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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Prince William comforts boy whose mother died

Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, visited a bereavement center called Keech Hospice Care in Lutton, England, to mark its 25th anniversary. There he met 14-year-old Ben Hines. Ben and his three brothers lost their mother a year ago. All four are still struggling with grief.


The Duke lost his own mother, Princess Diana, 20 years ago in a car accident in Paris. He advised the Hines family to stick together through trying times. "I know how you feel," William told Ben. "I still miss my mother every day. The important thing is to talk about it as a family. It's okay to feel sad. It's okay for you to miss her." Speaking after the meeting, Ben's father said, "He gave Ben his absolute attention. He put his hand on Ben's shoulder and told him time is a healer and to stick together and talk."

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Do you want fries with that? Or a hug?

For five days a week, ever since 1984, Freia David has spent the lunch rush frying, salting and boxing fries at the McDonald's in Needham, Massachusetts. She always arrives with hugs, leaves with hugs, and sometimes dances in place because she loves her job so much. She has Down syndrome, and always greeted customers with a smile. But recently, after 32 years at the French fry station, 52-year-old Freia showed a few signs of early onset dementia, common in adults with Down syndrome.  It might no longer be safe to work with hot oil, so a few weeks ago, Freia gave notice.


Last Monday, she and her 90-year-old mother, Anneleise David, returned to the Golden Arches one final time, for what the family believed would be a "small retirement party." Instead, the restaurant was packed with 200 customers who had been touched by Freia's endless kindness and smiles over three decades. McDonald's management presented her with a proclamation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives, honoring her service. Director of Operations Bob Broughton said, "Her smile, her enthusiasm, her daily hugs made our restaurant more than just a restaurant. It made us part of Freia's family. We love you, we appreciate you, we respect you, and we're all better people for having you in our lives." She received a silver necklace with a McDonald's french fry carton pendant, an assortment of her favorite Disney stuffed animals, and three hours of hugs and high-fives.

Monday, August 29, 2016

"It takes a heap o' livin' in a house to make it home"

In the words of poet Edgar Guest, "Home ain't a place that gold can buy or get up in a minute. A'fore it's  home there's got t' be a heap o' livin' in it." Few people know this better than Tom and Jean Cheetham of Australia. They moved into their first and only home in Sydney in 1938. There the happy and inseparable couple raised their family and lived contentedly until last year. When Tom was 103 and Jean was 100, they moved together into a nursing home and their beloved house was auctioned to help pay the bills. After 22 bids, it sold for $1.6 million. What made it so valuable?


It's one of very few properties in the neighborhood that was never renovated. It was impeccably neat and tidy, and still featured its original design and decor. From carpets to appliances to the smallest details, it was a pristine, nostalgic glimpse into the past. Heavy with priceless family memories, the sale was bittersweet for Tom and Jean's grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. They all knew that, over the years as Jean grew more frail, Tom gladly took on the housework and gardening. In fact, he was mowing the lawn up to the day they moved out. When asked to give advice about love, he only said couples don't stay together anymore.  But he surely knew that in any marriage, only one person can be perfect, and it's always the one you love.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

A double-crumb from a reader in Redlands, CA

FIRST CRUMB: Two young cousins, age 12 and 16, were walking down Brockton Avenue in Redlands, CA, a few days ago when a man approached them. He claimed to have a gun, and made off with the 12-year-old's black Haro BMX-style bicycle with tan walls on the tires. "Obviously it was a sad and frustrating situation t see a 12-year-old boy prayed upon by an adult, and his bike stolen," said Redlands Police spokesman Carl Baker. Officers wanted to right the wrong, and Walmart donates new bikes to the police department for use in bike rodeos. Police surprised the young Redlands boy with one of their donated bicycles, while asking the public for help finding the suspect, described as a Latino in his 20s with a bald head, goatee and tattoos on his neck.

