I have to confess that when I heard about this story, I figured that "management" would come up with a million and one reasons why a wedding couldn't be performed at the airport. I am beyond happy to hear that, instead of hendering the process, they helped make it happen. And how wonderful to see a couple to understands that the important thing is to be together -- not where the wedding takes place. Gives me hope....
Navy Sailor Marries High-School Sweetheart in Reno Airport
A U.S. Navy sailor told his high school sweetheart he wanted to marry her the moment he laid eyes on her after an 11-month deployment off the coast of war-torn Syria.
Seaman Apprentice Dylan Ruffer got his wish Tuesday shortly after stepping off a plane at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Ruffer and Madison Meinhardt, both 19, tied the knot just after midnight under a tulle-covered arch in front of the arrivals escalators. More than 200 invited guests, passengers and others looked on.
"Seeing her for the first time, it was amazing," Ruffer told reporters.
A reception followed in the baggage claim area.
"We were expecting a little wedding in the corner," Meinhardt said. "This is definitely more than we could have ever asked for."
The couple, who met at Chester High School in Northern California, initially planned to marry in October but had to postpone the wedding when Ruffer's deployment was extended, according to KOLO-TV.
The bride inquired about the possibility of an airport wedding about three weeks ago, and businesses and community members quickly rallied around the plan. The Peppermill casino offered a spa package so the bride could prepare, while the Eldorado casino donated a honeymoon suite and limousine.
The airport catering service prepared food for the reception, which was held in a fully decorated section of the baggage claim area and featured a deejay.
"A lot of people were absolutely stunned to see a wedding in the terminal," airport spokesman Brian Kulpin said. "It's not something you see in the airport every day."
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Oral Lee Brown Has Sent More than 150 Children to College
Back in 1987, Oral Lee Brown, an Oakland, Calif., realtor, made a seemingly crazy decision.
She decided to offer 23 first-grade children at Brookfield Elementary School a full-ride to college with no realistic expectations that they would even graduate from high school.
In a school district with a 54 percent high school graduation rate, Browns' kids are beating the odds. Out of that first group of 23, 19 graduated from high school and enrolled in college.
"They didn't want to fail me," she says of their success. "I believe love can turn anything around."
Brown, 68, later established the Oral Lee Brown Foundation. To date 90 to 95 percent of her classes have graduated, with around 150 kids going to college.
"I don’t have a magic wand," she says. "It is hard work, determination and love. I can't allow mine to fail."
Michael Tatmon, 32, is one of her grateful kids from that first class.
"Ms. Brown was always in my corner," says Tatmon, who graduated from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., with a degree in criminal justice in 2007 and a BA in criminology. "I appreciate her guidance, her wisdom. She taught us you can make it out of the hood."
She was also there for them on a personal level, he says.
"She was like a mother," says Tatmon, who recently started his own clothing, marketing and promotion company. "Out of my family members, I can say I'm one of the few who have never been in jail. That's a result of Ms. Brown in my life."
It all began when a young girl asked Brown for a quarter outside of a grocery store. Instead, she offered to take her inside and buy her something. Expecting her to pick out candy, the girl bought bread, bologna and other sandwich supplies.
Brown kept returning to the store to look for her. Then she decided to try the local elementary school. Three girls were absent from the two first-grade classes that day.
"The principal said, 'I'll give you a call when all the kids are there,'" Brown recalls. "So I get a phone call that all students are here today and I went through thinking I'd finally see her."
"So I just blurted out, 'Can I adopt one of the classes?'" she says. "'Give me the class you don't think will make it.'"
Brown also started Saturday school for the children and is trying to raise money to start a boarding school that will be a safe haven for these children, housing about 480 students.
"With the boarding school, my kids will be safe, with no bullets coming into their dorm," she says.
LaTosha Hunter, 32, who received a bachelor of arts degree in accounting from Alcorn State University in Lorman, Miss., says she wouldn't be the person he is today without Brown.
"Everyone has a purpose in life," she says. "And her purpose was that we had a better life."
People Pets Blind Dog and His Guide Brother Find Forever Home
... And they lived happily ever after!
Jeffrey and Jermaine, the two homeless pups whose story melted hearts when a photograph of them hugging each other in their shelter pen went viral, have found a place to spend forever.
The no-kill animal shelter Operation Ava sorted through more than 10,000 adoptions applications for the 8-month-old pups, who are inseparable because Jeffrey is blind and his brother, Jermaine, is his loyal guide dog. The lucky new owners: Jonathan Hochman and his wife, Veronica McKee.
