Good People Doing Good Things … Little Things Mean A Lot

I started today’s good people post about a single person, Mama Rosie, who is doing wonderful things.  But, she is doing so many wonderful things, and having such an impact, that I quickly realized I would not be able to finish it in time, so I switched gears (another symptom of my bouncy mind) and decided to write about multiple good people doing good things.  I went in search, and I found these …

I had never heard of the band Midnight Oil, but of course daughter Chris had … she knows every band that has existed since the beginning of time (and refers to my music as “bad taste”).  Anyway, the band Midnight Oil, an Australian band dating back to the 1970s,  is giving a concert in Fremantle, Australia on 29 October.  According to the band’s lead singer, Peter Garrett, every single cent will go to support marine protection organizations, charities that work in the areas of reef protection and climate change.

Peter Garrett

The band has long identified with environmental causes, and Garrett himself was on the international board of Greenpeace for two years from 1993-1995.

One of the organizations the environmentally-minded band will be supporting will be the Australian Marine Conservation Society. Started in 1965, the independent charity works to create large marine national parks and sanctuaries, support sustainable fishing practices and protect threatened ocean life such as whales, sharks and seals. The organization also works to protect the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef system (344,400 square kilometres), which is severely threatened by environmental pressures and climate change.

Midnight Oil typically earns up to $210,000 per concert, so their contribution is nothing to sneeze at!  Great job, guys …. and thank you!

Joseph Badame and his wife, Phyliss, were survivalists who stocked up on everything: dry food, generators, fuel, survival books, thousands of rolls of toilet paper — all to keep them alive in the event of a disaster or some other crisis. When the crisis came, however, all the food they had stockpiled would be of no use.  In 2005, Phyliss had a massive stroke that left her paralyzed, and she died after another stroke in 2013.  Joseph, then nearly 70 years of age, had quit his job years before to take care of his wife, and had eight years’ worth of medical bills. He managed for a few years, but this year he defaulted on his mortgage and could not pay his taxes, and in August received a foreclosure notice from the bank.

Joseph planned to move to a small apartment that he could afford with only his Social Security, but what to do with all this food stored in the basement of the house?  Sometimes, I think, fate steps in and brings people together for a reason.  Last month, Joseph met Victoria Barber, a local food truck owner who just happened to be taking donations to help people in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Joseph donated $100 in cash, but more importantly … he took Ms. Barber to see the food in his basement and told her he would like her to send it to the people of Puerto Rico, who needed it more than him.

Barber and her husband spent the next week raising money to transport the barrels. Badame helped, too, and wore a red T-shirt: “#PRSTRONG” it said, with a heart below it. Members of the local police department and a high school soccer team helped carry the supplies out of the basement, and the barrels were repacked so that each contained a variety of dried goods.

Badame said it was his own life that was saved. “I’m tired, old, depressed, feeling like I’m a failure regarding the survival thing,” he said. Then Barber “came along, gave me a shot of adrenaline. I couldn’t believe it.”

Sometimes things just happen that way.  Hats off to Joseph Badame and Victoria Barber whose ships just happened to pass one day, and together they made a difference to the good people in Puerto Rico.

Pro athletes have been much in the news of late.  Until recently, I thought of most pro-athletes as overpaid, greedy people, but I am learning that many of them have big hearts and generous spirits. Not a hockey fan, I had never heard of the Montreal Canadians player, Jonathan Drouin.  Drouin has partnered with the Canadiens Children’s Foundation to host less fortunate children at a Bell Centre suite for the team’s games. He is making a personal annual contribution of $165,000 that will go toward a suite that will be used to provide underprivileged children and their families an opportunity to attend games they would not otherwise be able to. And just last month, Drouin donated $500,000 to the Fondation du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM), and a pledge to help raise $5 million for the hospital.

This is one athlete with a heart of gold!

It’s just a little thing, really … it didn’t cost anything except a small bit of time.  But sometimes those little things mean so much.  An unnamed 92-year-old man went to his local Bank of America in Montebello, California, to withdraw some cash from his account.  Unfortunately, his state-issued I.D. had expired and the bank teller refused to honour his request.  Perhaps confused, and definitely upset when the employees would not help him, he was told to leave, but he refused, for he needed to withdraw his cash.  So, the bank employees called the police (nice folks, eh?)  Luckily for the man, the officer who arrived on the scene was Officer Robert Josett, a man with a good heart.  Officer Josett took his time to take the man to the nearest DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) and helped him renew his identification card.  Officer Josett then took the man back to the bank and made sure he was able to withdraw his money.  As I said, a small thing, but we can understand how much it meant to the man.  Thumbs up to one caring officer!

Stephen Davies was born without a lower left arm.  He spent his first decades on earth without the aid of a prosthesis, and finally, as an adult, decided to invest in one.  He was disappointed in the available designs … he wanted something ‘cool’, but they were all the same … functional, yet boring.  He posted about his experience online, where it was seen by one Drew Murray, a volunteer for a group called e-NABLE that was doing some innovative things using 3D printing to create artificial hands.  Drew offered to make a functioning arm for Stephen.  Stephen was so impressed with the results that he talked Drew into a partnership, and together they formed Team UnLimbited, an organization that makes prostheses for children free of charge.

While I do not understand this technology of using a 3D printer to create prosthetic limbs, I do understand innovation, character, and generosity, and these two men are rich in all three of those!  Just look at some of the fun ones they have made …

“We’ve done Iron Man designs, Harry Potter, Lego and Spider-Man. The key is making something the child actually wants to wear and feels is cool enough to show their friends.”

Two great men, a wonderful organization, and a bunch of happy kids!


And I end with a story about the City of San Diego in California.  In March, 2016, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced a “Housing Our Heroes” initiative to provide secure rental housing for 1,000 homeless veterans.  Last week, they exceeded that goal and have provided housing for 1,007 previously homeless veterans. But the city is not stopping there.  According to CEO Rick Gentry, they will be expanding the program to include other homeless people and hope to house another 1,000 by the end of the year.

For incentives, landlords received $500 for the first units they rented to a homeless veteran and $250 for each additional unit. They also received an average of $1,500 in security deposits and $100 in utility assistance per household.

Jimmie Robinson, a landlord who rents out several houses, took in seven homeless veterans in the Housing Our Heroes initiative. Robinson said the incentives were “eye-catching,” but were not the greatest motive for taking in homeless veterans.

“When you get to meet them, the satisfaction of helping people turn their lives around was more important. When you see somebody rebuilding their lives, that’s what it’s become for me, more than than the incentives.”

Wonderful job, San Diego!  I hope we see more cities taking this initiative soon.  That there are people living on the streets in this nation of plenty is unthinkable.

These are just short stories about people doing mostly small things, but every one of those things counts, each one of these people are showing compassion for their fellow man, and they are making a difference.  My hat is off to each of these fine people!

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