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Thread: The good guys thread

  1. #616
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Forbes Hospice Flies Dying Man’s Family From Jamaica To Pittsburgh

    PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A dying man’s wish was to see his wife and kids one more time, and thanks to the generosity and hard work of some Pittsburghers, that wish has come true.

    Charlton Fisher is at Forbes Hospice at West Penn Hospital.

    He’s from Jamaica, but he left his family behind and came to the United States, so he could earn money for his oldest daughter to go to nursing school.

    The 43-year-old’s heart, however, is barely working. With his pacemaker failing, he wound up in the hospital, and then was moved to hospice when things got worse.

    He says he couldn’t get up out of bed or even see.

    He needs a heart transplant to survive, which is unlikely. The staff asked him what they could do for him.

    “He said ‘I miss my wife and kids so badly,’” said Forbes Hospice Counselor Kevin Henry.

    Intern Ellen Freise-March, in particular, worked tirelessly to get emergency papers for Fisher’s wife Marion, his 11-year-old daughter Ashley and his 3-year-old daughter Asha-kay.

    Fisher’s boss at the hotels in Bentleyville, where he worked as a maintenance man, paid for the airfare.
    And Saturday night, Fisher’s wish came true.

    “So, so, so beautiful,” said Fisher, as he clutched a rosary in his hand. “I was there waiting and then when the moment came, I couldn’t believe my eyes!”

    He started to cry when his wife talked about what it meant to her, and how she felt alone so far away in Jamaica.

    Now they’re together. “She stayed by me. She hasn’t left,” he said.

    And it seems for Charlton Fisher, family may be the best medicine.
    Since his family arrived, he’s been walking, and he says his vision has gotten better.
    He wants to live now more than ever.

    “I don’t want to die yet, because I haven’t fulfilled my promise to my daughter,” said Fisher.
    He’s not well enough to fly, so he’ll be driven to New York City to stay with his mother-in-law. His boss will pay for that as well, for which Fisher is extremely grateful.

    He still hopes to get a new heart.

    This isn’t the first time first time Forbes Hospice has pulled together to help someone’s dying wish come true.

    For one patient, they arranged for a horse-drawn carriage ride, they’ve organized two weddings for patients and even had a pizza flown in from Chicago for another patient.
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  2. #617
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Canadian cross-country coach helps ailing Russian in awesome Olympic moment

    Anton Gafarov was having a tough time on Tuesday.

    Having reached the semifinals of the men's cross-country sprint, the 27-year-old Russian fell twice and then broke one of his skis. It looked like he'd have to walk off the course instead of crossing the finish line.

    But enter Justin Wadsworth, a former American Olympian who's coaching the Canadian team in Sochi. With a competitor struggling, Wadsworth ran out to Gafarov and hooked him up with an extra ski. Though his run took almost as twice as long as his qualifying and quarterfinal run, Gafarov was able to finish the race.

    Wadsworth, who competed for the United States in Lillehammer, Nagano and Salt Lake City, is no stranger to people helping people on the cross-country circuit. He's married to Canadian Beckie Scott, whose relay partner Sara Renner was lent a ski pole by Norwegian coach Bjornar Haakensmoen in the 2006 Turin Games. The act of generosity helped Scott and Renner clinch a silver medal while a pair of Norwegian skiers took fourth.

    Scott has said that helping out fellow competitors is the rule and not the exception in cross-country.

    "Had it been anybody else on the course, they would have done the same thing," Scott said in 2012. "It just happened that it was a Norwegian coach at that moment who had a pole for Sara.

    "If someone hadn't done it, then that would have been exceptional. It's really more common to give people poles and help them out than it is to do nothing."
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  3. #618
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Eugene Westerhouse Builds Wheelchair Ramps for Disabled People

    Eugene "Westie" Westerhouse takes humility to a whole new level.

    Ask the 87-year-old Eudora, Kan., resident about his good deeds and he'll start talking about wood and tape measures and four-by-fours.

    When pressed about his good deeds, he says, "I was just looking for something to do."

    But to many Westerhouse is a godsend, having volunteered his time and still-significant muscle designing and building free wheelchair ramps for more than 300 people with special needs for nearly four decades.

