Have you ever looked at a terrible situation from over seas and thought
“I wish I could help somehow” to yourself? This young man did too. His name
is Zack Francom, founder of “Zack’s Shack”
He was inspired by a school fundraiser for wheelchairs for a Mormon church charity.
After being inspired to help he erected his first Zack’s Shack. After selling 80
quarts of lemonade and 350 dozen cookies (home made) he earned 5,300 dollars
for his cause.
So what did this 11 year old do with his new found small fortune? He used it to
purchase 37 wheelchairs and had them shipped to poor families in desperate need.
The chairs were shipped to Guam, Guatemala and 53 other countries to help
those who cannot afford the help.
What an inspirational young man. We will probably hear more from him as he gets
older and more ambitious. The sky seems to be the limit for this big dreamer.
It is refreshing to see stories like this one from our kids today.
Much more inspiring and hopeful to see our children setting this kind of
example for us to follow.
Well done Zack.
One of the most loved animals in the National Zoo, the giant panda, became a mother of twins this past week. Mei Xiang gave birth
to the first panda baby in the early evening, a few hours later a second panda baby arrived. Both newborn pandas appear to be healthy, as does their tired mother.
Mei Xiang had been artificially inseminated in early spring using semen from a giant panda that lives in China and another giant panda, named Tian Tain, who also lives at the National Zoo. Zoo officials were knew the insemination procedure worked, but will not be able to determine which giant panda is the father of the twins until a DNA test is performed at a later date. Mei Xiang had been carefully monitored during her pregnancy and preparation had been made for the birth. When the giant pandas water broke, everything was quickly organized to help the birth go as smoothly as possible.
The newborn cubs are tiny, with one weighing 4 ounces and the other weighing 3 ounces. They are vulnerable at this point, but both appear to be strong and healthy and both are vocalizing, which is another sign of health. Mei Xiang has given birth in the past to two healthy cubs and proven herself to be a very good mother. Her first born is 10 years old and lives in China and her second born is now two years old and will be sent to China when he turns four.
After so many failed attempts and heartbreak over the loss of pandas babies, zookeepers are very optimistic about the survival of these newborn twin pandas. To help ensure the survival of these tiny babies, zookeepers are swapping them out
every few hours so each can have time to nurse and bond with mom. If left to follow her own natural instincts, Mei Xiang would nurse one twin and let the other one die, so human intervention is required to ensure the survival of both panda babies. While one baby nurses, the other one is kept in an incubator. Zookeepers have made the swap several times since their birth without incident and will continue the swapping method as long as mom Mei Xiang allows it without becoming aggressive towards those making the swap. Should that occur or if the cubs become underweight or sick, zookeepers are prepared to bottle feed the tiny pandas.
I found some uplifting news while I was browsing the web. On the Fox 8 News website, there is a story of a troubled mom who found help from a generous stranger. This article has gone viral and circulated across multiple outlets, including the Metro and TVNZ.
A mother had been spending several days in the hospital with her sick son. When he was discharged, she found a parking ticket on her car. I know something like this must have been a burden for the mother, but thankfully, help came from an unlikely source. It was then that she noticed an envelope with a letter addressed from someone named Lauren. Apparently, Lauren had paid the full price of her ticket while she was away.
The note read, “I saw your car had a parking ticket on it. I’m sure whatever you are going through at the hospital is tough enough so I paid for you. Hope things get better.”
The relived mother snapped a photo of the letter and went to Facebook to express her gratitude. She made a post on Canberra Mums, a Facebook group for mothers in Canberra, Australia.
She wrote, “I hope that Laura sees this and knows how much I appreciate her support. Thank you so much.”
My initial reading of this story was filled with surprise and joy. I would never guess that a stranger would come to a mother’s aid, but it warms my heart to know people like Lauren exist. This story is a shining example of the “parking lot heroes” that you hear about in the news. These kind souls go out of the way to help strangers in need. Laura is a role model for how we should not hesitate to lend a helping hand for a stranger in need.
Recent news stories have not depicted police officers in a good light. Reports have suggested that police do not care about the people they are hired to protect. This is not what is the whole truth though. There are a vast number of officers who do take their duties to serve and protect very seriously. Some even go above and beyond the call of duty to aid individuals who are in need.
A Pennsylvania State Trooper noticed a vehicle broken down on the side of the road. While his duties mandated that he stop and check on what the issue may be, he went farther than simply checking on the driver and the passengers. The Trooper stayed with the vehicle to ensure that the people in the vehicle were safe and on their way again.
When the Trooper approached the vehicle, he noticed a single woman and her two children. They seemed to be worried and he sought to help them stay calm until help arrived. The Trooper spent the time while waiting for their tow truck to arrive, telling the children stories and keeping them amused.
The driver applauds his attention and care to her situation, and even wrote a shining letter of thanks to his department. The officer did not need to spend almost an hour waiting for a tow truck and entertaining the children. What he did was far above and beyond his call of duty for that situation.
After the family had been successfully towed to a garage for fixing, the Trooper went farther to stay in touch with them. About a week later, the family received a letter in the mail from the Trooper. Inside that envelope was a letter and a couple of Trooper patches for the children.
The letter denoted that the Trooper had noticed how much the two children wanted patches like his own. The Trooper went about getting them those patches and then sending them off to them. Truly an act of kindness from a person who truly cares about the people he is vested with protecting.
This Trooper went above and beyond the required duties for his job description. This does show that while some police may step over the line once in a while, this is not true of all officers. The news about caring and serving should be the forefront of what we see about the police, not the bad.
There are many disheartening stories in the news these days but they are not all that way. My sister told me about this news story a little while ago, but today I read it for myself. A woman named Elizabeth Diamond was a single mother to four daughters. She was diagnosed with brain cancer and it was already at stage four in August of 2014. The sad part of the story is that there is no fighting back from that level of cancer development and she passed away from her illness.
reported that before any of this happened one day Elizabeth told her best friend since childhood, “If anything ever happens to me, I want you to take my girls.” Laura Ruffino has fully honored that request. Without even a few moments hesitation, she has made her four member family an eight member family. I know that would have made me stop and think. At least to talk to my family and ask them how they would handle adding so many children into the house. The girl’s ages are between five and twelve years old. Ruffino’s family though has acted in the same generously open manner that the matron of the house has. The Ruffino’s own two daughter’s ages twelve and thirteen have given up having their own rooms so that the four sisters could be closer together. Rico Ruffino was quoted as saying “Ten years ago I didn’t think this would be my life. But if something gets thrown at you, you just accept the challenge and do the best you can.”
This whole family has taken in four children; who truly need the sense of stability now more than ever. Family is a word with the most flexible of definitions. Happily, these girls will not be faced with having to be split up. The system will not have to find a way to harbor four more orphans. I wish we all had friends like the Ruffinos. Buffalo Wellness Center, of which Elizabeth Diamond was part of the board, has set up a crowd-funding option at youcaring.com. They did this to help the Ruffinos and their new extended family deal with expenses of taking on so many members so quickly. I suppose one of the lessons of this story is that you do not know just how far true friends will go for love.