No less than 13 educators, one from each school district, in Licking County were honored with the “You Made A Difference” teaching award as given out by students.
Two among them are Lisa Preisser and Christina Sommerkamp.
Primary kindergarten teacher Lisa has been making a difference in students’ lives for over 20 years.
She said to be both surprised and humbled by it while her boss called the award well-deserved.
“The award is very well-deserved.
She is a wonderful, wonderful teacher with a really unique program.
— Dana Letts, kindergarten center principal
Christina is a fourth-grade teacher who was nomiated by a 10 year old student.
“She’s a great teacher, and she helps me learn a lot.
I couldn’t ask for a better teacher.”
— Christian Rader, 10, student Licking Heights South Elementary School
As a teacher of primary kindergarten in the Southwest Licking district, Lisa Preisser has been making a difference in countless young students’ lives over the past 20 years.
But this year, her good work with young 5-year-olds has received extra recognition.
Preisser is Southwest Licking School District’s recipient of the Coughlin Automotive You Made a Difference award.
“I was very surprised and humbled by this award,” Preisser said.
“The award is very well-deserved,” said kindergarten center principal Dana Letts. “She is a wonderful, wonderful teacher with a really unique program.”
In the Licking Heights district, student Christian Rader nominated fourth-grade teacher Christina Sommerkamp of Licking Heights South Elementary School.
“I was pleased, surprised, puzzled,” Sommerkamp said.
Rader couldn’t have been more pleased.
“She’s a great teacher, and she helps me learn a lot,” the 10-year-old said. “I couldn’t ask for a better teacher.”
It’s the 10th year that the You Made A Difference awards have been given out.
Recipients are chosen by students for making a difference. They write and hand in an essay about their nomination. The best nominations are in turn given to the disctricts’ superintendent.
CNNMoney is running a wonderful story on 8 people, heroes of a kind really, who try to help others out of the economic misery — and do so at a personal cost, making their own sacrifices.
At a foreclosure auction she met the woman whose house was being sold. Before she fully realized what she was doing she’d bid and won the auction at $30,000
Not only did she make a deal with the woman that she could stay there while paying monthly until the debt was paid — she set up the Foreclosure Angel Foundation, funding it with her own savings and business income.
Vail Resorts runs ski and snowboard slopes in Colorado. Although things are still going good, trouble is probably ahead.
To keep the company healthy seasonal employees were asked to take a 2.5% pay cut; executives a 10%; board of directors cut their cash retainer by 20%.
Rob Katz’ take-home salary as CEO of the company was $840,000 in 2008. In 2009 it’s $0.
“If I was going to ask someone making $8 an hour to take a pay cut, they needed to know I was doing something that would really affect me. No one wants to see their salary reduced, but at least in this case those at the top are making the biggest sacrifice.
I’m making changes, but you can’t compare the challenges I go through to some of our folks.
I’ve saved money because I’ve made more over my time. They need to find a way to put food on the table.
People here would rather take a pay cut than see their colleague lose their job.
Everyone at the company is a hero.”
— Rob Katz, CEO, Vail Resorts
Pam Koner, Jaime Raskulinecz and Linda Varas
Pam runs Family-to-Family: matching families in need with good Samaritans. The good Samaritans shop for a foster family once a month, getting them much needed groceries.
But as the economic crisis crept forward, Pam had to start work on her own community as well.
“I never expected it would be Hastings.
I visited a family in Pembroke, Ill., and the house was dirty and moldy, with a single light bulb. You never think it’ll be your backyard.”
— Pam Koner
Her idea has inspired her friends Jame and Linda to organize similar acts of kindness.
Families accepting help are kept anonymous so no “shame” needs to come to the community.
When Circuit City went belly-up, Rich had been working there for just three year but knew a lot of folks going on three decades.
He wanted to help.
He planned a career fair.
With the company winding down, communication was nearly impossible, so he turned to the professional online networking web site LinkedIn to contact former employees.
