You Made A Difference Awards

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.


Heroes of the Economy Paying it Forward

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.

Marilyn Mock

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.

Rob Katz

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.

Rich Salon

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.

Mike Heritage

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

Scott Haag

“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.

Kids & Teens


6 Year Old Alarm Raiser My Hero, Says Mum

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.


Pre-birth Surgery: Miracle Twins Survive Rare Condition

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!
— Ronna

About Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome


Toddler Survived 18 Minutes Under Water

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


Reunited Years After Near Tragic Accident

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.


Toddler Survives 3 Story Hotel Window Fall

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”.


Teen Hero Uses Body To Shield 6 Year Old From Bullets

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.

Father’s Quick Action Saves Kid’s Life

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”

Miracle Surgery Had 4 Year Old Hear this Thanksgiving

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.



Horror Show Miracle Dog Happy, Healthy, Finds Home

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.


Volunteers Dig Half Mile Long Path: Horses Rescued

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.


Loving Family Rescues Abandoned Dog

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.

Dog & Doc’s Sudden Miracle Reunion

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.

Students Help Nurse Rescued Horses Back To Good Health

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.



Operator of Electrified Crane Rescued

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.



Adults and 3 Year Old Child Rescued from River

No less than three people were rescued from a river in Tuscaloosa County.

Two were adults, one a three year old child.

The sheriff’s office reported that a car had gotten involved in an accident last Saturday and as a result had plunged into the Sipsey River.

Police officers arriving on the scene noticed that the two adult inhabitants of the card had been able to get out and were sitting on the roof of the car. The adults warned the officers that a three year old child was still trapped in the car.

Approaching the car they didn’t see the child

Emergency services arrived, illuminating the area and the surface of the water to help the officers get to and find the child.

The search was extended in a 300 yard radius when one of the deputies saw the child floating on the water.

He brought the child back to the bank of the river where volunteer firefighters performed CPR. Medics brought the child to the hospital.

The child is said to be out of harm.

Sudden Wealth


Man Wins Lottery. Twice. On The Same Day.

The chance of winning the lottery is often said to be a tad bit smaller than the chance of being hit by lightning.

Lightning is said never to strike twice at the same place.

So consider the odds of someone winning the lotter. Twice. On the same day. From the same lottery.

That’s what happened to James McAllister (62) from Acworth, USA, when he bought two scratch off tickets on Valentine’s day.

James brought his wife for a Valentine’s breakfast. Along Highway 92 he bought a Georgia Lottery Millionaire Jumbo Bucks scratch off ticket — and won $5,000.

Apparently not completely satisfied, or maybe feeling this was his lucky day, later on in the day he bought another ticket as he was shopping for a Valentine’s card for his wife.

Scratching that one off was worth $250,000

“It was because of Valentine’s Day.

If it hadn’t been for my wife, I probably wouldn’t have won either time.”
— James McAllister

The odds in the Georgia Lottery Millionaire Jumbo Bucks of winning $5,000 are one in 10,000. The odds of winning $250,000 are one in more than 1 million…. The odds of winning both and on the same day are staggering.

James will receive his money in one big payment, as is customary with the Georgia lottery, but the big prize will have taxes withheld.

Lottery wins don’t guarantee long-term wealth or good health

If you tend to be waiting for that Big Hit from the lottery which once and for all will fix your life, relieve you of daily work and stress, and generally make things wonderful so that your life can finally start — wait no more.

A new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that lottery winners aren’t that much better off; not in health and not in wealth.

In his study Scott Hankins of the University of Kentucky, Lexington, compared big winners (50,000 – 150,000 dollars) with small winners (less than 10,000 dollar).

Initially the bankruptcy rate among the big winners was 50% lower than that of the small winners — but after about two years that rate jumped up.

In the end, averaging out the numbers, about 5% of either group went bankrupt in the next 5 years after their win.

As for health it was Andrew Clark and Benedicte Apouey of the Paris School of Economics who showed that the health of lottery winners tends to decline.

The “why” of that hasn’t been studied yet but one explanation could be that the winners party more; drinking and smoking more.

Either way, combined with earlier research that shows that once people’s basic daily needs are met through their income happiness does not increase as income goes up, I guess we can let go now and just start being happy right away :)



Hero Saves Woman; Anonymous Donor Pays His Medical Bill

Dutch information technology executive Filip Lou, 34, was visiting Singapore Sunday when he saw a woman jump into the Singapore River .