                                                                                                                        Courtesy Photo
SECOND CRUMB: Several days later, Redlands police patrolling the area near Brockton Avenue spotted a 29-year-old man riding the victim's bike. The man admitted he took the boy's bike, and was arrested on suspicion of robbery. The boy was reunited with the bike he lost, and now he had not just one bike, but two. Instead of keeping his replacement bike, he donated it to another child in need.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Humanizing the badge

Three Texas school children who lost their dad earlier this month had special stand-ins for their first day of school. Amarillo police officer Justin Scherlen died earlier this month. His three children, Charity, Taylor and Jackson started school Monday morning. All three attend Coronado Elementary School, and for little Jackson, it was literally his FIRST day of school. So who would take them?

                                                                                                                                  Facebook
More than 20 offices from the Amarillo Police Department showed up to escort the children to class. The officers lined the halls and gave hugs, making the first day of school a little sweeter. The police escort was a complete surprise to the children, but officers were emotional too. Sergeant Carla Burr said, "It hit me at lunch time when we took the youngest one in. They don't get to tell dad about these stories," and I was just bawling." The children's mother, Jessica Scherlen, said her late husband would have appreciated what his colleagues did for the children.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hoosier Starbucks manager saves customers lives

Last Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., an unexpected tornado touched down in Kokomo, Indiana. Hanna Harris of Muncie (below left) was a customer at the Markland Mall coffee shop and reported on Facebook that "the shift manager came out and told us there was a tornado that had touched down and it was headed this way and we all needed to take shelter in the bathrooms." About 20 customers and staff walked calmly into the bathrooms and stood quietly for several minutes. No one knew how close the tornado was, but cell phones were sounding "take cover" alerts. Then the tornado hit. The vibration and shaking caused everyone to drop to their knees as the entire coffee shop collapsed -- except the two bathrooms, Because of the rubble, everyone was trapped, but safe. Harris added, "If it was not for the manager being aware of the situation, I would not be here writing this post!!!"

                                                   Hanna, Angel, and a another customer.  

She adds that a patron from a nearby Chili's saw Starbucks implode and rushed over with friends, climbed over the rubble, and pried open the bathroom doors, setting the survivors free. Gov. Mike Pence, who visited Kokomo the next day,  called it a miracle that nobody in town was killed or seriously hurt by the tornado. He might be right. The Starbucks manager's first name is Angel.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Have you heard of the Cajun Navy?

Thousands lost their homes in recent flooding in Louisiana. But even before Uncle Sam got to the scene, the Cajun Navy rescued more than 30,000 people from water-logged homes and rooftops. The Cajun Navy first set sail 11 years ago, when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. At that time, a local radio station put out a call for anyone with seaworthy craft to meet at a flooded mall. Organizers expected 25 or 30 boats to show up, but more than 350 appeared. Working together, they rescued 10,000 people after Katrina.

                                                                                                             Brett Duke / NOLA.com
After the recent flood, the Cajun Navy didn't just rescue people. It also saved 1,400 pets. Crewmen actually got into the water to assist animals who could not swim to safety. These heroic efforts may only be the tip of the spear this year. According to the Red Cross, hundreds of people from all 50 states have already arrived in Louisiana to help with relief efforts.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

'Love thy neighbor' means do your part

Lester Brown was shopping at Wal-Mart in San Antonio, TX, recently. He's a pastor, father-of-five, and a re-entry specialist for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. But that day he had a one-hundred dollar bill in his pocket, which he intended to spend to help someone in need. And suddenly, there she was, right in front of him in the check-out lane.