    "Westie is known to almost everybody within a 100-mile radius of here," says friend and wheelchair ramp co-builder Bill VanDeBerghe, who leads the Kingdom Builders ministry of the Eudora United Methodist Church, the umbrella for Westerhouse's charitable works.

    "He's extremely embarrassed by any attention," says VanDeBerghe "but Westie is a remarkable man and quite a leader."

    She should know.

    Westie built a ramp for her husband, Gary, 62, after he suffered a serious stroke last June.
    "Westie is our superhero!" she says.

    Westerhouse, a former rural postal carrier who lives with his wife of 65 years, Dottie, on the farm homesteaded by his great-great-grandparents, built his first wheelchair ramp in 1978 when contacted by a church bishop with a parishioner in need.

    "I took time off from carrying mail and traveled about 110 miles to go help an old gentleman who needed a ramp so he could get to the doctor," Westerhouse says. "And it just kind of grew from there."

    Westerhouse retired from the postal service in 1993 and since then estimates he and his crew of fellow church members have built about 14 ramps a year.

    "The one I'm building right now is for a lady who is handicapped and will never be out of her wheelchair," Westerhouse says.

    "And I've built two now in the last few months for children," he says. "It's great to be able to help these young people."

    Those in need learn about Westerhouse's ramps in a variety of ways – word of mouth, through the church and, more recently, from a feature article in the local newspaper ("Let me send you a copy," Westie offers).

    For Deb and Gary Jennings of Lawrence, Kan., the Kingdom Builders came to them after a call from Deb's mom.

    "I was in shock and didn't know what to do or what our needs might be," says Deb, 57, of Gary's stroke.

    "I had assumed my husband would be walking out of the hospital," she says. "But when that couldn't happen, Westie and Bill calmed me down and led me into the world of wheelchairs and wheelchair ramps."

    Westerhouse constructs each ramp in sections inside his home workshop, with the average cost in materials between $700 and $800.

    These materials are often paid for through church funds or through grants from local health agencies. All labor is donated, with a crew of up to a dozen volunteers installing home ramps under Westerhouse's guidance.

    "It's remarkable," says VanDeBerghe. "Westie is 87 and the vast majority – in fact everyone – we're building for are people much younger than he is.

    "He has this incredible stamina we are all amazed by," he says. "Building the ramps can be very tiring, but Westie is right there in the middle of the work."

    "I had no idea how much our world would change once we had the wheelchair ramp," says Deb Jennings.

    "We call our ramp 'The Freedom Ramp,' " she says. "And I can't say enough good about Westie. He started the ball rolling on how we were going to enter into this new world."

    Westerhouse's typically humble response?

    "Wherever I'm needed," he says, "I'll go."

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  4. #619
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    'Heroic' father rescues 5 children from burning townhouse

    SACRAMENTO – Firefighters credited "heroic acts" of a young father for saving the lives of his five children as fire tore through their south Sacramento townhouse.

    What may have started as a kitchen fire shortly after 1 a.m. quickly spread to the entire apartment at 46 Creeks Edge Way.

    Neighbor Tyrone Thompson said he watched Deon Hill, 24, run out of the townhouse with three young children in his arms and a fourth child clutching his pants leg.

    "I just remember him saying I have a baby in there," Thompson recalled.

    Hill's cousin, Shawn Jones, said Hill went back into the burning building and crawled commando-style up the stairs to pull his 3-year-old daughter, Joy, from her bed.

    The two emerged choking on smoke and both suffered minor burns, but Jones said both would be released from the hospital after overnight observation.

    Jones said Hill was home with the children while his wife, Sierra, was away on an overnight shift as a home healthcare worker.

    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~ It could have saved Kuhio's life.

  5. #620
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Soldier saves German Shepherd after it was hit on Interstate 40
    Bella Foundation, Animal Medical Center of Midwest City team up to care for dog

    MIDWEST CITY, Okla. —A German Shepherd was left for dead after a car hit it on Interstate 40 Wednesday evening. The driver behind the wheel of the vehicle that hit the dog never stopped.