Filip didn’t hesitate; he quickly stripped down to his shorts and jumped in after her.

By the time emergency services arrived at the scene he had already brought the woman back to land.

His jump into the water resulted in several cuts on his hands and feet caused by the rough stones at the river’s edge.

After being treated for the superficial wounds at Singapore General Hospital he was then presented with a bill of $90.

After reading about his heroics readers of the newspaper The Straits Times offered to pay the bill on his behalf but they were a bit too late.

Wednesday morning an anonymous donor walked into the hospital and reimbursed Filip Lou for his medical expenses.

The money was later on collected by Filip’s wife as he himself had to attend a business conference.

Filip has been given an award by the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

Hero pilot talks about “pit-of-your-stomach” feeling

Chesley Sullenberger safely landed an airplane in the New York Hudson River in January 2009.

In doing so he kept 155 people on board alive — but also countless others on the ground in the densely populated city.

The airplane had hit a flock of birds and there was no way it was going to stay in the air.

Chesley is a hero, yes? Yes. Sure, sound thinking, long training helped — but who said that doesn’t make you a hero?

But he’s also a regular guy, a common human being who shares those feelings of dread we’re all familiar with.

“It was the worst sickening, pit-of-your-stomach, falling-through-the-floor feeling I’ve ever felt in my life.

I knew immediately it was very bad.

My initial reaction was one of disbelief…

[As for the first responders] Thank you’ seems totally inadequate. I have a debt of gratitude that I fear I may never be able to repay.”
— Chesley Sullenberger, interview CBS

The emergency landing was perfect with Chelsey easing the plane into the river. Had he hit it hard or at the wrong angle, the plane would have broken up, most likely causing human harm, possibly deaths.

Chesley was a honorary guest at President Obama’s inauguration.


car crashes into church roof

Driver crashes into church roof – survives

This 23 year old driver from Germany had a miracle escape from certain death, if you ask me.

Going at very high speed he lost control of his car and veered off the road.

Breaking through a road barrier he then hit a bank which launched the car in a 35 meter high arc. The trajectory had his car crash into the roof of a church.

The roof is 7 meters up.

The man had to be rescued from his car by crane as the car remained stuck in the roof of the church.

Although the young man is badly injured, he did survive the crash.


Mother Of One Expected To Die Makes Full Recovery

A 53-year-old mother from the UK has merit jealously recovered from a two-week coma after a car accident in which she suffered such severe injuries that doctors expected her to die.

Carol Beaumont, a home care assistant, was hit by a car as she crossed the road after visiting an elderly patient.

“I remember being terrified and fighting off the paramedics as they tried to put a neck brace on me. After that, it is a complete blank.

The next thing I knew was waking up in Huddersfield Royal Infirmary the next day with my daughter Laura there.

It is the first time I have ever been in hospital as a patient but everyone there was wonderful to me.

If it hadn’t been for them and my friends and family who have constantly been coming round, all this would have been so much harder.

Laura’s been great, helping me around the house. It even hurts putting the dishwasher on.

Everything hurts, everything aches, but I know I am really lucky.

All my family have told me how close I came to dying. It is a miracle I’m okay and it is still sinking in, even now. I’m still very shaky and it hurts to move.

I’ve been given two Zimmer frames by the hospital. I feel like I’m about 96.”
— Carol Beaumont

The accident that left Mrs. Beaumont with a fractured skull and pelvis and a chipped spine.

State Trooper’s Miracle Recovery

March this year Steve code was working on his tractor. He was clearing the way for fans, pushing bushes and small trees out of the way.

A large six-inch lights, 7 foot long link broke loose and hits the format.

Striking him hard on the right side of this hat, internally it calls the brain to hit against the left side of his skull. This is fairly damaged areas in the brain that control speech and memory.

The damage was so extensive he was unable to recognize his family.

Unlike his ordinary routine state trooper Ray Hall was the trolling close to Steve foods property that day. All recognized how serious the situation was. He called in a helicopter crew, using his GPS to bring the helicopter in.

Just days before a helicopter flight crew had met with state troopers to talk about procedures for calling them in directly in situations like this.