He asked Home Depot, BJ’s Wholesale Club and others to come. 80 companies, some of them flying in from out of state, came to the fair attended by 1000 ex-Circuit City employees.
He was inspired by what he says is a common occurrence in Colorado Springs: someone in front of him had already paid for Mike’s coffee.
It made him want to do something too.
He only uses about 70% of the office space his company rents. He’s now giving away the remaining space to local small businesses: no charge, no strings attached.
“We’ve done well through our 20 years of business, and we thought this was a good way to give back to our community. Sometimes people need a break to help get them off the ground or out of debt.
We want to sit down with folks and partner with some businesses that hopefully will be successful and help the community.
Whether it’s Bush, Obama, or community leaders, those in charge have made it clear we all need to give something back in whatever way we can.
I may not have cash to hand to people, but I have vacant space. I can give that for a while.
I’d ask everyone in the country: Do something that fits you in order to help,.
If everyone does something good for someone else, we can start to turn this economy around.”
— Mike Heritage
“Like others, I was looking for ways to cut back,.
But I realized: If everyone is pulling back on spending, that’s not going to help the economy. By buying a car, you generate sales tax and, hopefully, keep people employed.
It’s about changing the attitude. It’s been a hard time for people. But if we can thaw that freezing, and spark purchasing, it’s a win-win situation for everyone.”
That’s how Scott explains his way of helping. Every employee of his oil-supply company can get $2,000 in cash when buying a new car, or $1,000 in cash for buying a used car.
Just as he was getting ready for school his mom collapsed right in front of his eyes.
But 6 year old Owen Stanley didn’t panic. Instead, he called emergency services which rushed an ambulance to help out.
“I’ve not been so well for a couple of months, then came down with a bug on Sunday, which didn’t help.
When I got up on Monday, I didn’t feel well at all and knew something was going to happen. I kept asking Owen ‘have you got mummy’s phone?’ ‘Mummy doesn’t feel very well’, as I felt myself getting worse.
The next thing I knew I was waking up in hospital. Apparently I had collapsed and Owen, just in his underpants went running across to my neighbour saying his mummy needs an ambulance.
It was she who called for help. Owen was so brave and didn’t cry or panic.
But the fact that he knew what to do is amazing and I have never explained what to do in those situations. It’s scary enough for me in that situation, let alone a little boy. I’m just so proud of him.”
— Deborah Stanley, 32
Deborah’s blood sugar and blood pressure had been extremely low and her body had gone into shock.
She’s expected to recover enough to attend a Mother’s Day school project.
Every year one in 10 twins is diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome; a rare and often deadly condition where twins share one and the same placenta.
Ronna and Doug Wilson’s baby boys Harrison and Dillon were on the wrong side of those odds.
In her 18th week doctors of Houston’s Texas Children’s Fetal Center diagnosed her with the condition.
They suggested a pre-birth surgery during which the placenta would be split up to create two distinct placentas.
Only 11 institutions in the USA perform the procedure. Only 65% of babies survive the procedure.
The success rate depends largely on how early the condition is diagnosed.
“Our plan is to go in with a very tiny telescope in the sac of the recipient and operate underwater.
We actually take a laser light.
I wish we could get them all early, so we can anticipate the problems”
— Dr. Kenneth Moise, Texas Children’s Fetal Center
The procedure was a complete success.
“He smiles a lot, and he frowns. That’s really the only way we can tell the difference between the two of them.
They’re so much fun. Miracles!
About Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome
September 2008 the then 2 year old Oluchi Nwaubani fell into a swimming pool in London. At that time of year the water was freezing cold.
By the time she was rescued she had been under water for at least 18 minutes. Serious and extensive brain damage normally sets in after just 5 minutes without oxygen.
Paramedics were unable to start Oluchi breathing again. A medvac helicopter rushed her to the Royal London hospital where doctors gave her a 2% of surviving.
“For days we were thinking is she going to live or is she going to die.
Doctors were telling us she was never going to pull through.