    A soldier from the Moore area drove by the dog and saw it suffering. She stopped and took the injured animal to the Bella Foundation.

    The Bella Foundation and the Animal Medical Center of Midwest City have teamed up to care for the dog, who they are calling “Trooper.”

    The Bella Foundation isn’t sure if “Trooper” belongs to someone or if he is a stray. They say he will be up for adoption if an owner does not come forward.

    For more information on how to help the dog, visit Trooper’s donation page. You can follow her progress at the gofundme link. Trooper is recovering from surgery and they are looking for his family.

    2/21/14 Update on Trooper:

    Trooper's owners have been located. However...

    Trooper's owners have been located. However, because of his extensive recovery they feel they are not equipped to give him the care he needs over the next several weeks and have elected to release ownership of Trooper to The Bella Foundation SPCA.

    We are currently searching for a Foster Family that can help Trooper during his recovery and can ensure he gets the tender loving care he needs.

    This will not be an easy task. Trooper had MAJORY surgery on his back hips and will need lots of love, support, and care during this time. While he is recovering he would do best in a quiet home with possibly one other dog. Playing in the yard is still a long way off but IS on the horizon.

    The Bella Foundation will be entirely responsible for his veterinary expense and will ensure his new foster family has all the tools needed to see Trooper through this.

    If you would like to foster Trooper and help him start a new life please visit
    Last edited by kuhio98; 02-21-2014 at 03:27 PM.
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  6. #621
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Students surprise teacher with donation after house burns down

    SOUTHAVEN, MS - (WMC-TV) - There is nothing left of Emily Nelson's house.

    Two weeks ago, Nelson's home burned to the ground. She lost everything. But now, with money from her students at DeSoto Central Middle School in Southaven, Miss., she can start to rebuild.

    "I can't imagine just going out of my house with my pajamas on knowing that there was nothing left of my house," said Gracie Miles, one of the students in Nelson's class.

    Miles and other students are part of Biz World. They are learning business by making and selling products at school. But before they could start, the group needed $100 to cover costs. It came from Nelson's pocket.

    "They may discover something about themselves and become a little entrepreneur," said Nelson.

    For the past several weeks, students have been selling all sorts of items they made at school.

    "We had more girls in our group than boys. There was only two boys in our group so we decided to go with jewelry," noted one student.

    When it came time for the students to donate all of their profit money to a worthy cause, they decided to give it to a familiar face, going through a difficult time.

    "She gave so much to us, so we decided to give something to her," said a student.

    It is a heart warming reminder that what goes around comes around. Now the students are combining their profits, totaling $600, to give Nelson an unexpected return on her investment while also helping her family start over.

    "For them to decide that my family is the worthy cause to help out at this moment in time that's just, it was very sweet," added Nelson.
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  7. #622
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    'Full circle': Man finds stranger who saved him from suicide 6 years ago

    It was a Good Samaritan encounter that changed a young man’s life forever.

    Six years ago, on a bitterly cold January morning, Jonny Benjamin was coaxed away from a ledge on London’s Waterloo Bridge by a total stranger walking to work.

    Benjamin was 20 years old and had just been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder — a debilitating combination of schizophrenia and depression. He had dropped out of university, held little hope of being able to hold down a job or one day have a family, and decided life was not worth living.

    Then a stranger’s voice pulled him out of the darkness.

    “You can get through this. You can overcome anything,” Benjamin recalls the man saying, as he calmly spoke to him for 25 minutes, inviting him to join him for a chat over coffee instead.

    The chance interaction altered everything for Benjamin who was ultimately pulled to safety and spent years battling his way back to health.

    But there was one thing preventing him from achieving full closure on the bleakest moment in his life — lingering questions about the identity of the man who rescued him.

    So, on Jan. 14, exactly six years after that near-fateful day, Benjamin launched an online campaign to try to find the man who'd helped him, taking to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter with his story in the hopes that it would jog some memories. "He was the first person to give me hope, and his words actually prompted my recovery," he says in the YouTube plea. "Now I need your help to find him. I've called him Mike, although I'm not too sure if that's his real name."