According to a rep for the shelter, the couple, who live in Springfield, Pa., had been looking to adopt a pair of shelter dogs, as they have a big backyard and are not planning on children.
They will bring the dogs to their new home on Monday.
"I thought these are the cutest dogs I've ever seen,” McKee told Today of the moment she saw the photo. "They're incredibly sweet, but they still have that sibling rivalry. There's this sharing thing. It's pretty funny."
The pit bull-Lab mixes, who now have a feline sibling in McKee and Hochman's cat Blabbus, were found on the streets of Philadelphia in October.
(CBS) – A dog missing since the tornado tore through downstate Washington more than a week ago has been re-united with his owner, reports WBBM’s Mike Krauser.
His name is Dexter, a six-month old pit bull and he has been missed by his owner Jacob Montgomery, an MP in the Illinois National Guard whose third floor apartment was torn apart by the tornado.
He posted an ad online with a lot of pictures asking that if anyone sees Dexter to contact him.
Dexter was found Tuesday morning in the rubble alive. Comparing the before and after pictures he has obviously lost a lot of weight and his ribs are showing. He was being checked out by a vet and has been reunited with his owner.
Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick Prepare 1,000 ‘Thanksgiving To-Go Meals’
You could say that Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick are giving back before giving thanks.
On Nov. 24, the celebrity couple joined other volunteers (including chefs David Burke, Sunny Anderson, and Mario Batali) at the Food Bank For New York City in Harlem to prepare 1,000 Thanksgiving meals for high-need communities in the area.
Sedgwick and Bacon, who are actively involved in the food bank, say the cause is close to their hearts—and home. “We only live a few blocks from here and the idea that we have so much and there’s 1 out of 5 people in New York using food bank services is kind of staggering,” Bacon told PEOPLE.
With new challenges following government funding cuts that cost the city the equivalent of 76 million meals, Sedgwick says that Thanksgiving won’t be the same for many. “I remember coming here last year and things were rough and they were really struggling to feed the amount of people that were coming in,” she said. “I can only imagine this year, it must be a devastating loss.”
Before strapping on their chef’s hats and aprons, the couple also talked about their own Thanksgiving plans: They will once again be hosting both of their families, which has become an annual tradition.
“We have a great Bacon family Thanksgiving, we’ve been doing it forever,” said Sedgwick.
As for the meal, she admitted that she’s partial to dark turkey meat and gushed about her love of vegetables. “I heard that you don’t start enjoying Brussels sprouts until you’re an adult and let me say that’s one of the good things about getting older,” she said.
Sedgwick, who sliced off the tip of finger chopping kale this summer, said she will likely stay out of the kitchen, but that daughter Sosie, who was just named Miss Golden Globe, and Bacon’s sisters will be handling the cooking and pie-baking. “I’m more of a cheerleader because everyone comes to our house to cook,” she said.
Said Bacon: “It makes us realize how thankful we are and that point gets driven home even stronger on a day like Thanksgiving.”
Struggling homeowner gets Thanksgiving surprise
Builders Care & Roof Smart come through for 78 year-old woman
CAPE CORAL, Fla. - Chanting the words "Builders Care, Roof Smart," a group of smiling people marched right down Alabar Lane to the home of 78 year-old Joan Annunzio
"Surprise!" they yelled when they got to her front porch.
"Hi," she said with a shy smile.
The group's spokeswoman, Heidi Taulman explained they were there to give Joan good news: the leaking roof that's been worrying her for years will finally be fixed.
"It leaks in various place and tiles are blowing off of it," said Joan.
The group said a prayer as Joan was presented with flowers.
"Lord, you are a God of new beginnings," someone whispers.
"Make this a new beginning for Joan and the Annunzio family."
"She's not going to worry about anything any longer," said Peter Simeone who co-owns Roof Smart with John Gillam.
The company is installing a $6500 roof for free on Annunzio's home. She's lived in it for 28 years.
"I'm just overwhelmed with Thanksgiving, just overwhelmed," Joan said as she teared up.
Joan couldn't afford to have the roof replaced or even repaired.
She raised her son in the house and always put him first.
Despite some serious health problems - including a heart condition and failing eyesight - she often walks 2 miles to the store to pick up things for her neighbors.
"Joan worked hard all of her life, taking care of friends whenever she can," said Taulman of Builders Care.
Now it's time for someone else to take care of Joan.
"I'm just overwhelmed and feelingn appreciation," said Joan.
