunately Mark suffered from a brain tumor at a young age and it had a big impact on his balance. It's difficult for him to walk, talk, and overall fend for himself. We are hallway buddies and I always say hi when I see him around. I heard he was moving out and he soon came over to ask me to help him with his packing. I walked into his apartment and his clothing and things were poorly packed. I took some time and refolded everything, putting things nicely into his suitcases. I helped bring his stuff down to the street and he wanted to hail a cab to his new apartment. I let him borrow money and rode with him in the cab to his new place and brought his suitcases up to the new apartment. I am glad that I could use my strength to help someone who isn't as fortunate. Hooray for random acts of kindness!
While I was waiting at the bus stop, an elderly man walked past me, and then a minute or so later he came back, said, “Your outfit is too great not to have one,” and gave me a gorgeous pink flower, and walked away. It was the first time I’ve ever received a flower from anyone outside my family and it was wonderful, just wonderful. Such beautiful kindness that I cried in the middle of the street!
I was in Toronto a few weeks ago. As I was standing outside of a Starbucks, I noticed a white BMW stop at the side of the road. The driver stepped out, and at that moment noticed a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk. It was extremely cold that day- I was freezing, and I had a sweater and a winter jacket on. The driver of the BMW walked up to the homeless man who was sleeping, took his jacket off, laid it on top of the man, and left. It definitely was unexpected and so encouraging to see such kindness in action. The driver didn't even know I was watching.
Yesterday night, one of my friends was talking to me about how her hockey pads were giving her back problems and causing knots in her back. She said she had been unable to sleep because of the pain she was dealing with. Today, when I went over to hang out for a bit, I gave her a proper back massage and worked out the knots as best I could. After I left, she took a nap for an hour. She said it was the best she'd slept in more than a week. The smile on her face made my week.
I grow vegetables which I enjoy doing immensely. But I also enjoy sharing them with family and friends. And once I have overwhelmed them with my bounty, I then share anonymously with passersby. I put buckets of zucchini, tomatoes, onions, butternut squash, etc. on my curb with a sign that they are free for the taking. I have had a few people ring my bell and ask to pay which I refuse. And also have had people see me out in the front of my house and thank me for the wonderful veggies. It warms my heart and soul that people have enjoyed them.
Woman Who Lost Her Legs in Tornado Starts Foundation Helps Others
When a storm of deadly twisters ravaged Indiana in March 2012, Stephanie Decker saved her two kids – but lost both her legs.
Now, less than a year after the tragedy, Decker, 38 – who describes the sacrifice as a "small price to pay" for her kids' safety – is already up on prosthetic legs thanks to countless hours of grueling physical therapy. She has barely let the traumatic experience slow her down – and instead created the Stephanie Decker Foundation that aims to help kids with disabilities.
"I'm a better person now," says Decker. "Life goes on."
The tornado that ripped through Henryville leveled the Deckers' house on top of Stephanie as she covered son Dominic, 9, and daughter Reese, 6. A steel beam crashed down on top of the three of them, but her children escaped the disaster without a scratch.
"As parents, we sacrifice for our kids," says Decker.
These days, her routine at home is pretty similar to what it used to be. "The only difference is I wake up in the morning and I put legs on," she says. "There are days that I go 'This is hard, it hurts.' But all I have to do is take one look at my kids and it's enough. I wasn't going to let this stop me."
That determination is clear in Decker, who went as high up as President Obama to help her access a military grade water resistant prosthetic leg so she can swim with her children.
"Stephanie's never been one to take no for an answer," says her husband Joe, a high school math teacher. "I'm so thankful I didn't get to the house and find my wife and kids dead. Stephanie's so strong, she's the core of our family."
Though the kids still have nightmares, the Decker family is getting better every day, and are grateful to be together.
The Deckers' son, Dominic, says getting past the tragedy took a bit of time. "My mom and dad made us take baby steps," he says. "We'd sleep in their bed, and then sleep right by their bed, and then sleep on the couch and then sleep in the front room and then sleep upstairs."
Asked if his mom is a hero, he says, "Yeah, because she saved me."
And Decker aims to help others, too.
In December, her fledging foundation received a $10,000 donation from Shutterfly during an appearance on Ellen DeGeneres's show. She's also recently partnered with NubAbility Athletics – which helps kids with congenital and traumatic amputations compete in sports – to set up scholarships for kids to attend their sports camps.
"I should have been dead in 15 minutes," says Decker. "But I told my kids I was going to be here and that everything was going to be okay."