    The search, which used the hashtag #findmike, was soon trending in the U.K., Canada and South Africa, and was retweeted thousands of times, including by singer Boy George, British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and actor Stephen Fry.

    Benjamin, now a mental health campaigner and ambassador for charity Rethink Mental Illness, said he has only recently felt confident enough to speak openly about his suicide attempt, and hoped to raise awareness through his story — but held out little hope of actually finding the mystery man.

    But his search ended on Jan. 28, when Benjamin finally came face-to-face with his savior: Neil Laybourn, a mild-mannered personal fitness trainer from Surrey (just outside London), who had also spent years wondering what came of the man he coaxed from the edge.

    Though he initiated the search, Benjamin says he was initially "petrified" to meet Laybourn: “I wasn’t sure what memories were going to be triggered from that, or if I was going to recognize him,” he told But the fear quickly faded.

    “Do you remember me?” Laybourn, 31, asks in a video of the pair's reunion, posted to YouTube, in which the pair is seen greeting each other with a long bear hug.

    "It's all coming back," Benjamin says, moved to tears.

    Laybourn was first alerted to the #findmike mission by his fiancé who saw a post on Facebook.

    “Neil said the big shock first of all was to find out I was still alive, and that I was looking for him,” Benjamin said. “And it’s been a massive shock how big the campaign has got.”

    Benjamin says it was Laybourn’s calm, collected demeanor that first lured him out of his state of distress on that day in 2008. He also noticed that Laybourn was a young man, much like himself, on his way to work — which filled him with hope.

    “I was in my own world and he managed to burst the bubble that I was in and get through to me,” he added.

    During their reunion in a south London pub, the pair went over the chain of events and Laybourn recounted details Benjamin had not been able to recall. He said at one point Benjamin had agreed to get coffee and started to climb back over the railing. Then he noticed the police pulling up and, fearful of being sent back to hospital, had a change of heart.

    Laybourn had to reach out and grab Benjamin as he attempted to jump. “Up to that point, I remembered him stopping me with his words but actually, he physically stopped me,” Benjamin said. “It’s even more reason to thank him.”

    When the police did finally arrive and get ahold of Benjamin, Laybourn was not been allowed near him and had no way of following up.

    “He said it was amazing for him to see me smiling and back on my feet again, and how far I’d come,” Benjamin said. "He’s so humble about it. He says: 'I’m not a hero, I’m just an ordinary guy'. He’s taking it all in his stride and said: ‘I’m just proud of you Jonny.”

    The pair plans to spend time getting to know each other in the coming weeks and months. Laybourn, who is getting married in August, also offered to help Benjamin get into shape.

    “Everyone needs a friend like Neil,” said Benjamin. "He’s just the nicest guy. Very sensitive but very lovely and caring and kind, and just a great laugh.

    "I always thought of that time as being very negative, I thought of that place as being the worst in my life,” Benjamin added. “I feel that I can look at it a very different way now. I’ve overcome that. I’ve come full circle and am able to close that chapter.”
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  8. #623
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Here is a photo of Jonny and Neil. Jonny is on the left and Neil is on the right in the plaid shirt.
    Two good looking young men!

    Name:  jonny-and-neil.jpg
Views: 59
Size:  87.3 KB
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.

    Thank you for the siggy, Michelle!

    Cindy (Human) - Taz (RB Tabby) - Zoee (RB Australian Shepherd) - Paizly (Dilute Tortie) - Taggart (Aussie Mix) - Jax (Brown & White Tabby), - Zeplyn (Cattle Dog Mix)

  9. #624
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Thanks Cindy. I couldn't get the photo to attach for some reason.
    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~ It could have saved Kuhio's life.

  10. #625
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Alberta, Canada

    It Looks Like The Most Picture Perfect Wedding Imaginable. Except One Devastating Truth.

    It Looks Like The Most Picture Perfect Wedding Imaginable. Except One Devastating Truth.

    February 20, 2014 Stories

    When 26 year old Chris Price found out he had terminal cancer and just six months to live, he decided that he would spend the rest of his days making the love of his life’s dreams come true.
    He started out by proposing to 29 year old Ceri, and marrying her in a plush church with her four children as the guests of honor. It was truly a magical wedding.
    Chris was sadly diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus in April 2012.

