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Winter’s Snows Can’t Keep One Man from His Daily Expression of Love for His Departed Wife

Strangers help man visit wifes memeorial through winter's snows

Even Wisconsin snows can’t keep Bud Caldwell from visiting a bench dedicated to his late wife Betty everyday. Photo courtesy YouTube screen capture.

What could be more touching than a widower making the daily trip to visit a little park bench dedicated to the memory of his late wife? How about the fact that every day he makes the trip so he can bring her two small gifts and tell her about his day?

Bud Caldwell, 82, lost his wife 2 years ago. Every day since then, he has made the trip to visit a park bench that he purchased himself and dedicated to his wife, Betty. He visits and shares the events of his day with her and leaves a penny and a daisy for her.

The tokens come from a couple of songs that were meaningful to the couple during the 56 years they spent together. The penny commemorates “Pennies from Heaven” and the daisy is a reminder of the song, “A Daisy A Day” whose lyrics promise one lover will the other a daisy a day and will love the other until the rivers run still and the four winds blow away.

This dedicated love story and sentimentality has not gone unnoticed.

A recent snow storm in Fon du Lac, Wisconsin where Bud lives made getting to his beloved bench a serious hazard. Blocked by snow, the snow and ice-covered walkway became too dangerous for him to traverse on foot. Undaunted, he continued making the trip each day but was forced to stay in his car.

Two park employees who had witnessed the tender-hearted man’s efforts were so moved by his devotion to his departed wife that they made a vow. They promised to keep the walkway to Betty’s bench clear throughout winter so Bud could complete his daily journey.

The story has been picked up by several news stations who have shared it on Facebook. There, thousands of people have been touched by Bud’s devotion to Betty and left words of encouragement and support.

 

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Girl’s Dying Wish to Help the Homeless Inspires Others to Help

11-year-old cancer victim takes care of homeless wth dying wish

Girl uses last wish to care for others. Photo by YouTube Screen Capture.

An 11-year-old girl who battled cancer for more than a year succumbed to her illness in November but not without leaving her mark on this world. Natalia Marsh-Welton of Cincinnati, Ohio valiantly fought brain cancer and her final wish has inspired others to help out and give back.

 

Natalia’s final wish, through the Make-A-Wish Foundation was to help the homeless and provide food to those in need in her hometown. The organization has kept her wish alive by recently donating 100 blankets and providing the ingredients needed to prepare Natalia’s special for kids attending an after school program at the Central Arizona Shelter Services (CASS). The shelter provides support services to those families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

 

Brenda Cash who volunteers as a manager at CASS says they were pleasantly shocked when they learned they would be receiving the donations. To learn the donations were the result of a little girl and the circumstances surrounding it makes the gesture all that more amazing and precious.

 

Natalia knew firsthand what it was like to feel cold as that was a side effect of her chemotherapy. She didn’t want others to feel cold. Her wish was to help keep the homeless warm inside and out.

 

The kids at the shelter were grateful for the donations and all pitched in to help make Natalia’s soup as they were told her remarkable story. Realizing she could have used her wish to visit Disneyland or something similar, Nehemiah, a boy from the program, said that deciding to help the kids instead took heart.

After the kids heard Natalia’s story, some were inspired to pay it forward. Sarah, another child in the CASS program said her mom would be happy to learn about what happened today because she is always worried that Sarah and her siblings will get sick form the cold. Sarah vowed to give her blanket to her little sisters because they need it more she does.

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Beloved Bagel Shop Employee Receives Gift of Car from Customers

Shirley Ratliff receives car from loyal customers

Bagel shop employee receives gift of car from customers. Photo courtesy YouTube screencapture.

Customers recently surprised a beloved bagel shop employee with a random act of kindness that stuns and inspires.
Shirley Ratliff has been taking three different buses to get to work every day at Bruegger’s Bagel Shop in Raleigh, North Carolina where she has worked since 2006. The 47-year old worker had been saving for a car but that money was consumed by the cost of cancer treatments she was faced with a few years back.

 
Ratliff has a group of loyal customers, who call themselves “The Shirley Fan Club”, wanted to make things a little easier for her. They decided to pool their resources and get her a car. Last week they delivered the car to her in a moment she described as unforgettable.