"Thank you from bottom of my heart which is pounding," she said with a laugh to the group.
The co-owner of Roof Smart said it's just as gratifying for his crew as it is for Joan.
"This is what the holidays are about about," says Simeone.
"Giving to someobdy who needed something."
"You reach out and help out," he said.
"We should be more thankful to her than her to us," he added.
Simeone says his company is thankful to have met with a lot of success over the years and wants to pay it forward.
"We've been so blessed the community has taken care of us." he said.
"Now we can take care of people need to be taken care of."
True to form, Joan's thoughts quickly shifted others who are getting ready to celebrate the holiday as she wished that, "everyone could be as thankful as I am right now and that we have a happy Thanksgiving day."
Hers will most definitely be a thankful - and dry holiday. The leaky roof should be completely replaced just in time for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.
"Thank you so much," she told the group again,
"And may we all have a all happy Thanksigving in a world in peace."
Hotel Rewards Homeless Man Who Returned Guest's Wallet with Thanksgiving Stay
Joel Hartman has been homeless for a year. He spent last Thursday sleeping in the woods outside of Duluth, an Atlanta suburb. He made it into Atlanta, and was looking for food in a dumpster outside the Omni Hotel when he found a wallet. What happened next is pretty extraordinary.
Hartman returned the wallet, which belonged to a French tourist, to the hotel. The Omni's general manager, Scott Stuckey, found out, and released surveillance footage of Hartman's honest gesture, which made it to the Internet.
Hartman eventually learned that the Omni was looking for him and returned to the hotel last week, where he was greeted by Stuckey, who had an offer for him: a room through Thanksgiving with room service and a $500 reward.
"It's just for doing the right thing," Hartman told WSB Atlanta. He intends to hop a freight train to Alaska when his stay at the Omni is up. Best of luck to you, Josh!
Watch a Man Be Surprised by a Room Full of People He Rescued During the Holocaust
Sir Nicholas Winton is one of the lesser-known figures of World War II. He organized the rescue of over 650 children (mostly Jewish Czechoslovakians) in an operation called the Czech Kindertransport.
The children were destined for the Nazi death camps, and Winton was instrumental in getting them safe passage to Britain.
After the war was over, Winton didn't brag about his exploits. In fact, he didn't tell a soul for half a century, not even his wife Grete. Then, in 1988, Grete found a scrapbook dating to 1939 in their attic.
It held all the children's photos, a list of their names, letters from some of their parents, and other documents. It was the first time she'd learned of her husband's story.
Later that year, the BBC program That's Life aired a reunion between Winton and the children – obviously now grown adults – he rescued. Winton was surprised when one of the children he rescued was revealed to be seated beside him, so imagine how he felt when the show's host asked if there were any other people he'd helped to save in the audience and two dozen others stood and applauded.
Gas station clerk helps missing elderly couple with dementia get home
TACOMA — An elderly couple, both suffering from dementia, have been found safe, thanks to an observant gas station clerk in Tacoma.
People come in to the Pink Elephant Car Wash and Gas Station asking to use the restroom all the time. But when an elderly woman came in Thursday morning, then returned just a few minutes later, Susan McConnell knew something was wrong.
“I told her, you were just here five minutes ago,” said McConnell. “The look on her face was very disappointed. I don`t think she remembered being here.”
McConnell’s father has Alzheimer’s. She thought the woman and her husband, who were both in their 80s, were showing similar signs.
“Having a parent that`s suffering from it has made me more aware of the disease. It`s hard dealing with them because they don`t understand.”
Before she came to work, she had heard on the news that a couple from an assisted living facility in Normandy Park was missing. She wasn’t sure if it was this couple. But she convinced them to sit down and get warm, while she called 911.
“I figured if they said yes to the coffee, I got them for a few minutes. And I kept praying for the officers to please show up, show up quick.”
Officers did show up and positively identified Richard and Doris Rogers. The couple had been missing more than 12 hours. But thanks to McConnell’s quick thinking, they were safe.
“So many times we`re busy and we don`t have time to get involved, that`s not always good. So this time, I made sure to get involved. If something like this happened to my father, I would want someone to do that for him.”
McConnell didn’t want to work on the holiday. But she says it was worth it, to see the Rogers` reunite with their daughter and head back home to Normandy Park.
“I don`t know, I have honestly had the best thanksgiving ever,” she says. “To know they`re home, they`re safe, they`re with their family. Honestly, it`s the best Thanksgiving ever.”