    Shortly after he was given the all clear, but tragically the cancer returned in April 2013 and he was told it was terminal.

    With six months to live Chris promised himself he’d spend it making his girlfriend Ceri’s dreams come true, starting by proposing and then marrying her.

    After the wedding, Chris took his new wife and her four children Halle, nine, and triplets Evan, Morgan and Georgia, six, to Disneyland Paris.

    Few weeks after returning from Paris he whisked Ceri off to New York for a weekend of sightseeing and shopping. He splashed out on an expensive pair of Louboutin shoes and a $1,500 Mulberry handbag that she had always wanted.

    The loving husband then booked a trip to Las Vegas for her birthday, but sadly he ran out of time… Chris died in Ceri’s arms last month and his funeral was held in the very same church where the pair had married just six months earlier.

    After Chris passed away in January 2014 Ceri had this to say about her late husband:

    If my love could have saved him, he would have lived forever. We packed so much into the short time we had together. His illness made him live completely in the moment and he taught me to do the same.
    He died in my arms and I felt his last breath. My heart is broken losing him and I still spray his Aramis aftershave and wear his clothes to feel close to him. He loved me and took me on with four children as if they were his own. They loved him so much too.
    I have no regrets – we accepted what was going to happen and we savoured every single second we had together. At his funeral we played his favourite song Robin S – Show Me Love. That’s all he ever did was show everyone he met love. I miss him every moment of every day.

    They packed more love in the short time they had than most people have all their lives.
    Source: dailymail
    "To begin, begin." ~William Wordsworth

  11. #626
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    J.B. Schramm's Non-Profit Helps Kids Realize College Dreams

    J.B. Schramm remembers the beat-up couches and broken TV in the teen center he started in 1990 in the basement of Washington, D.C.'s low-income Jubilee Housing project.

    And he remembers LaToya, a high school senior in 1992 – a bright student who he thought had college potential. So the Yale and Harvard Divinity School grad, who had expected to be a teacher or minister, spent Saturdays helping LaToya complete an application and write a personal essay.

    "When I saw her a few weeks later, I brightened up and asked, ‘So, did you get a bid?' " Schramm tells PEOPLE. "She said no. I said, 'Why not?' She said, 'I didn't have a stamp.' I thought she was joking."

    From that one girl missing one stamp – what Schramm, now 50, kiddingly dubs "The Stamp Act" – a life-changing idea was born.

    Today, Schramm's College Summit boot camps annually train 2,000 students who, in turn, work with 50,000 classmates in 175 high schools across 15 states. Those schools involved with College Summit see an average 20-percent increase in kids attending college, says Schramm.

    "I realized that, for a lot of kids with talent but not a lot of resources, there was a systemic crater on the pathway to finding and getting enrolled in a college," he says.

    He cites studies that find 95 percent of low-income eighth-graders say they want to go to college, but only nine percent will get a college degree.

    "It's an outrageous loss of potential," he says.

    Putting 'Cool Kids' to Work
    Within three years of "The Stamp Act," Schramm had put together a four-day boot camp where 32 "cool kids" from six different states worked with writing coaches and college counselors on skills they would not only pour into their own college applications, but impart to their peers.

    "It dawned on me one day when I put a tutoring sign-up sheet on the door of the teen center," he says. "After the coolest kid we had put his name on the list, we had 30 kids sign up, too. And I thought, 'What if we got the coolest kid to go to college?' If we could get young people taking charge and helping themselves, helping their friends, we could change the culture and make a lot of progress fast."

    And College Summit is there for the rest of the kids, too, through its free apps – at – which, starting in 9th grade, take students through the 30 steps they need to take to get into college.

    "For the first time, a lot of my low-income students are saying to themselves, college could be a possibility for me," says Doris Dabney, 49, a 16-year teaching veteran at D.C.'s Dunbar High. "College Summit empowers them to make choices."