 
She told local reporters who were on hand for the event, she had no idea her customers would go to such extremes for her.
It is Shirley’s positive attitude that has won her so many loyal and devoted customers. One of those customers, David Burton, masterminded the plan. When he invited other customers to pitch in for the new car, they were enthusiastic.

 
He said none of them even blinked and most asked how much money he wanted them to contribute. Most offered up $100 or $200, proving the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Raleigh.

 
In just two days, Burton had secured enough cash to purchase a used 1992 Buick LeSabre. He was also able to pay the taxes and provide automobile insurance. Though Ratliff is currently without a driver’s license, that is something she will changing quickly.
When asked why the customers did this for Ratliff, Craig Boyd explained that Shirley always has a smile and that she takes care of all of them. Perhaps it was their way of taking care of her, too.

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Secret Santa Surprises Fast-food Workers with $100 Bills

Secret Santa visits Fast Food restaurants

Santa is already busy in Hyannis

It’s the time of year when we begin to hear stories of strangers performing random acts of kindness and this year, the town of Hyannis, Massachusetts is the beneficiary. A stranger who bears more than a passing resemblance to Santa Claus has been visiting local fast food restaurants and making gifts of crisp $100.00 bills to the employees.

 

Among the establishments that have received the surprise visits so far are MaryLou’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Burger King and McDonald’s. Envelopes bearing the message, “Merry Christmas” were passed out to all the employees.

 

According to Karen Sanguedolce who manages the Dunkin’ Donuts, the man asked how many employees worked there and then counted out 19 envelopes and turned them over to her to distribute, saying he hoped she had a nice holiday. The experience left her pleasantly shocked.

 

One recipient at Dunkin’ Donuts is inspired by the gesture. Patrick Nee wants to do something similar when he is older and has the money to be able to do so.

 

Though this Santa-wannabe has left the fast food workers of Hyannis stunned, it isn’t the first time this has happened in the town. Clorissa DeCosta who works at Burger King said last year the envelopes contained $50.00. She said every employee working at the time of his visit gets an envelope.

 

No one knows the identity of the secret Santa and that is just how this generous stranger wants it to stay. The reasons why he does it are curious but unimportant. Aside from the monetary gift, he is giving the gift of the spirit of Christmas and that is priceless.

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Pearl Harbor Survivors Reunite, Promise It Won’t Be Last Time

Survivors meet for 73rd anniversary of Peral Harbor attack

Scene at Pearl Harbor December 7, 1941. Photo by Wikipedia

A bittersweet anniversary took place as fur of the remaining nine survivors of the USS Arizona were reunited for the anniversary of one of America’s darkest days. The men promised it would not be the last time they are together.

In advance of the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor that sank their ship, the men, members of the USS Arizona Reunion Association, gathered on Tuesday, Dec. 2 for what was the last official survivor gathering of the group. At a news conference that took place in a building which overlooks the Arizona memorial, the me – all over the age of 90 – vowed it wouldn’t be their last meeting, even if they have to meet somewhere other than Hawaii.

Louis Conter, 93, of Grass Valley California declared that the group still has time to go and will be back out here even if no one else can make it.

Donald Stratton, 92, survived having more than 65% of his body burned after the forward part of the ship where he was stationed was hit. His injuries kept him hospitalized for more than a year. The Navy gave him a medical discharge but he reenlisted a year later. He credits the Lord for saving the few that survived.

December 7 marked the 73rd anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the forces of Japan. Over 2,400 sailors, Marines and soldiers lost their lives. The four survivors toasted shipmates with replicas of wine glasses from their ship and with a bottle of sparkling wine given to the group from President Gerald Ford.

As they arrived for the conference, the men were saluted and treated to music from the U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet Band. They posed for pictures with tourists and reminisced about what happened that day so many years ago.

John Anderson, 97, of Roswell, New Mexico was on his way to breakfast after just having attended church services. Someone told him they’d seen planes heading in and he grew teary-eyed as he spoke about the twin brother he lost that day.

The men watched a live feed of a dive that entered the Arizona. Inside, more than 900 bodies out of the 1,177 who died on the ship still remain interred. Ashes of 38 survivors are also interred there.

Daniel Martinez, a National Park Service historian moderated Tuesday’s discussion. He was overcome with emotion when he shared that Lauren Bruner, 94, of Mirada, Calif. had signed papers indicating his desire to be interred at the Arizona. Conter is making those same arrangements for himself. It is his belief that people will continue to visit the memorial site of the USS Arizona and he and his shipmates will be glad for the company.