                                                                                                                      Photo by KENS 5
Sabrina Drude teaches 7th grade at Scobee Middle School.  She was buying spiral notebooks for all her students. The bill came to $97. "I remembered I had this hundred-dollar bill to respond to someone in need, and God said to respond," Brown explained. I paid (her bill) and she started to cry. Then she was going to make me cry, so I looked away." Drude said his generosity "inspired me and so many others to be kinder." Commenting later, Brown said, "I challenge you, whatever it is you can afford, to volunteer at a school, or help a family. 'Love thy neighbor' means do your part."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Thanking a reader near Raleigh for this crumb

It happened at the Wendy's restaurant on Goodman Road in W. Horn Lake, Mississippi. DeSoto County Sheriff's sergeant David McCoy saw a man standing outside. The man was down on his luck, and hungry, so McCoy walked him inside and offered to buy him lunch. Wendy's management refused let the deputy pay. They insisted on paying for the poor man's meal. McCoy sat down and had lunch with the stranger. He was Dan Williams, 57. He had no money or phone and had been hitching rides from Ohio to be with family in Monroe, Louisiana. McCoy wanted to help, so he and three other deputies pitched in to buy Williams an $89.00 bus ticket home, plus $60 for food and necessities.

                                                                                          DeSoto County Sheriff's Department
Sergeant McCoy remembered that Williams broke down and cried as he was dropping him off at the bus station in nearby Memphis, TN. Williams looked at McCoy and told him, "Out of all the people that reached out to help me in my time of need, it was the cops. Thank you!"

Sunday, August 21, 2016

What is it about barbecue?

Is it the fact that you can smell it a block away? Is it the smoke? For some reason, when you hand someone a plate of barbecue, it's like giving them a hug, smile and handshake all at once. Christian Dornhorst and his wife Amanda know this. They live across the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge, which was recently ravaged by destructive floods. Maybe the flood victims would appreciate a barbecue! First they went to Sam's Club to buy $850 worth of chicken thighs, sausage, hotdogs and brisket. They seasoned the meat, hitched a smoker to their truck and drove to the Celtic Media Center, a shelter for people displaced by the storm.

                                                                                                              Christian Dornhorst
As you can see, only a few people showed up early to wait in line, but Dornhorst served food all day, cooking chicken and sausage on small grills while 108 pounds of brisket sat in the smoker until 7 p.m. The brisket was gone 20 minutes after it was ready! Why? Dornhorst explained that "barbecue brings people together. It gives you time to talk, as the smell fills the air. It's a way to show everyone you are cooking for how much you care about them, and how much they mean to you." The next day, he and his wife returned with an additional $990 worth of grub to serve Army and Air Force personnel and police officers providing disaster relief at the shelter. Dornhorst is an Army veteran.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Boy mows lawns to pay for school supplies

Tyran Bell of Wilmington, North Carolina, is ten years old. He started 5th grade this month, but realized his mom, Tara Lewis, couldn't afford to buy him supplies and new clothes for school. She has missed some work while she takes care of his uncle, so Tyran decided to earn money mowing lawns to pay for his own school supplies, and supplies for his 14-year-old brother. Tara helped her son advertise his service in a neighborhood Facebook group. That's where Theresa Babb saw it.


"We have 100-degree days with really high humidity and he's 10 years old, out there mowing grass," she said. She copied his link and sent it to every radio station and newspaper. She volunteered her office space to collect school supplies, clothing and lawn equipment for Tyran. Supplied poured in, and Tyran decided any extra supplies would go to other needy children. But he wants to continue his lawn mowing, because he enjoys it so much.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Lifetime of love begins in concentration camp

Sigi Siegreich was 21 years old in 1944. He'd spent his teenage years a prisoner at the Czestochowa concentration camp in Poland. During the day, he worked in a munitions workshop, making bullets for the Nazi army. He was secretly making bullets to small for the gun barrels.  "I had no interest in girls," he said, "because I was a skeleton." At least not until New Year's Eve, 1944.