Steve’s been nine days in the critical care unit. His wife and state troopers kept guard.

When he came by he was transferred to the Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. About 10 days into his stay there, something just clicked.

His speech still weak he began asking questions.

Just a week later he was able to put on his uniform by himself and attend the ceremony where Gov. Haley Barbour honored his friend state trooper Ray Hall.

His subsequent rehabilitation when Sophos you started to beat the therapies that the rehab games.

Now, eight months later, Steve has bought back on the road as a state Highway Patrol trooper.


Saved: Rescued animals and the lives they transform

If you liked Dewey The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World and loved Marley and Me (the movie of which I’m not a big fan), you’ll adore Saved: Rescued Animals and the Lives They Transform.

It’s an emotional collection of 28 real stories about pets which were rescued — and which in turn rescued their new owners or transformed their lives. Think of it as a Chicken Soup for the Soul about animal rescues.

One of the stories is about Don and Darlene Ahlstrom from Minnesota who adopted two Great Pyrenees.

The dogs had been found in a ditch, starving, left behind after having been severely beaten with an iron pipe or bat. A call for donations to help to provide care for them had donations pouring in at the Humane Society; donations and applications to adopt the dogs.

The Ahlstroms got them. They named them Hope and Chance and brought them back to their home; a hospice and adult foster care home. There, in the past 10 years, they’ve become part of daily life, encouraging and comforting many. Especially Hope, who before going outside checks into every resident each morning.

The dogs help people make the difficult move away from independent living. And sometimes they have a bond beyond the ones we can establish. One of the residents, Mildred, suffers from Alzheimer and seems far, far away; she usually sits in her wheel chair, staring away in the distance, not being there. But when Hope comes to sit with her she comes back, comes alive, and her hand reaches out to pet him gently.

Karin Winegar ended up doing 28 stories, collecting them coast to coast, but says she could easily have done ten thousand.

She says Hope and Chance’s story is typical of the stories in her book.

“It was exactly what we had in mind: reciprocal rescue. How an abused animal, rejected and abandoned, is rescued and really gives back more than it was given.

That’s what ‘Saved’ is about. It’s about reciprocity and the human-animal bond.

Our connection to animals is so primal to us and so joyful and necessary that even when we forget our spouses, we remember the animals.”


In Time of Financial Crisis, Passers By Give Back Lost Money

At the end of November New York saw a bank robbery. One that went wrong the good way.

Walking up to a teller a man demanded money. She gave him a little over $1000. As he was leaving the bank the teller yelled “Stop him! He just robbed the bank!”

Technicians repairing the bank’s ATM chased the guy and caught him on 38th street.

As they shoved him on the hood of a car the money scattered all about.

When police officers arrived at the scene, pedestrians walked up to them and bank employees present, handing over bills they had picked up.

“Even in the bad economy, all $1,082 that had been scattered before the police arrived was recovered in full.”
Paul J. Browne, chief police spokesman


Lost Contact in 1972 – Reunited by Chance in Afghanistan

It took going to the frontlines in Afghanistan for two cousins to meet again.

Richard Lewis, 49, and Sonia Briggs haven’t seen eachother for 35 years.

Both grew up in the Rhonda Valley area (UK) but when Sonia moved to another place and then Richard did, they lost contact.

While on tour with the Royal Naval Reserve Richard then bumped into Sonia by chance.

“Sonia and I go way back; she is one of five kids, I am one of seven and I was born in Gelli, where my grandmother lived.

Since being reunited with her in Kandahar, I have had contact via email and social websites with a whole side of my family I didn’t know existed.”

Sonia, a mother of four, made headlines in 2008 when she took an unpaid 6 month leave from her job in order to serve. She’s one of the oldest people to be active in the service in Afghanistan.


Rescue Missions Serve Thanksgiving Dinner with Dignity

Thanksgiving dinners are given out and shared across the USA.

Volunteers in Lebanon County in the USA started to prepare for the Thanksgiving dinner already on Tuesday.

Erma BLatt block for example was peeling small brown potatoes.

Blatt is considered one of effect from full imagine the community: she’s been 18 years with the Red Cross Lebanon County Christian ministries are now helps out the Lebanon rescue mission.

“I bring my own knife to peel. You can get it done a lot faster with a paring knife.

Whatever I can do to help make someone else’s day, makes my day.”