High School Senior Austin Mobley Cares for Mom Who Has Dementia
Austin Mobley was just 6 when his mom, Tracy, asked if he knew the owner of a black-and-white dog running around their yard. "Mom," he said, laughing, "that's Daisy," their longtime family pet.
Twelve years later, Austin cooks, balances the checkbook, drives Tracy on errands from their two-bedroom apartment in Buffalo, Mo., and manages his 48-year-old mother's medication for the dementia diagnosed when she was 36.
"The hardest thing for me," says Austin, 18, "is not knowing what an actual mom is."
Every morning the high school senior rises at 6:30 a.m., makes sure his mom takes her meds – Namenda for dementia, Valium for paranoia, Prozac for depression – and then gets a ride to school.
After school, he heads home, does his homework and gets to his other job – paying bills, picking up around the house and helping Tracy cook a dinner of spaghetti, steak or pork chops
At night, he makes sure Tracy settles under a blanket in a recliner and gives her a bedtime hug; she keeps the TV on all night because it soothes her.
That's on a good day.
Mail carrier performs CPR on unconscious dog trapped in house fire
EVANS CITY, Pa. — A mail carrier is being credited with rescuing a dog from a burning home in Evans City Friday morning.
Firefighters were called to the home on Pioneer Road about 10:30 a.m. when the mail carrier, Jo Amerson, noticed the flames.
Channel 11’s Amy Marcinkiewicz reported that Amerson knocked out windows of the house in an effort to make sure no one was trapped inside.
Amerson said she found an unconscious dog inside the house, performed CPR and brought the dog back to life.
“It’s all in a day’s work. I did whatever everyone would do,” Amerson said. “It’s a life, whether it’s a dog, cat or any animal.”
The homeowner and her daughter left the house moments before the fire started, officials said.
The homeowner told Marcinkiewicz that she was with her 3-year-old daughter at her doctor’s appointment.
The woman also said she and her daughter lost everything in the fire because they don’t have insurance.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Toledo, Ohio police veteran surprises needy family with food
TOLEDO -- When Toledo Police Officer Melvin Woods responded to an attempted suicide call, he never imagined what the impact of what he was responding to would make.
When he arrived at the scene Saturday, he found a woman on the brink of taking her own life. "She told me that her and her husband wasn't working." said Woods. "They didn't have no food in the house. The kids was hungry."
After one stressful day too many, Faith Dashner had had enough. "I just wanted to say goodbye world. I don't want to be here. I'm done," said Faith, who was threatening to end her life by taking a bottle's worth of prescription pills.
She told Officer Woods that she was upset because they had no money for food.
"They said they hadn't had food in the house for four or five days. I said, 'How are you feeding the kids?' She said, 'we're not.' That's when the little one told me she hadn't eaten in two days," explained Woods.
After leaving the house, Woods decided he wasn't going to let the story end there. He said something had to be done, starting at the grocery store.
After spending $100 on groceries at Kroger, he then went to his own freezer and took out roasts, steaks and vegetables. On his day off, Woods took all the food and hand delivered it to the front door of the Dashner family.
Woods recalls arriving at the home, "I knocked on the door and said remember me? Oh yes. I said I got some food out here for you guys."
Faith Dashner and her entire family were shocked. "I gave him a bear hug. I was crying. The whole family was crying," admits Faith.
She says the gesture is something that has taught her a lesson in life about having faith in human nature. "Mel has opened our eyes a lot," she said.
As for Woods, a 29-year veteran of the Toledo Police Department, he hopes this may inspire others to pay it forward, and says he was only doing the right thing. "I believe it was something I was supposed to do...from my heart," said Melvin.
The family has received an outcry of support. So much so that they are donating anything in excess to other family members that are in need.
I just recently moved to a new apartment complex and found out that I have an amazing neighbor. Bobby's retired and lost his wife last year. He's done many kind acts for me, including bringing me a loaf of banana nut bread he'd just taken out of the oven on the day I moved in. This was his first Valentine's Day without his wife, Evelyn. She spoke her last words to him on Valentines Day 2011 so he was having a tough time of it. But, even in his grief, he knocked on my door and presented a box of chocolates to me. He said he'd always given a box to his wife and this year he was giving them to me. He is a precious man!
Clearwater Fire crew saves ducklings
CLEARWATER, FL - When a mother duck called for help, the Clearwater firefighters answered.
The Clearwater Fire Department officials say a citizen called them Monday afternoon and told them about a duck standing over a drain on Court Street and making noises of distress.
It turned out the ducklings were trapped in the drain under the grated cover. The firefighters got them out in no time, according to the Department's report.
The mother duck and six babies seem to be doing fine.