                                                                                                                                        ABC News
That's when he first saw 19-year-old Hanka. She was also wasting away, but Sigi says her eyes were so beautiful that he lost his mind. "The whole world was turning around me," he said, "and I heard bells ringing." They talked, and he could not help giving her a kiss on the cheek. She still recalls that first kiss, remembering that "he was very gentle." Then they learned the Gestapo was looking for Sigi, since he had sabotaged the bullet factory. He hid in a nearby abandoned construction site. Only Hanka knew where he was. She risked her life to keep him alive, smuggling him small pieces of her tiny bread ration. Then one night she came with a smile and open arms. The Russian Army had liberated the camp. "The Nazi's are gone," she told him. "We are free!" The next day they got married, but never had a proper wedding ceremony until their 50th anniversary, where they wed again in their daughter's back yard. The couple, now 91 and 93, have their gravestones prepared, side by side. The inscription also commemorates their immediate family who were never given a grave. "We are inviting the souls of our exterminated family to rest in our grave," Hanka explained.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Daughter gives step-dad best gift of all

Turning 18 usually means more independence from parents, but not for Lauren Hernandez. Her Mom, Sally Hernandez, has been dating the same man, Joe Iosco, since Lauren was one year old. Lauren remembers, "He did things for me and he took me places. I was only with my biological father every other weekend, but I was with Joe almost every day.

                                                                                                                                    ABC News
Iosco admits his bond with Lauren is close. "As the years went by, I not only fell in love with Sally, but I fell in love with Lauren as well," he said. But he was not prepared for what happened at her high school graduation party. First she presented him with a gift, a framed poem that is so heartfelt that it made him cry. Then Iosco discovered an envelope, and inside were adoption papers. "I'm asking Joe to adopt me," Lauren told her family and friends on a video that went viral. The video shows Iosco, overwhelmed with joy. Between tears, he manages to get out a "yes," and guests began cheering. "In the end, she chose me," he told ABC News, "and there's no better gift than that."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Today's crumb is from a reader in Raleigh, NC

Mileyana Peebles, 7, of Weldon, North Carolina, was heartbroken recently when another child broke her bicycle. Her mother, Darcus Shearin, filed a report with the Halifax County Sheriff's Office. Mileyana was crying because the chain was tangled and the bike would not move forward or backward. Than things took a turn for the better.

                                                                                     Courtesy photo
Lt. George Evans followed up on the report to see if he could help. He brought some tools to their house on his own time and repaired the bike for Mileyana. According to Shearin, her daughter was overjoyed when he fixed her bike. She felt he was a hero. He went beyond what he was supposed to do. As for Lt. Evans, he said, "I like to fix things. I figured I would take a look at it." He said Mileyana was "real happy. She gave me a big hug."

Monday, August 15, 2016

A crumb from a reader in Indianapolis, Indiana

Eric Comfort's favorite restaurant in Marietta, Georgia, is Chick-fil-A. He eats there often, but was blown away by something he saw at the restaurant last Veteran's Day. Beside serving veterans and their families free that day, the Chick-fil-A at Woodlawn Square set up a Missing Man Table. Comfort took this photo with his phone and uploaded it to Facebook, where it went viral.

                                                                                                           Facebook
The plaque on the table says, "This table is reserved to honor our missing comrades in arms. The table cloth is white, symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call of duty. The single red rose reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the loved ones and friends who keep the faith, awaiting answers. The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by the missing and their families who seek answers. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country. The glass is inverted, to symbolize their inability to share this evening's toast. Their chair is empty -- they are missing."

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Mother goose asks for police assistance

Today's crumb was submitted by a faithful reader in Columbus, Indiana. Sergeant James Givens of the Cincinnati Police Department was sitting in his cruiser in a park eating a bagel when he heard a strange tapping on his driver's door. He looked outside and saw a mother goose tapping the door with her beak. He gave her a piece of bagel, but the goose was not hungry. She just kept tapping, and then walked away toward a pond, and paused to look back as if to say, "follow me." So Sgt. Givens did follow the goose and soon found one of her goslings tangled up in the string of a balloon.