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One Random Act of Kindness Is the Day’s Lesson for Some College Students

College students learn the lesson of giving

Pizza man gets huge tip from college kids. Photo By Huffington Post

At Indiana Wesleyan University, CEO of Residential Education, Keith Newman, found a way to teach the lesson of giving to his students and faculty during a recent chapel service. The lesson, “do for one what you wish you could do for everyone” was demonstrated this past Wednesday with the pizza delivery man from Domino’s Pizza.

After ordering a couple of pizzas to be delivered to the university chapel, Newman passed around the basket to collect donations for the delivery man’s tip. He also asked everyone present to write a note of thanks to the unknown man. The bill for the pizzas was just $12.50. The amount collected for the tip was substantially more.

James Gilpin probably thought this was just another day at work. There is now way he could have known when he was brought to the stage in the chapel what was about to happen. He was given a piece of cake, a bag containing the thousands of notes and a tip of more than $1,200.00.

Jim Lo a faculty member who helped organize the event and was present for the generous tip-giving, described Gilpin’s face. Gilpin listened as what was being given to him was announced. His face was completely blank for a few moments. But as he left the stage with his tip, that smile was “wonderful to behold”, according to Lo.

Gilpin later he said he was completely overwhelmed by the act. He was not alone. Students who were there cheered, clapped and cried all at the same time. They later said they had definitely learned a lesson about the impact participating in such an act of random kindness can have – not only on the recipient but on the giver.

Gilpin plans to use the money to buy Christmas gifts for his kids this year. Looks like gift will influence others, too.

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Man Plans To Have Coffee With Each Of His 1,000 Facebook Friends

Man meets for coffee with each of his 1000 Facebook frinds.

Photo Matt Kulesza (L) with friend Joshua Poly-Goldschläger.

In this day and age, we are more apt to strike up a conversation with someone we don’t know personally through social media than we are with the person sitting next to us on the bus or the subway. Australian student Matt Kulesza Wants to rekindle good old fashioned face time with real, live human being. So he is taking the next 3 years to meet and have coffee with each and every one of his 1,000 friends on Facebook.

He calls his goal the “1000+ Coffees” project. He started in September and sees the endeavor as an opportunity to leave the “book” behind while reminding himself to socialize and get to know people ‘IRL’ or in real life.

As of this past Thursday, Kulesza had already met and had coffee with 26 of his “friends.” He is chronicling his meetings on both his Facebook page and on his Tumblr account. He uses photos and summaries of their conversations as well as descriptions of what they were drinking to capture each meeting.

He plans to meet with 5 people each week for the next 3years until he has met all 1,000. He doesn’t see this as a chore but rather as fun. He says he likes having coffee with people.

Each meeting provides insight into his friend. They discuss more than just coffee. Kulesza says no topic is off limits. Politics, pop culture and even tarot cards have been discussed with equal enthusiasm.

Kulesza says it amazes him how at school, everyone sits waiting for the lecturer to arrive and stared mindlessly into their phones. No one speaks to the people around them anymore. His “1000 Coffees” project should serve as a wakeup call to the rest of us that life is about the human touch and the connections we make IRL.

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‘Breaking Bad’ star Bryan Cranston Grants Wish of Terminally Ill Teen

Actor meets termianlly ill superfan

Bryan Cranston grants wish of terminally ill fan. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

A young man battling cancer was granted a wish from his bucket list and that wish was to meet Bryan Cranston, star of “Breaking Bad.” Brad Joyner, 19, has a form of brain cancer known as glioblastoma. Though the survival rate for this type of cancer isn’t great, the Mebane, North Carolina teen hasn’t lost hope.

He recently said he knows the survival rate is low for his type of cancer but he has strong faith and is determined to live. Together with his mom, Aimee Pettigrew, he made a “living list” of things he wants to do in his lifetime.

One of those things was meeting Bryan Cranston. Joyner realized that wish last weekend when he spent 30 minutes on a Skype video chat with the star of “Breaking Bad.”

To top off the once-in-a-lifetime experience, Cranston ordered an ice cream truck in his name to visit Joyner’s neighborhood. Everyone got to indulge in the treats Cranston sent, according to Pettigrew’s Facebook page.

The meeting was a dream come true. Joyner said Cranston was awesome. He asked the actor if he had a living list. Joyner learned that Cranston is an adventure seeker who shares his joy of living.