They said that if she had not started breathing again in six hours she would probably not survive.
Six hours went by and when the doctors discussed turning off the machine we asked them to hold on.
Three days later my daughter suddenly started breathing again.
The doctors said she would never pass urine again because her kidney failed. But she is passing urine normally now.
They said she would not be able to talk anymore, she would not walk again – she would be a vegetable.
But she is walking, she is eating normally and she is able to say what she wants.
The doctors said that the amount of time she spent in the water meant she would never recover but when I asked her to say ‘hello’ to the doctor she tried to speak. And then I asked her to wave goodbye and she moved her hand.
Her doctor said he couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed. Staff were calling her a miracle baby.
She seems to have defied doctors at every stage.
It was hard to explain to her sisters that she was alive because they had seen her die at the pool.
It has been a difficult time for us but the support we received from friends and family has helped us make it through.”
— Junior Nwaubani, Oluchi’s father
Doctors now believe her survival was due to a combination of the diving reflex, which slows down the body’s metabolism and need for oxygen, and the very cold temperature of the water which would have protected the brain from more extensive damage.
“It was really almost a miracle that this child has a normal recovery.
Some young children, particularly babies, have a special reflex that they had when they were in utero called the diving reflex. It essentially slows the body’s metabolism down to almost nothing, so they almost need no oxygen for the brain cells to survive.”
— Dr. Vinay Nadkarni, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
To Toya, her mother, the details matter a lot less.
“She shouldn’t be here, but she is.
There’s still room for recovery. She’s still on a road to recovery.
I’ve said it’s not a miracle instantly, it’s a miracle over time.”
— Toya Nwaubani
Ted Scercy usually didn’t work on Sunday. But on Sunday November 22, 1992, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, he had to; the supervisor at the trucking company he worked at had him scheduled for a tractor-trailer drive.
It was somewhat depressing news to Ted. He had been looking forward to see his kids perform in a Thanksgiving program at the church he and his family went to.
A faithful man, Ted started his trip with a prayer.
“I asked God, ‘Just make something good out of this night.’
God will answer your prayers… There’s no doubt in my mind that night that a miracle took place. I’ve always said that, and I’ll tell anybody.”
— Ted Scercy
A little bit after midnight Ted came around a sharp curve. At the bottom of an embankment he thought he saw a small red light.
He pulled his truck over and went down to check; a destroyed Datsun came into sight. The car had apparently hydroplaned on the wet road, got of the road and had hit a tree at high speed.
To this day Ted swears to have seen the red light and thinks it must have been an indicator light from the Datsun’s dashboard. However, the car’s battery was no longer working…
A man had been thrown 15 feet away; a woman had crashed through the windshield.
And in the backseat, behind the driver seat, was 7 year old Jeremy Cook was seated behind the driver.
Wearing his seatbelt he hadn’t been launched out of the car but the impact had lifted the driver’s seat and smashed it on top him, crushing Jeremy under it.
Working alone he was unable to get the seat off the boy but getting help from a passing driver worked. Ted freed Jeremy and performed CPR on the unconscious kid until paramedics arrived.
After 3 months of deep coma, doctors took Jeremy off life support. Convinced that his son would die, James Cooke spoke through the telephone from his own bed in another hospital.
“His cousin held the phone up to Jeremy’s ear.
His dad said, ‘Jeremy, Daddy loves you.’ When Jeremy heard those words, he woke up.
He said, ‘I love you too, Daddy.'”
— Ted Scercy
Jeremy left the hospital in a wheelchair; paralyzed from the waste down. He’s had 18 surgeries and trained very hard. 24 year old today, he now walks with crutches and walks to church three times a week for worship services and Bible study.
Ted Scercy was named Goodyear’s North Carolina Highway Hero.
As Jeremy grew older he sort of lost contact with Ted. As he came past his telephone number recently he decided to give the man a call. They talked for nearly 3 hours straight.
“I thank God and I thank Ted, too, because he helped.