                                                                                                                                  YouTube
Concerned the protective mother goose might attack him if he touched the gosling who needed help, Givens radioed for back-up, and a female officer spent three minutes untangling the string from around the gosling while the mother goose watched calmly. As soon as the gosling was free, it rejoined its mother and siblings and they all walked away, honking. Describing the other officer, Givens said she has kids of her own and the motherly instinct must have kicked in "because it was like they communicated. The mother goose didn't bother her."

Saturday, August 13, 2016

92-year-old husband sings to his wife

Harvey and Mildred Wosika (shown below) were married in 1966. Harvey was already retired two years from the military, and Mildred worked at Harvey's brother's cafe. Both were divorced, and their children introduced the two, but in hindsight, Mildred believes "God brought us together. We just seemed to hit it off. Our kids got along together very well." Now fast forward 50 years.


Between them, they have 11 children, 35 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. They celebrated their golden anniversary August 7 with 150 friends and family at the Newkirk Senior Citizens Center in Oklahoma. After half-a-century together, Harvey had a surprise for Mildred. He dropped to one knee and sang her, "Let me call you sweetheart." Harvey thought it would be a good way to show Mildred he appreciates her. "He's a good man," she said. "He's been a good husband and father to our kids. I can't complain." Their only daughter, Dawn McDonald, made a video of her Dad singing to her Mom. If you have a tissue handy, you can watch and listen to him sing by clicking on https://www.facebook.com/lisa.epperly.1/videos/10154374170592192/

Friday, August 12, 2016

Forgiveness: is it talked or walked?

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. -- In February, 1993, Mary Johnson's 20-year-old son Laramiun Byrd, was shot to death after an argument at a party. His killer was 16-year-old Oshea Israel. Mary believed Oshea was an animal and wanted him caged. He was tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 years in prison. He served 17 years before being released, and he now lives back in his old neighborhood, next to Mary.


Mary hated Oshea for 12 years, until the pastor at her church asked her to lead a meeting on forgiveness. After a struggle, she told herself that she forgave Oshea for killing her son, but knew she had to do more. She had to live her forgiveness by going to Stillwater State Prison and visiting Oshea. When they met, she told him she forgave him, and he asked to hug her. She remembers, "He had to hold me up until I felt this 'thing' leave me. And I instantly knew that all the hatred, the bitterness, the animosity, all that junk I had inside for 12 years, I knew it was over with. Instantly, it was gone." They began visiting often. When he was released in 2010, Mary arranged his homecoming party. She introduced him to her landlord, and with her blessing, he moved into the apartment next to hers. Strengthened by Mary's mercy, Oshea works at a recycling plant and goes to college at night. Mary admits she never got to see her son graduate from college, but she looks forward to attending Oshea's graduation. "Mary has turned into one of my biggest supporters," says Oshea. She worries about me even when I'm not worried about myself. And that is something a mother does." He loves her like a mother, and she loves him like a son. That's forgiveness.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Waste money if you must, but not society's resources

 Minu Pauline owns a restaurant in Kochi, India. She always has leftovers at the end of the day, and she often notices hungry people rummaging through bins outside for food. So she had a good idea. She put a fridge outside to feed people in need.

                                                                                                                                  Faeebook
Restaurant patrons and staff both put unwanted food in the fridge. It's unlocked 24/7 and anyone can take food from it, no questions asked. Pauline herself leaves about 75 portions in the fridge each day. "Money is yours," she says, "but resources belong to society. If you're wasting your money, it's your money, but don't waste the resources, don't waste food."

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

An Olympic gold medal for diplomacy?

Speaking of the photo below, political scientist Ian Bremmer said, "This is why we do the Olympic games." It shows Lee Eu-ju, 17, of South Korea, and Hong Un-jong, 27, of North Korea, smiling together for a selfie during the training period before the gymnastics games in Rio.