    From Little Haiti to Stanford
    One of those empowered students was Emmanuel Fortune, who credits Schramm and College Summit with helping him carve a path out of Miami's Little Haiti.

    "My mom was a single parent with a 3rd-grade education who worked 12-hour days and had 11 of us to care for," says Fortune, now 28. "So I didn't have someone looking over my shoulder and saying, 'How's that college application going?' "

    That changed at College Summit.

    "These guys would be like, 'Dad says I should apply to Brown.' And I was like, 'What is this color you're talking about?' " recalls Fortune.

    Nudged along by College Summit, he enrolled at the University of Florida, earned a degree in English and later continued on to Stanford University and a Master's in education policy.

    Today, he is a married father of one and a consultant at Deloitte in McLean, Va.

    And LaToya, the girl without the stamp, eventually made it too – to the University of the District of Columbia and a career in early childhood education, says Schramm.

    "For me back then, it was, 'How do I get out of this and do more for myself?' College Summit connected me to this wider world," says Fortune. "J.B. built that bridge. He's truly a rock star."

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  12. #627
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Honest Cape May Waitress Returns Lost Cash To Customer, Refuses Reward

    CAPE MAY, N.J., (CBS) — A Collingswood man is walking around with renewed faith in the goodness of people — after being reunited with a big wad of cash that he dropped in Cape May.

    CBS 3′s Cleve Bryan has more on the lost and found, and a restaurant worker who did the right thing.

    Paul Hendry will tell you this isn’t just any motorcycle, it’s a Honda Goldwing 50th Anniversary model.

    “Saved for a long time because we were beginning a long trip,” he said.

    That dream of riding along a scenic highway was almost parked before ever got in gear. The night he took out the cash to buy it he and his wife went to The Ugly Mug in Cape May for dinner. And when they went to go buy the bike later, the money was missing.

    “I had my leather jacket on and I’m going, I don’t have it. My wife said you’re kidding me. I said no Carol. I’m shaking, I’m real nervous,” he said.

    They figured the cash must have fell out at The Ugly Mug.

    “So I called up and Diana Lee answered the phone,” he said.

    Waitress and hostess Diana Lee grabbed her phone and used it as a flashlight to look under the booths.

    “I told them can you please lift your feet up, they were kind of laughing at me,” she said.

    Lee says it was a fairly busy Saturday night but when she got to this booth, sure enough there was the money on the floor.

    “It was a wad of cash about the size of a salt and pepper shaker,” she said.

    Sixty-five hundred dollars — all in $100 bills.

    “Everybody was like astounded like how much is this,” she said.

    Lee could have easily pocketed the money and used to pay for a semester of college – but she didn’t.

    Hendry got the money, then the bike. Lee wouldn’t even accept a reward.

    “My parents worked for 30 years with their own business from the bottom up and I know what that’s like to see someone finally get their little piece of paradise,” she said.

    “I’ll work for it just like everyone else, karma hopefully will be on my side someday,” she said.

    And hopefully some generous tips.
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  13. #628
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    When a baby stops breathing, Florida motorists pitch in to help

    Pamela Rauseo was stuck in traffic on a Miami highway Thursday when her 5-month-old nephew, strapped into his car seat behind her, stopped screaming -- and she knew something was very wrong.

    "That was a red flag for me, because the car was at a standstill, and he'd had a little bit of a cold, and I knew that he was congested, so I got really worried," Rauseo said Friday of her nephew, Sebastian de la Cruz.

    She had good reason to worry as she stopped along State Road 836, a six-lane stretch of concrete known locally as the Dolphin Expressway.

    "I pulled over on the left, and I jumped to the back to check up on him, and he was out. He was sleeping, and I touched him to stimulate him. I got no response, so I took him out of his car seat, and he was completely limp and turning purple. I tried to call 911, but I was just so nervous, my hands wouldn't function."

    Rauseo screamed for help, and fellow motorists responded.

    Lucila Godoy was among the first.

    "I was driving in the middle lane; she was in the fast lane, and all of a sudden I see her, and she's screaming and she's holding the baby and she's putting it up and down," Godoy said. "I just stopped the car and jumped out of the car, and I asked her what was going on, and we started working as a team."