When my daughter, Lauren, was 14 months old she got cranky and didn't want to eat. The doctor diagnosed an ear infection and gave us antibiotics. Two days later Laura died in her sleep. My husband, David, and I were devastated.
It turned out that Lauren had a rare metabolic disorder that prevents the liver from breaking down fat. We had had no idea -- she had always seemed healthy.
That first Christmas without her was hard, but our family and church provided us with strength. The next Christmas, in 2006, my mother-in-law gave me an etched-glass ornament with Lauren's name and dates of birth and death on it. It's beautiful, but the best thing is that it's tangible. I can proudly display it because I want people to ask about my daughter; I want to talk about her. That's what keeps her memory alive.
Since then, Lauren ornaments have become a tradition -- we now have six. They're always up on our mantel, not just at Christmas, for anyone who comes into our home to see.
-- Nicole, Decatur, Georgia
Eastern Iowa father pays it forward after son's cancer fight
CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) - Paul Woodward is collecting toys for cancer patients because he says it's just the right thing to do.
"It's a good feeling to see those people going through such a bad time and have something good happen to them even if it is just for a few minutes," said Woodward.
Last year Woodward collected more than 400 toys for cancer patients at the University of Iowa Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House in Iowa City.
This year he hopes to get more, that's because for Woodward it hits close to home.
"Even if it was for two minutes, it put a smile on his face and gave him something to do to keep his mind off of the doctors, nurses coming in all the time," said Woodward.
At 10-years-old, Woodward's son Brady was diagnosed with a rare form of muscular cancer. Brady spent six weeks at the hospital in Iowa City while going through radiation.
"There was up and down days that he had with the sickness and reacting to the chemo and stuff," said Woodward.
In August, Brady celebrated his fourth year cancer free.
"Some days I still can't believe what he went through and he made it," said Woodward.
Woodward is collecting toys through December 12th.
If you would like to donate you can find Paul Woodward on Facebook.
Boynton Beach woman gets surprise of lifetime
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. - To watch Yolanda Thomas at home with her four kids, is to watch an engine at work.
"I have to work so fast," she said. "Dinner, homework, showers, it's a lot."
She gets up at 5 a.m. every day so she can get ready for her new job as a clerk and run them to school.
In a word, she's: "Exhausted."
And stressed out, financially.
When she left military service in 2010, she never imagined transitioning would be this hard.
"When I was in the Navy I could get them whatever they wanted," Thomas said. "Two of my sons have birthdays in November. I didn't have the funds to give hem the gifts they wanted. So Christmas I said I'll make it up to them."
While Yolanda was at work Wednesday, dozens of volunteers from Florida Power & Light and Boynton Beach Police Explorers transformed her home.
They put up Christmas lights, snowmen and presents.
"I just can't wait to see the look on her face," said FPL volunteer Heather Kirkendall.
A few weeks ago, Yolanda told local veterans group, Stand Down House, that she wanted a Merry Christmas for her kids.
After another twelve-hour work day, she drove up to dozens of people and thousands of lights on her home.
"I don't know, I don't know what to say. I'm speechless," she said.
Hours later, as she went over a paper she'd written for the college degree she's taking online classes for, she had a moment of satisfaction.
"I learned that my service really is appreciated. I hear people say it all the time. To see it in action means so much more."
Thanks for her service in the Navy, and as a mother.
5-Year-Old Boy Creates ‘Bug’s Bikes’ For Kids With Special Needs
BOSTON (CBS) — Every kid should have a bike, right? Well for children with special needs, that may mean a special bike, a very expensive bike.
That’s why there’s a new program called “Bug’s Bikes.” The idea of a 5-year-old, it has grown into a community wide, team effort, to help.
Bug is 5-year-old Steven De Angelis. Steven has vision problems with high functioning autism and other medical issues, but when he’s riding his adaptive bike: “It’s therapy. It’s independence. He has an ability to just go and be free,” says his mother Kelly.
Steven’s parents had to save for a while to buy his bike, but when he went to an adaptive bike camp at the Franciscan Hospital for Children last spring, he had a 5 year old’s revelation.
“He realized he was the only kid bringing his bike home ever day, and he wanted to know why the other kids weren’t bringing their bikes home,” says Kelly. Cost was the big reason. Depending on a child’s specific needs, these bikes range in cost from about $600 to as high as $4000.
“For most families it’s very out of reach because therapy, medical needs, other equipment comes first,” says Kelly. But Steven had an idea; a lemonade stand.