Erma and seven other volunteers will prepare today’s Thanksgiving dinner which is expected to be given to 150 to 200 people.

Paul topping, the missions director, said that preparations had actually started even earlier then Tuesday. Sunday volunteers were cooking turkeys. Monday volunteers were stripping the meat of the balls for hours.

Children from the new covenant Christian schools also chipped in. The hird graders made napkin holders.

Ingredients for the complete Thanksgiving dinner includes 14 turkeys, 9 gallons of vegetables and 150 pounds of potato filling.

For at least 50 years the rescue mission has been serving Thanksgiving dinners. But then the tend to be a cross-section of the people from Lebanon County.

In Charla, North Carolina, that Charlotte rescue Mission holds one of the biggest Thanksgiving dinners.

A big part of their Thanksgiving dinner is prepared by Charla families who delivered homemade desserts and goodies.

They’ll serve over 800 meals.


Miracle of ropes indicates that God is still in control

In 1978 another couple accompanied my husband and I to pick up a boat windshield. After gently placing it and fastening the trunk down with a ski rope, we happily headed home. I turned around and saw the trunk lid was up. Was the windshield gone? How could we replace it?

After using the same rope to it again (the only rope we had), we continued homeward. Sitting nervously in the passenger seat, twirling my hair, I prayed: “God, please help us. If only we had a rope. If only we had a rope.”

In 1978, there were not stores open on Sundays. Tension, along with suggestions to stop and check, made my agitated husband drive faster. All of a sudden he stopped on a dime, throwing everyone forward. After tightening the loosened rope, our friend got back in.

As I got into the car, my feet moved in a strange way, as if I was climbing upstairs. I told myself not to be silly, but I knew this was not my doing. Shocked, I yelled, “Come here, quick!” At my feet were two pieces of twine, covered with dust and dirt as if they had been there for years. I remembered my prayer –“if only we had a rope.”

God gave us twice what we needed. Some people might say it was a coincidence. No, I know it was a miracle.

Through the years, lots of things have changed, but God is still in control today.

Janice Dail


Hurricane Katrina

1286 children reunited with their families

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and Gold Coast parents that the heroic thing: they would load their children on to the rescue helicopters first.

Having no idea about which rescue helicopter was which, here and soon found himself in the horror situation of having no ID where do children were investing no way to contact them.

Children often ended up in shelters hundreds of miles away from the parents.

On March 16, 2006 the last child was reunited with his parents.

Much of the work of locating and reuniting children with their parents was done by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

The center used to techniques to reunite families: old-fashioned shoe work, beating the streets and talking with people, and spreading the word to the media.

The Hurricane Katrina hotline and website were used to accept information provided by the public.

Public support was so huge with up to 20 million hits a day to the web site that it soon brought the server down. The center appeal to Sun Microsystems for help; within a day a high-end server was delivered and set up to help manage the web traffic.

The center itself also so local to credit on to the media, calling it the media’s finest hour.

CNN for example was doing daily into fugues on the scene about stories of lost children.

People magazine read a story about a two-year-old girl in a shelter in Mississippi. Using her first name but no last name, because nobody knew it, Kalite Unknown was reunited in use in with her mother after her mother told CNN.

In yet another case one of the centers team members was trying to get information from another two-year-old girl. The girl was too traumatized to give any information about herself, her family, or her address.

Working on a whim to team member took a digital photo of the girl and showed it to her. The little girl pointed to the digital image and said “That’s Gabby!”

A database search showed that the mother was looking for a Gabriella Alexander: mother and daughter were reunited days after.

Many lessons were learned from the work of reuniting families after Hurricane Katrina.

The federal government has designated the center is an national emergency child location Center in case of future disasters.

The center would like to remind everybody to be properly prepared for disaster at all times.

You should know where your children are at all times. When disaster strikes keep the family together.

Make sure you have up-to-date photos with your children and carry one of them wish you at all times.

In general, but especially when a disaster strikes, make sure your child has proper identification which include name, birth date I’m a address is, and phone numbers.

During an disaster use a sharpie or another marker to write this type of information on the body of younger children.

Take digital photos of all family members, or have regular photos bitch spiced, an e-mail or mail them to your extended family and your friends. Talk as early as today which are children what they should do in case they become separated from the family.

Inside Good News Blog