    Godoy had taken a CPR course when she was pregnant in Venezuela with her own son, also named Sebastian. "I didn't even think about it," she said. "I just hold the baby like my baby. ... When I heard her screaming 'Sebastian,' that was hard."

    Soon, Sweetwater Police officer Amauris Bastidas stopped and helped the women perform chest compressions on the struggling infant, who resumed breathing on his own.

    "Save someone's life -- that's my duty," the officer, usually assigned to bike patrol at Dolphin Mall, told CNN affiliate WFOR. "My duty to act."

    Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz was among those stuck in traffic.

    "An SUV stops in front of me, and I didn't think anything of it," he told CNN affiliate WSVN. "But I started hearing screaming, and I couldn't tell where the screams come from, and I looked at my phone, and I looked at my radio and I look up again, and a woman pops out of a car holding a baby, screaming, 'Help me! Help me! My baby's not breathing.' "

    He went looking for help and found it coming from all sides, then snapped into his mode as a photographer and began documenting what he saw. "That moment now is frozen in my mind," he said. "That's just the way I see."

    But the ordeal was not over. Sebastian stopped breathing again.

    "It was like the nightmare started all over again," Rauseo said. Bastidas resumed performing chest compressions, "and the baby finally reacted, and this time it was for much longer -- until the fire/rescue came."

    Sebastian was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was in critical condition Friday, his aunt said.

    "We're confident he'll be fine," Rauseo said. "We just need to get to the root of what's causing these issues for him."
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  14. #629
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Heather Holland Helps Families Find Their Missing Loved Ones

    Kristin Spires was just 20 years old in May 2010 when she vanished while driving to a party in Big Rapids, Mich.

    Her stepmother, Carolyn, alerted police in her rural Michigan town, and a TV crew met her to report on the family’s frantic search.

    That evening, even before the broadcast report was finished, Spires’ phone rang. Heather Holland was on the line.

    "She had seen my story on TV," says Spires, "and wanted to help any way she could."

    Holland sensed the need – just as she has for many other families she's helped since 2010 – as director of the nonprofit TrackMissing.

    By scouring police and court reports as well as the Internet, collecting family medical records and sometimes even hitting the ground herself, the full-time social worker and part-time sleuth has helped families learn the fates of nine missing people.

    "The reason I do this is because I could not stand not knowing," says Holland, 31, of Big Rapids, a married mother of a 5-year-old son.

    "I try to work on cases where's there’s not already 100 people looking," she says. "You can't find them all. But I hope the families feel better knowing there's somebody else out there trying to help."

    Holland works hand in hand with law enforcement, who welcomes her assistance.

    "We have over 4,400 missing persons cases in Michigan," says Detective Sarah Krebs of the Michigan State Police.

    "I don't have time to do a web search on every single case," she says.

    "To have somebody like Heather who will do that for us and give us the tips that make a match," she says, "it's like they hand us the case on a silver platter.

    Krebs recalls a man who disappeared in 1992, and whose then-unidentified remains turned up in another county much later. As a liaison aiding the man's family, Holland gave police the medical records that led to a positive ID.

    "Heather's a great asset to law enforcement," says Krebs. "It's another weapon we can give the families of missing people in their search."

    Holland got started in 2009 when a friend remarked about an aunt who'd vanished as a child decades earlier.

    Eager to help, Holland logged in to online forums maintained by families of other missing persons – and learned that adults rarely get the urgent response of Amber Alerts for children.

    She didn't solve her friend's case, but her search led her to TrackMissing, which had been founded in 2004.

    Holland e-mailed the one-man operation with an offer to volunteer.

    She taught herself to follow paper trails and master the online National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, maintained by the National Institute of Justice.

    When TrackMissing’s director took ill in 2010, Holland took over.

    She devotes about 20 hours each week in late nights and weekends to her amateur sleuthing.

    Once, a record search and a quick call brought a dying woman together with a long-lost brother. But Holland is realistic about the long odds that accompany unanswered disappearances.

    "I'm not one to provide a false hope," she says. "I can't promise we'll find them. I just like to give people some closure."

