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"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Inspiration: Best of the Good News April 9 2016

Inspiration: Best of the Good News April 9 2016
Tired of all the negative news?  Here is some of the latest from the best of the good news!

Jock Saved Helpless “Nerd” From Being Bullied, 4 Years Later He Learned The Heartwrenching Truth

This incredible story has been circulating the internet for a while.  It’s message is poignant… a lesson to us all.
The premise: a high school athlete saved a small boy with glasses from bullying.  Many considered him a nerd, but this jock stood up for him.
It wasn’t until four years after they met, and became dear friends, that he learned the true extent of his act of kindness’ aftermath.

The story:
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. It looked like he was carrying all of his books.
I thought to myself, “Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd.”
I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friend the next afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on.
As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them land in the grass about 10 feet from him.
He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, I saw a tear in his eye.

As I handed him his glasses, I said, “Those guys are jerks. They really should get lives.” He looked at me and said, “Hey thanks!” There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude.
I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before. He said he had gone to private school before now. I had never hung out with a private school kid before.
His name was Kyle. We talked all the way home, and I carried his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play football on Saturday with me and my friends. He said yes. We hung all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him. And my friends thought the same of him.
Monday morning came, and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, “Damn boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday!” He just laughed and handed me half the books. Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown, and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going to study business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class.
I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn’t me having to get up there and speak.
On graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than me and all the girls loved him! Boy, sometimes I was jealous.
Today was one of those days. I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, “Hey, big guy, you’ll be great!” He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled. “Thanks,” he said.

As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began.
“Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years. Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach … but mostly your friends. I am here to tell all of you that being a friend to someone is the best gift you can give them. I am going to tell you a story.”
I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn’t have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home.
He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. “Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable.” I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment.
I saw his mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize its depth.
Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person’s life.

Neglected Bear Was Put In A Rusty Cage For Thirty Years. Now Watch Her Reaction When They Free Her

In the winters, we humans like to cuddle up and ‘hibernate like a bear’. Bears in the wild actually DO innately curl up and go to sleep for approximately 8 months! Human beings know how terrible we feel when we lose sleep, but can you possibly imagine what it would be like to be robbed of a good night’s sleep for 30 years?!?
If Fifi the bear could speak, she would tell you about the terrible impact of this loss. As a cub, Fifi was purchased by the Pennsylvania roadside zoo. Forced to perform tricks for their shows for the first 10 years of her life, Fifi further suffered when the zoo would close, as they left her caged in a minuscule, rusty cage for over 20 years!
Fiji’s horrible neglect and torturous existence ended in July of 2015, thanks to the rescue by PETA and The Wild Animal Sanctuary. Robbed of her natural need to hibernate due to her imprisonment in that tiny cage for over 20 years, they found Fifi in a very deteriorated condition, with untreated arthritis. Her condition was so bad that they had doubts about whether she would be able to regain a strong, healthy state.
As you will see in the video below, Fifi’s rescue did allow her to slowly improve…after five months at the sanctuary, you will witness what the miracle of good and loving care, will render. Enjoy this wonderful story of recovery, and finally what a good sleep can do…Fifi is just awakening from her 30 year wait for a winter of hibernation in her cozy den!

Teen with Down syndrome shares moment she learns of college acceptance

A teen with Down syndrome is heading to college and a touching video showing her opening the acceptance letter has gone viral with millions of views.
“I got in! I’m going to college!” a happy Rachel Grace screams into her mother’s camera when it registers that she has been accepted to East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania.
The video has been viewed on Facebook more than 12.6 million times.
“It was very exciting; we were very happy for Rachel,” her mother, Deb Grace, told "Fox & Friends" Sunday.
Asked how she felt when she found out, Rachel said, “It was just cool.”
Rachel, a senior at a high school outside Philadelphia who is manager of her school's basketball team, had considered four special-needs schools that might cater to her better.
However, she decided she wanted to move out and live independently, Fox 29 Philadelphia reported.
East Stroudsburg shared the video last week on its Facebook page and said, "Welcome to ESU Rachel Grace! We are lucky to call you a Warrior."

She has been accepted to the school's Career, Independent Living & Learning Studies program for young adults with intellectual disabilities.
As a CILLS student, she will be getting the full college experience as soon as she steps foot on the ESU Campus in the fall, WNEP-TV reported.
“They go to class, they cheer on the Warriors, they go to the cafeteria, they wake up for that 8 a.m. Monday class,” College of Education Dean Terry Barry told the station.
Rachel’s video got to him, too.
“Of course, it just melts your heart when you see a student reading the acceptance letter, but at that moment, I didn't realize that over a half a million other people had also saw the video,” he said.