“He wanted to raise money to help other kids get bikes like his,” his mom says. Word got out and over the course of 3 days, $2000 was collected. Bug’s Bikes was born.
Recently they gave their first adaptive bike to 5-year-old Sienna Brown of Belmont.
“We were so overwhelmed and overjoyed,” says Sienna’s mother Gina Brown. “When she got the bike she was so excited. She gave Steven the biggest hug, and just to see her face light up, it just made my heart just melt,” she adds.
Sienna’s mother already sees a difference. “When they ride these bikes they’re using all the muscles in their legs, they’re using hand and eye coordination. I see her getting a little bit stronger each time she’s on it,” she says.
The effort has grown out of the idea of one little boy. “We went from a lemonade stand to about 470 friends on Facebook, to community groups that are involved,” says Kelly De Angelis. And together, they’re getting it done. “No matter what their ability, agility, disability is, every child deserves that childhood experience of riding a bike,” Kelly says.
The short-term goal of Bug’s Bikes is to raise enough money to provide 5 more children with these special, adaptive bikes.
You can help the cause by buying a Christmas Ornament http://bugsbikes.org/christmas-ornament/ Bought mine! Only $8
Student Rescues Chihuahua Stuck in Sewer
BAY VILLAGE, Ohio– When a member of the family goes missing, there are many anxious moments wondering what has happened. But, a Bay Village family has a passerby and police to thank for their “dog-gone” happy ending.
Pepe, a 13-year-old Chihuahua, is back safe with the Roybal family. The dog spent 1 ½ days in a storm sewer drain. He had somehow fallen in and couldn’t get out on his own. “I assumed the worst because it was too cold and he’s old,” Pepe’s owner, Martin Roybal, said.
The Roybals had put both of their Chihuahuas outside. But, Pepe, who is deaf and partially blind, must have gotten disoriented and wandered off. Roybal said he has never done that before.
Lizzie Rudge is a Cleveland State student. She had gotten off the bus and crossed the street at Columbia and Wolf Roads in Bay Village when she heard what she thought was a dog barking. “It was really wet, really cold, really raining and I was walking by and I heard barking as I was about to cross the street. So, I looked down and under the sewer grates, I saw a dog. So, I called the police.”
Rudge stayed with the dog until police arrived and actually fed him some crackers she had left over from lunch. She couldn’t rescue the dog herself. “He was so scared and I couldn’t reach him because he was under the grates,” Rudge said.
An animal rescue officer helped police get Pepe out of the storm sewer. They reunited him with the Roybals who had reported him missing. Pepe had wandered two blocks from his home.
“I kind of recognized the barking,” Rudge said. It turns out Pepe is Rudge’s neighbors’ dog who she had played with when she was child.
The Roybals are thankful Rudge found their dog. “We’re so grateful to her because if it wasn’t for her being right there at the right moment and time, we don’t know what could have happened. We’re glad that he’s home,” Roybal said.
New 'pay what you can' restaurant opens in Johnson City (Tennessee)
For the first time Tuesday, lunch was served at One Acre Cafe on West Walnut Street in Johnson City. It's a new restaurant featuring soups, salads, sandwiches.
It has the makings of a typical restaurant, but the difference comes when people pay. "Someone might come in and say 'I don't have any money,' so we'd say to them 'Great, volunteer an hour of your time and we'll provide you with a meal,'" explained executive director Jan Orchard.
Orchard is a retired teacher and came up with the idea for the restaurant to help feed the community. "This cafe belongs to the people of the community, not to us. We were just the catalyst," she said.
People who come in to eat not only pick what they want to eat, but how much as well. Orchard says they have a system to prevent throwing away excess food -- small, medium and large portions are available. A small portion is $4, medium is $6, and large is $8.
Patrons can choose to pay for their meal with volunteer hours, with money, or they can pay for their meal and then donate extra, which the restaurant calls 'paying it forward'.
It’s a concept some East Tennessee State Univeristy students think will take off. "The portion size is a wonderful idea. I feel like so many people leave food on their plate, and being able to pay by portion I think eliminates that," said ETSU student Andrew Felty.
Others are also welcoming the new restaurant, including fellow restaurant owner Tom Seaton. He has been running the nearby Firehouse restaurant for more than three decades. "We think it's going to be great for our community. We're glad they're here," said Seaton.
For now One Acre Cafe is only serving up lunch Monday through Friday, but the group is hoping to expand as the restaurant gets off the ground.
At the end of Wednesday’s lunch 70 people were served by a staff of volunteers. The average price paid for lunch was $9.32.