    In Spires' case, Holland spotted a Facebook tip and followed the lead to a site in the woods. There, 11 months after Kristin vanished, Holland and Kristin's stepmother located a bone that police eventually ID'd as belonging to the young woman.

    Although the case is unsolved, "If not for Heather, we'd still be looking," says Carolyn Spires, 38, of Moreley, Mich.

    "There's no way to thank somebody for something like that," says Spires.

    "If Heather gets something in her mindset, she's going to go after it until she gets it," she says.

    "She definitely kept me going," she says. "She’s an awesome, awesome person."

    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~ It could have saved Kuhio's life.

  15. #630
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Alaska: Where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.
    Nick Silverio Rescues Babies Through His Crisis Hotline

    When Miami businessman Nick Silverio answers the phone, often there's a tiny little life in the balance.

    As the founder of A Safe Haven for Newborns, a nonprofit he founded in 2001 to provide a 24-hour-bilingual referral hotline for new mothers on the verge of abandoning their infants, Silverio, 70, says each call can save a child.

    "It's an overwhelming experience to know a child can grow up," says Silverio. "It feels just as overwhelming the first [time a child was saved] as it does the 206th."

    To date, Silverio has helped 206 newborns find their way to loving adoptive homes in Florida. Looking to support the safe haven law passed by the Florida legislature in 2000 that enables desperate parents to leave infants up to a week old at hospitals and fire stations no questions asked, Silverio dipped into his own pocket the following year begin his organization.

    "It's my purpose in life," says Silverio, who takes no salary from the nonprofit and who has also helped frightened moms get their babies back under the law's 30-day grace period.

    His outreach changed the life of 10-year-old Kristopher Terrell, who is now the youngest of five children to parents Aja Iglesias-Terrell, 44, and Richard Terrell, 53. Ten years ago, Silverio answered his 24-hour crisis hotline to discover a frightened teenage mother on the other end. A week earlier she'd given birth to a baby boy. Now, feeling in no position to raise a child, the distraught girl said she didn't know what to do.

    Calmly, Silverio told her he would be right over. Hopping in his car, Silverio purchased a baby carrier, then continued on to the girl's apartment, where he found the anxious teen hovering over a sleeping infant clad in a blue and white jumpsuit – little Kristopher Terrell.

    "Uncle Nick is my hero," says Kristopher, now a fourth-grader. "He's the one who introduced me to my mom and dad. It's good that he helps babies."

    The nonprofit proved a lifesaver for Silverio, too. Married almost 32 years to his beloved Gloria, he was devastated when she was killed in a car accident in 1999. Godfather to 14 children, Silverio bore the loss without the companionship of any children of his own – his attempts with Gloria to start a family having ended one heartbreaking Christmas Eve after Gloria suffered her second difficult miscarriage.

    "She loved kids," Silverio says. "She loved seeing them grow and seeing them happy. We were always told we would have been wonderful parents."

    Looking to honor her memory, he found a fit when he learned about Florida's safe haven law meant to protect babies from being abandoned.

    "Helping give these babies a life," he says, "has turned my tragedy into joy for others."

    Today A Safe Haven for Newborns, staffed by 300 volunteers, operates in all 67 Florida counties, partnering with fire chiefs, emergency medical services and hospitals to take in infants and then move them on to adoption agencies. Thanks to Silverio, other states look to Florida for advice on implementing infant-protection laws.

    "When I was growing up, you'd hear of babies being abandoned in canals, in public bathrooms, in garbage dumpsters," says Florida state senator Rene Garcia. "Since Nick got involved, you never hear of that. He took it upon himself to bring awareness to the rest of the state to show this law exists, to make sure teens and women and parents knew this law was out there."

    "He's reaching people in their most desperate moment," says firefighter Tammy Henghold, who was twice on hand when safe haven babies were left at her station in Lauderhill. "He's saving a life every day."

    And he's helping to build families as well, says Kristopher's grateful mom, Aja.

    "Because of Nick's act of love," she says, "we are blessed to have Kristopher in our home and our life. We consider Nick family."

    Ask your vet about microchipping. ~ It could have saved Kuhio's life.


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