Boy Who Gave Soldier $20 He Found Wins High Honor

At a ceremony Friday, the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation presented a special award to a young man who inspired a nation with a selfless gift to a soldier.
Every year, the brotherhood of past military Medal of Honor recipients convenes to a different kind of medal–to recognize civilians who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.
For the first time this year, one of those Citizen Honor awards went to a child, 10-year-old Myles Eckert.
The Toledo, Ohio boy is known for his random act of kindness two years ago, when he found a twenty dollar bill in a restaurant parking lot and was excitedly dreaming of a new video game. He changed his mind when he saw a man in uniform. He wrote a note wrapped with the $20 and handed it to the stranger. The note read:
“Dear Soldier – My dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now. I found this $20 in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It’s your lucky day! Thank you for your service. Myles Eckert, a Gold Star kid.”
Beyond that admirable act, young Myles was selected to receive the Young Hero Award for his volunteer philanthropic work on behalf of Gold Star children, kids whose parents died in the line of duty serving in the military. To date, Eckert has raised more than $2 million.


6-year-old Texas runner with cerebral palsy defies odds to win medals

Kindergartner Reed Kotalik, 6, of The Woodlands, Texas, doesn’t know what cerebral palsy is. He just knows that his legs don’t work the way he’d like them to sometimes. But that doesn’t stop him from doing what he loves to do—run.
Around the time Reed, who has four siblings, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, he told his mother, Dawn, out of the blue that he would like to try running.
So in November of 2014, just after his fifth birthday, she found a one-mile Thanksgiving race for him to run.
“I had no idea how he did, I just knew that there were thousands of people out there, and so we left,”  Dawn Kotalik told Runner’s World by phone. “A couple of days afterward, they called and said they had this two-foot-tall trophy for him. At that point, he said he wanted to do more races.”

Four months after his diagnosis, Reed competed in the AAU 14-Under Youth National Indoor Track & Field Championships and took home gold medals in the 400 and 800 meters.
Kotalik learned Reed had been born with no cartilage in his throat, a condition called laryngomalacia, when he was six weeks old. He went through speech and eating therapy, which became the focus of the family’s energy for the first two years. Reed also had trouble sleeping, and a series of EEGs eventually revealed that his brain would try to wake him up as often as 17 times per hour during the night. Kotalik also sought advice from an orthopedist, because she had noticed an inversion of his left foot.
Finally, an MRI revealed abnormalities in the white matter in Reed’s brain and he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy shortly before he turned five.

Around that time, Reed’s neurologist recommended that he have surgery to correct the inversion of his foot. Though his mother scheduled the surgery three different times, she ultimately decided to look into other solutions.
“I couldn’t imagine making him take [time] off [from running] to have a foot surgery,” Dawn Kotalik said. “I thought maybe doing more to help his muscle control and movement would be a better solution.”
Reed now follows a schedule that requires discipline well beyond his years. Two or three times per week, Olympic 800-meter hopeful and former University of Arkansas runner Chris Bilbrew picks Reed up around 6:45 a.m. and they do 60–75 minutes of running training before Reed heads off to kindergarten.
“Reed isn’t like other 6-year-olds because he actually wants to do it, so it makes it easier to train him,” Bilbrew, a 1:47 800-meter runner, wrote in an email to Runner’s World. “He is very energetic and determined. He doesn’t like to lose and wants to work to make sure he wins.”

After school, Reed works on strengthening his muscles with the physical therapists at CHI St. Luke’s Health in The Woodlands. He takes Fridays off from training and receives a sports massage, and then spends the weekends working on his field events.
Reed has recently started competing in the shot put, turbo javelin, and long jump as well, in part to pass the time while waiting between his running events at track meets, and in part to keep his options open.
“I didn’t know how much longevity he would have with running, so I thought that if I could go ahead and get him into field events now, that if something happened where his running five years from now isn’t what it can be right now, at least he can still do something in the sport he loves,” Dawn Kotalik said.

Reed just finished up his two-meet indoor track & field season by earning five medals for top-four finishes. His favorite track race is the 1500 meters or mile. At a meet in Ypsilanti, Michigan, he ran 7:37 for 1600 meters, which is the equivalent of 7:39 for a mile.
Reed also enjoys road races. He’s raced as long as five miles, but quickly learned that for now, he prefers 5Ks.
“I think that, in his little mind, he thought that 5K and 5 miles were around the same amount, so after the five-miler, he was like, ‘You know what, I think I’m going to wait a little longer before I try that distance again,’” Dawn Kotalik said.

Reed’s next goal is to qualify for this summer’s Junior Olympics in Houston in four events.
Kotalik says that once her son is old enough to understand what cerebral palsy is, she will explain it to him.
“It seems like he knows something’s up and he likes feeling as though he’s doing something about it,” Kotalik said. “He seems to have that determination to kind of sort through it and work it out.”
“At this point, I see absolutely no limit with what I think he can do for himself,” Kotalik said. “There are certain days I’m one tired momma, but I look at him and I’m like, ‘How can I not just embrace what he’s doing?’”



Superhero Dad Selling 5,000 Classic Comic Books for Daughter's College Tuition

Al Sanders may have spent his entire life reading about superheroes in his vast classic comic book collection, but now he’s turning into a real-life superhero by selling them all to help fund his daughter's college tuition.
“As all parents who have college-age kids, we started putting together what it was going to cost and what we needed to do,” the doting dad from Seattle told ABC News of his decision to sell. “You start looking at those options you have, and my comic books were an option. That’s when I looked at their value, and I’m now trying to find a good home for them.”