My parents feel the same way I do. They’re very thankful that Ted stopped that night.”
— Jeremy Cook
Ted Scercy now drives local truck routes for Estes Express in Charlotte. He’s involved in mission work and disaster relief for his church and has received several humanitarian awards.
“I don’t do it to be recognized. I do it because if you’re there, you’ve got to do it.”
— Ted Scercy
Ted and Jeremy have regular contact nowadays.
Shelby Alexander, 23, and her grandparents had rented a room at the Bavarian Inn Lodge for a nice weekend getaway. Shelby’s 18 month old daughter Aerieana was with them, of course.
Police Officer Gregory Rehmann, a guest too at the hotel and trained as a medical first responder, was relaxing next to the pool when two women ran into the court. One of them was yelling “My baby! My baby!”
“He went to the edge of the pool. He saw no child there, but he happened to see (Hathaway) lying on a walkway and realized what had happened.
The baby was crying, which is usually a fairly good sign, but it could be an indication of something serious, too.
You have to be careful not to misinterpret those things. Our people were there in less than three minutes, so she was treated right away.
My goodness, what a fall … When we have someone who falls from that distance, being the third floor, it certainly warrants concern on everyone’s part.”
— Donald C. Mawer, Police Chief Frankenmuth
The toddler has fallen an estimated 20-25 feet but didn’t harm her spinal cord or neck.
The initial swelling of the brain, always a serious concern wit head injuries, has decreased a lot. She’s also breathing good enough that doctors are considering removing the ventilator.
“There is an immense sense of relief in the family, but there is still a long row to hoe.
She is still a very ill little girl, and it sounds like she will probably be there for a significant period of time.
We all have children. When something like this happens, you feel it so deeply within yourself. When you see a small child … it hits you right to the soul.”
— Jim Engel, manager Bavarian Inn Lodge, after visiting the family in the hospital
Aerieana’s family is calling her their “miracle angel”.
Amidst a basket ball game gone wrong, one teen did what is right.
Last weekend about 300 people were assembled in the Tony Aguirre Community Center on West Pennway Street in Kansas City to watch a basket ball game between DeLaSalle High School and the Southeast Community Center team.
In the fourth quarter an argument broke out between two groups of people in the stands. At one point guns were drawn and 8 people starting firing.
As the hail of bullets sped across the hall, 19 year old basket ball player Jullaion Jones quickly stepped off the court, pushed 6 year old Desean Merritt to the floor, and covered him with his body.
Jullaion kept protecting the little boy like this even when a bullet grazed him in the leg.
“Jullaion moved me and hided me in the corner, and covered his body over mine.”
— Desean Merritt, 6
His father is grateful for the kind, potentially life saving act.
“I almost get teary-eyed just thinking about it.
It could have been worse than it was, God was really good that nothing happened to anyone.
I’m glad He put Jullaion there to do what he did.”
— Sean Merritt
In total 5 people were injured. Police said all the injuries are non-life-threatening.
When 2 1/2 year old Shay Asser’s ear infection induced fever went too high, it triggerred a fit which stopped him from breathing.
His father, Brian, 32, went into first-aid auto pilot.
“Shay was lying on the floor having a fit.
I picked him up and ran downstairs with him, but by that time he wasn’t breathing and his lips and face were purple.
I learned how to do resuscitation years ago from St John’s Ambulance, but I had never used it. Somehow I remembered what to do. I think I was on auto-pilot.
I got two breaths into him and he started choking and threw up, then he started breathing.
— Brian Asser
Paramedics arriving on the scene then injected the boy with muscle stimulants, effectively waking him up.
Dad is being hailed a hero not just by his wife but by the ambulance spokeswoman as well.
“This shows just how important first aid skills are in the home. We hope Shay is well again and praise Mr Asser for helping to save his son’s life”
These US Thanksgiving is a very special one for Nicholas Soma.
It’s his first Thanksgiving that he will sit down with his family and actually be able to hear them.