                                                                                                                                   Facebook
North and South Korea are technically at war, and political relations have been tense in recent months with missile launches from Pyongyang, but Olympic sports bring everyone together. Both girls competed as individual qualifiers in artistic gymnastics. They failed to win the championship in their round, but most who saw this picture agree they earned a gold medal for diplomacy.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Virginia drivers violating vehicle code 1739

Police in Halifax, Virginia, stopped half-a-dozen motorists recently and told them they were in violation of vehicle code 1739. When asked if they understood why they had been pulled over, none of the drivers had ever heard of vehicle code 1739. And now we know why. There is no such code. Halifax Police Chief Kevin Lands and his partner, officer Brian Warner, made it up.

                                                                                                            Kevin Lands / Facebook
As drivers wondered if they'd been speeding, officers Lands and Warner told them, "It's actually against the law to drive on a hot day without an ice cream cone. Drivers sighed with relief when the police handed each driver and passenger an ice cream cone. Altogether, police handed out 16 cones. Lands explained, "I hope that especially in today's climate people can see that cops are humans. We like to have fun."

Monday, August 8, 2016

Dad's presence felt at daughter's wedding

On the day in 2006 when Michael Stepien of Swissvale, PA, was killed by a mugger, Arthur Thomas lay in a New Jersey hospital. His heart was failing, and he was only expected to live a few more days. Stepien was registered as an organ donor, so his heart was transplanted into Thomas, who recovered completely. During the past decade, Thomas has kept in touch with Stepien's daughter, Jeni, and recently she wrote him a letter, asking if he'd be willing to walk her down the aisle at her wedding last Saturday, since her Dad could not. As you can see from the picture, Thomas happily agreed.


Thomas and his wife traveled from New Jersey to the Pittsburgh area for the ceremony. He said he could not imagine a greater honor than escorting the daughter of the man who gave him his heart, and his life.  Before walking down the aisle, Jeni held her hand against Thomas' chest and felt her father's heartbeat. She said she was glad her father was represented at her wedding, in a special way.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Strangers help Olympic Dad attend the games

Darrell is a Penn State track and field star who made the U.S. Olympic team for shot put on his first try. His dad, Ellis, is an Uber driver in Philadelphia. He's proud of his son, but never planned to attend the games himself. He could not afford to make the trip.  "It wasn't in the cards at all," he said. "I was thinking about getting a good bag of popcorn and sitting down to watch it on TV."

                                                                                                                        GoFundMe
He happened to mention this one one of his fares, Liz Willock, who works for a firm that transports medical patients to clinical trials. She offered to use her professional connections to fund a trip to Rio for Ellis. "You're an Olympic father! You need to go," she told him.  She launched a GoFundMe campaign to send the Olympian's father to Rio, and it raised $8,200, easily exceeding the $7,500 goal. A United Airlines pilot donated airline miles to cover Ellis' flight to Brazil. Ellis has never travelled outside the US before, and is excited to watch his son compete in the games.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Olympic swimmer helps save 20 lives

Yusra Mardini is at the Olympics today as part of a 10-member refugee team. She's a talented swimmer and will compete in the women's 100-meter butterfly and freestyle heats. But you'll never guess how she got noticed as a potential Olympic swimmer.

                                                                                                                           YouTube
Like many Syrian refugees, she tried to escape to Greece. She and 19 other refugees were squeezed onto a small boat meant for six passengers, and set adrift. Within 30 minutes, the overloaded dinghy began filling with water. Yusra and her sister jumped out of the boat and swam behind it, pushing it through the Aegean Sea all the way to land. Everyone on the boat survived. To meet her and hear her tell her own story, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1REQm6TIBR0  You'll be glad you did!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Remember when morals really mattered?

If you read nothing else this summer, consider Andy & Don, The Making of a Friendship And a Classic American TV Show, by Daniel deVise. Buy it at your local bookstore, or on Amazon.com. You'll learn that Andy Griffith and Don Knotts both grew up in abject poverty and were bullied. Classmates in high school called Andy "white trash." When they met on broadway in the 1950s, their humble beginnings and southern roots made them best friends, and when Andy went to Hollywood to film a TV pilot about a small-town sheriff, Don called to ask if he could use a deputy. The rest, as they say, is history.