The teen had been trying to finagle a meeting with actor for some time. Using social media and an ad campaign that included the catch phrase #BreakingBad designed to hopefully capture Cranston’s attention; Joyner got people to post pictures of themselves holding up signs of the hashtag. It definitely generated a buzz.

The online community took hold of the campaign and ran with it. Through friends of friends, the meeting was arranged by Pettigrew> when the meeting was set, she broke the news to her son.

Joyner has scratched off a couple of other items from the list including swimming with sharks and driving a 1967 Mustang. Neither compares with meeting Cranston.

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First 3-D Printer Vertebra Used to Treat 12-Year-Old Cancer Patient

First 3-D printed vertebra treats cancer patient

12-year-old boy in China receives 1st 3-D printed vertebra. Photo courtesy YouTube Screen Capture

The wonders of the 3-D printer are just beginning to populate the common consciousness and for one 12-year-old boy, the fantastical invention is changing his life.

Minghao of China learned about two months ago that he had Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of bone cancer usually discovered in children. There was a tumor lodged on the second vertebra of his spine. The usual treatment for this is bine replacement using a titanium tube. Minghao’s doctors decided to try something different.

Using the research and technology developed by the 3-D printer, the doctors at Beijing’s Peking University Third Hospital fabricated an exact replica of Minghao’s vertebra. When it is implanted surgically, they will be able to forego the usual surgical screws or cement. This will allow the boy to recover more quickly. Better still is the fact that the procedure will leave him with a greater range of motion in his neck that the previously used type of procedure would have. This is accomplished because the piece of replacement bone is made from titanium powder and has tiny pores throughout its design that will allow the child’s future bone growth to bond with it.

Minghao underwent the 5-hour procedure in August. It makes him the first recipient of a vertebra created by a 3-D printer.

Others have been helped by the ever-expanding technology surrounding 3-D printers. An Ohio baby’s life was saved in 2013 when it received an airway printed on the device. The implant corrected a birth defect that caused the infant’s airway to collapse several times, cutting off his supply of oxygen and on occasion, stopping his heart.

Minghao is expected to make a full and speedy recovery, thanks to the new vertebra and the out-of-the-box thinking by his doctors.

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9/11 Victim Who Lost Dad Helps Newtown Victims Heal

9/11 loss spurs one woman to help Newtown residents

Sept. 11 motivates woman to help others in Newtown

Amanda Gregory, like so many others, is touched and reminded of the events of 9/11. That is the day she lost her father. The school shooting at the Newtown Sandy Hook Elementary School stirred her feelings of grief like nothing since that fateful day 13 years ago.

Gregory, 32, who lives just 40 minutes away from Newtown has found some measure of comfort by volunteering through the nonprofit organization, Tuesday’s Child. The organization, like a handful of others, works with those left devastated by 9/11 as well as the families affected by the school shooting that claimed 26 innocent lives.

Losing her father in such a tragic and unexpected way left her dealing with grief and other emotions. While much of the time that followed that experience was a blur, Gregory knew she wanted to be a vessel for healing. When she watched with horror the events unfolding in Connecticut, her desire to help was bolstered even more.

She recalls that she broke down because she understood what the friends and families of the victims were feeling. Her heart was breaking for the families touched so horrifically by this act of human violence. Her purpose was to let them know there are others who understand what they are going through and that even though healing takes time, there is hope.

Today Gregory is a junior board member with Tuesdays’ Child. Her work with the organization is helping raise funds for the Resiliency Center of Newtown, an organization launched last year with the assistance of Tuesday’s Child. It aims to help the community deal with the unspeakable tragedy that rocked its very foundation.

Stephanie Cinque is the founder and executive director of Resiliency Center of Newtown. She lives in the community and decided they could use the help Tuesday’s Child in setting up a similar resource. Though the tragic events these two towns experienced are very different, they do share similarities.

Cinque, a certified social worker, has overseen the operation and watched as it has helped 700-800 people in the community through art, play and music therapy. It offers support groups and socialization through sporting and other events.

The workshop Creative Insight has had the most impact. Run by two women who lost loved ones on Sept. 11, it helps strengthen the bonds between those who’ve suffered an immeasurable loss like the people of Newton have.

The center is helping the community heal because it is a safe place for those who have been shattered by the violence of others. The shared experience helps people hold on and learn to trust again.

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