He was born with the continental defect, affecting his outer ear cartilage and ear canal.
His malformed ears and absence of ear canals meant he was mostly deaf.
His parents never stop looking for a solution. With the help of family, supporters and donations from Hawaii residents they were able to pay for the reconstructive surgeries by two doctors in California.
Nicolas now doesn’t need any hearing aid and looks like any other kid.
Gideon is a white German shepherd dog. Animal Control Officers found her in November 2008 near a trash bin in Santa Ana.
He’d been hit by a car. Hit and dragged. On his left side an 18 inch swath of skin was stripped off, muscles and bones exposed.
The wound was a couple of days old; maggots lived in the wound…
And yet he was kind to people. When approached he would wag his tail and look happy.
The pet rescue group “Coastal German Shepherd Rescue” rushed him to Matthew Wheaton, a veterinarian, where he was described as “something from a horror show”; his wounds were that bad.
He received plasma transfusions, pain medications, table sugar packed to his wound to encourage the granulation of new tissue. He was doing so well, fighting so hard, they named him Gideon, meaning “strength”.
After a local newspaper ran a story on Gideon financial aid started to come in a steady drip.
“We would go to the P.O. box and find 75 envelopes with checks inside.
Some were for as little as seven dollars, some included touching notes and stories of their own pets.
We raised more than $12,000, every dollar that was needed to pay for Gideon’s care.”
— Tiffany Norton, co-founder “Coastal German Shepherd Rescue”
Although many offered to adopt Gideon, none followed through.
None but Bob and Marilyn Collier of Yorba Linda. Over the months of Gideon’s stay at the vet they visited regularly, checking in to see how things were going.
Gideon’s wound has now been closed through a pedicle grafting procedure and the once thin 49 pound dog weighs a healthy 75 pounds.
He’s very happy to live with the Colliers who had to move quite a bit of stuff around in their house as one thing hasn’t changed; Gideon’s ever-wagging happy tale.
In December 2008 snowmobiler Logan Jack in British Columbia, Canada, happened upon two abandoned horses; the 3 year old mare Belle and the 14 year old gelding Sundance.
His sister Toni was able to confirm the horses were in dire need of help.
The horses ranked a 2 on the Henneke body condition scale, and suffered from frostbite and lice.
Once notified the SPCA launched a rescue mission, one made exceedingly difficult by the horses being snowed in in such a remote location.
Spearheaded by Dave Jeck a core group of about 10 volunteers came forward to dig a 1 kilometer (ca. half a mile) long path through 2 meter (six foot) deep snow.
“The residents and members of the snowmobile club of McBride have been amazing.
The horses have life in them. They’re sure happy to see us.
They’re spunky, they’re thin, but they’re eating and drinking.”
— Lana Jeck
The community of McBride rallied around the rescuers.
The gas station collected coupons to cover the fuel expenses; a sled shop accepted donations.
After almost a week of digging with temperatures plunging as far down as -30C (-22F) the volunteers finally reached the horses.
“They are definitely hundreds of pounds underweight, but they are in stable condition at this point.
One of the horses had rain scald or frostbite on it. The other one had most of its tail missing, probably due to lice.
They’re definitely in a sad-looking state, but we feel comfortable that now they are in the type of recuperation facility that they need. So it does feel really good all around.”
— Kent Kokoska, senior animal protection officer, SPCA, British Columbia
The rescue became national Canadian news.
This week the SPCA has denied the owner’s request to have the horses returned.
“We are recommending charges of animal cruelty against the owner of the horses under both the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
The animals are receiving excellent on-going care in their foster homes and a number of people have offered to provide a permanent home for them.”
— Shawn Eccles, chief animal protection officer, SPCA, British Columbia
The Prevention of Cruelty of Animals Act, which applies only in British Columbia, and the Criminal Code of Canada both carry a maximum fine of $5000, up to six months in jail and a possible prohibition on owning animals.