Courtesy Al Sanders
Sanders has close to 5,000 vintage comic books, ranging from Iron Man and X-Men to Batman and Luke Cage, Hero for Hire. “I’ve got them all in 10 boxes, and the boxes in theory hold 500 each,” he explained. “My wife, when we met, she saw them and asked what they were and I said, ‘They’re my comic books and they come with me.’ She allowed me to keep those, but the Sports Illustrateds had to go.”

Courtesy Al Sanders
It’s now time for the comics to go, too.
Man Finds Grandparents' 100-Year-Old Wedding Cake Inside a Hatbox in Garage
Woman Finds Handwritten Letters From 1915 in Ceiling, Returns Them to Relatives
Rose is Sanders’ only child. Although she’s only 16 years old, she’s graduating high school early in June to attend Fisk University in Nashville this fall.
“She started kindergarten a year early and she determined last summer that she wanted to graduate a year early,” the proud father said.
He’s traveling to Emerald City Comicon this weekend in hopes of making a lucrative deal for his beloved lifelong collection.
“It’s one of this area’s largest conventions,” Sanders, 53, explained. “I was going to collect cards from some of the dealers to see if there’s interest from one individual to take the whole collection. I’m looking for somebody who enjoys reading them. When I was collecting them I was reading them, not thinking about them as an investment.”
Courtesy Al Sanders

He has no regrets about this decision as long as it means his daughter starts college on the right foot financially.
“We see all these stories of kids having to take out loans to be able to go. We want to try to avoid that,” he said. “If there’s anything that can help defray the cost of her getting started then that’s what we’re going to do.”
He says his daughter “really does appreciate” his efforts.
“She is the prettiest flower in my garden,” Sanders said of his soon-to-be college freshman.

Family Thanks Bus Driver for Kindness Towards Son With Down Syndrome

A New York family is showing their son's long-time bus driver gratitude for the positive impact he made on the teen.
Scott Reynolds retired in February after 35 years of driving buses for Fairport Central School District.
The family of Ty Coppola, 19, who has Down syndrome, wrote the driver a 'thank you' letter for looking after their son to and from school for so many years.
"We just wanted him to understand that he made a difference," Ty's dad, Michael Coppola, told ABC News. "I didn't have the time to tell Scott. I struggled to find the words. How do you tell him, 'You might think you're just driving these kids to school, but parents place a lot trust and maybe even more so when you have a child with a disability.'"

Mom Shares Post on Anniversary of Daughter’s Down Syndrome Diagnosis
Deaf Man Receives Touching Note From Starbucks Barista

The letter read, in part:
Not just a bus driver. Those are the words that come to mind when I think of Scott.
How can we explain that Scott has been so much more than “just a bus driver” to Ty? If I could ONLY show you a picture of how Ty’s face “lights up” when we open the garage and he sees Scott open the doors of the bus every morning. How he has a little extra “spring” in his step when Scott says “good morning Ty” or “what got into you today”? How he changes from not really wanting to go to school, to smiling as Scott gives him the usual “fist bump” as Ty boards the bus.
Ty has known Scott for many years. I think Scott can “read him” as well as we can at times. He cheers him up, gets his day started positively every day, and ends it with a smile. He is like another dad, or at least a big brother to Ty. Ty has a great sense for people he can trust. Scott earned that with Ty from Day 1, and that trust continues to this day. We are very sad because Ty really doesn’t understand that he will not see Scott again – at least not every day...
Reynolds drove Ty to and from the School of the Holy Childhood in Rochester, New York for almost 10 years.
The pair developed a special relationship, Coppola said.
"There weren't a whole lot of words exchanged between Ty and Scott," Coppola added. "Ty wears hearing aids. That's certainly the reason for his delayed, or limited speech. It was more of a sense of comfort because Scott always greeted him with a smile. Scott had no apprehension or fear of Ty. I use that term because I was like that myself until I had a son with disabilities.
"They understand a lot and most of what we're saying, so we need to treat them like we treat everybody else and Scott understands that."
Fairport’s Transportation Director Peter Lawrence said Reynolds was a “very dependable” bus driver and “he did a great job” in his role, according to a school district statement released to ABC News.
The Coppola family's handwritten letter was given to Reynolds during a surprise retirement party that was recently held for him.
Coppola said while he was worried about Reynolds leaving, the district has since hired a new driver who has put his mind at ease.
"[Ty] is handling the transition well," he said. "We have a very nice woman who I am sure will do a fantastic job. When I take him out to get on the bus, I still see a smile. When I show him the stories that have been published and he sees the pictures of him and Scott -- he's not going to say 'I miss Scott,' but I just have this sense from his smile that Scott's a person he'll remember and he certainly meant a lot to him."
Scott Reynolds will be honored at a brunch on May 9 as 2016's Pupil Transportation Employee of the Year, from the Rochester Area Transportation Supervisors Association.