Behind the small-town charm of Mayberry, de Vise reveals explosive tempers, bouts of neurosis, grudges nourished for years, silent rivalries, passionate secret love affairs (including Sheriff Taylor and Helen Crump), and struggles with the temptations of fame. Even though Don left the show in 1965, he and Andy remained best of friends for the next half-century. How close were they? Don did many guest appearances on Andy's later show, Matlock, and when Don died in 2006, Andy was at his bedside. By the end of their lives, both men made peace with their legacies. As he neared death, Andy admitted he expected to meet Don in heaven, and both men are forever remembered for Mayberry, which reminds us of a time when morals really mattered. It's a reminder we need today.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Rival gang members unite for peaceful streets

Gridlock in Washington. Mud-slinging presidential campaign politics. Tension between blacks and police. Just when it looked like peaceful cooperation was extinct, there's good news from Los Angeles. On July 17 (are you sitting down?), over 2,000 rival southern California gang leaders including Crips and Bloods held a summit at the Church of Scientology Community Center in south Los Angeles to discuss making peace on the streets.


It was a peaceful meeting of gang members, police, and the families and friends of gang victims. When Minister Tony Muhammad called on all who want peace to raise their fists, every arm was raised. In a graphic example of reconciliation, a Blood and a Crip took of their red and blue T-shirts and handed them to each other, embracing. Last year, almost 1,000 people were shot in Los Angeles. "We have to be more positive," said one gang leader. "We have to stop killing one another. Let's unite, make a difference, be the change." Maybe the darkest hour does precede the dawn?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tea for two, with one in blue

On July 26, 2015, 22-month-old Bexley Norvell of Texas swallowed a coin and choked on it. She was unable to breathe, and was unresponsive when Corporal Patrick Ray was dispatched to the scene. The quick-thinking officer cleared her throat and got her to breathe again.

                                                                                                               Chelle Cates Photography
In gratitude for saving her daughter's life, Bexley's mom, Tammy Norvell, invited Ray this July to a tea party photo shoot by professional photographer Chelle Cates in a park in Rowlett, Texas. The officer agreed without hesitation. Bexley's mom said the party included a special surprise for her daughter. "It was her first time eating Oreos, and she definitely enjoyed every crumb."

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Boyfriend dances into girlfriend's heart

How do you propose to your sweetheart, if she's a high school dance coach? Why not try dancing! Alan and Courtney went to the same high school, which is where Courtney later started a dance team, but the couple never met until years later. Alan decided an upcoming dance competition might be the perfect moment to "pop the question" after performing a wedding-themed dance routine with the team.

 Everyone (except Courtney) knew what was going to happen when the head of the competition pulled her aside for a consultation. As the two women talked, the dance team and Alan took positions behind her on the dance floor and launched a flash mob performance. Courtney could hardly believe her eyes as Alan danced toward her to propose. The whole gym was filled with excitement. To find out what happened next, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMML55Fim4I

Monday, August 1, 2016

Free, five-day summer camp changes lives forever

It's called Camp Chance, and it was created a few years ago by the San Rafael, California, Police Department, the Marin County Sheriff's Office, and the Marin County Office of Education. It's free for 65 boys and girls ages 11-13, but only if they are the most at-risk kids in their district. They enjoy all the usual summer camp adventures like swimming and sports, but they also get to hang out with police officers; see a police helicopter touch down at the camp; meet firemen who visit with their trucks, and see a search and rescue mission up close.

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Over the years, the camp has proven that when kids build relationships with police, they are less likely to be destructive as teens. Take 16-year-old David Bosshard for example. He first attended Camp Chance when he was younger, and returned this year as a counselor. His Dad had been in and out of jail, and he claims camp gave him a focus for his future.  "This program changed my life," he said. "I had no plan as to what my future would be. After my first time at Camp Chance, I knew I wanted to be involved in law enforcement."