A couple of weeks ago Autumn Austin, 16, saw a Jeep Liberty come down the road, stop almost in front of her house only to see the driver throw out a little dog.
With expected temperatures as low as 18 degrees Fahrenheit for that night, this was no night for a small dog to be out. Autumn called the dog towards her.
Dirty and a little bit shaken he came right to her.
“I thought it was weird, because I thought it was one of my friends (driving toward her).
I just felt really upset. I couldn’t believe someone could do that. … With the economy the way it is, people are stressing. Maybe they couldn’t afford to take care of her.
She’s a really sweet dog. It was the grace of God she was found.”
— Autumn Austin
They took the the dog, now named Gracie for God’s grace, to All Saints Animal Hospital.
The staff said the white and gray Shi Tzu was probably around 7 to 8 years old and had been well cared for.
Mom contacted a long time friend, Sherry Branch, who would travel to adopt Gracie.
“I’ve been looking for two years for a little dog.
That little dog is going to be so loved. She’s already loved. So she’ll be even more loved.”
— Sherry Branch, Gracie’s new owner
Well cared for and clearly without any health issues, the veterinarian thinks Gracie has become a victim of the economy.
Pet owners should be aware that help with vaccinations and pet food is available throughout many areas.
“My suggestion to anyone, if it is just a matter of dog food, contact the Humane Society.
Sometimes circumstances do happen. Call us, call different agencies. If there’s anything we can do to help you keep your pet, we can help.
By all means, if you absolutely cannot keep your animal, you cannot find a friend to take it, please take it to the county shelter. Giving the pet to the shelter means it has a chance to be adopted. Leaving it out to fend for itself opens a former pet up to all sorts of dangers, including starvation and being hit by a car.
— Linda Monteith, director of Humane Society, Blue Ridge
The rescue of Gracie was a family and friend affair: Autumn, Autumn’s mother Angela, Nan Price Adamson who fostered Gracie, and Sherry.
But the rubble bloke and his girlfriend were just coming back from a short holiday when they received a phone call from the kennel: Bailey, his beloved lab/rottweiler blend, had escaped from The Pink Poodle Farm.
The search and spend the next 10 days looking for Bailey. In the Salinas region where Bailey was on the loose and was very possible that he would end up being eaten by a mountain lion.
Thursday Bailey showed up again. Where she’s beennobody knows but people have seen her as far as Prunedale to Boronda.
Meanwhile both to bloke has met a lot of caring people.
Among them “dog Angel” Darla Smith. X’s; she helps find most canines.
It was at 5 PM on Thanksgiving that he was hanging up a few more flyers, feeling very discouraged. That is for cell phone rang: Bailey was back.
As suddenly as she has disappeared as suddenly she reappeared. She had walked into the office with her tail between her legs and a very guilty look on her face.
When bloke ran into the office baby was so disoriented from being undernourished she didn’t recognize we watch all stop until he said her name; then she became very excited.
Late this summer 18 horses have been rescued by the Finger Lakes Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York.
The rescued horses needed a lot of help and intensive care and the organization asked help from faculty and the students from the Alfred State College’s veterinary and agricultural technology programs. They gladly obliged.
The students fed the horses. Veterinarians and regulators listed what the problems were with the rescued horses.
Although some horses were placed in foster care the blog of the group, 72 horses, stayed at the facility
The students and faculty of the Alfred State College have spent the entire fall semester nursing the animals back to good health.
The arm of a crane in Chester, Connecticut, hit live power lines, electrifying the crane.
Rescue personnel instructed the crane operator to remain seated in the same position; it wasn’t clear if only the arm or indeed the entire cabin was under electricity.
For their own safety rescue crews had to keep a two telephone pole distance themselves until the power company, CL&P, was able to cut the power to the whole area.
Once power was removed from the area the crane operator still had to remain in place as rescue crews had to make the crane was de-energized from its 23,000 volt charging.
Two hours after hitting the power lines the crane operator was freed.
He’s in perfect condition. Nobody has been harmed.