Friday, July 28, 2017

Auto repair staff fixes cars after hours, then gives them away

Several months ago, a customer came into Knibbe Automotive Repair in Calgary with a problem. Her van needed some expensive brake work, and since her husband had recently left her and their three children, she was unsure how she'd pay for it. Compassion for the young mother's situation tugged at the hearts of several of the shop's mechanics. They volunteered their own money for parts and their own time after hours to implement the repairs.  

Since then, the shop has launched a unique give-back-to-the-community program. When a customer sells them a car cheaply, the mechanics work their magic. They donate their time and energy to do body work, tune-ups, and whatever repairs are needed to ensure the car is in good working condition. Then they post pictures of the car on their company Facebook page, and take nominations for folks who really need wheels but can't afford to buy a car. Once chosen, the lucky recipient gets a fully serviced car, free of charge, no strings attached. The shop even throws in a free year of routine maintenance and repairs!

What do the mechanics and the shop get out of it? "It really just has to do with helping people out that just don't have the means to do it themselves either through money or time," managing partner Joe Kirk says. "If you can do that kind of thing, it's what you have to do as a decent human being."

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Stranger carries a frightened 100-pound dog across a boulder field

Amanda Bowler and some friends were hiking to Alaska's Reeds Lake last weekend. Accompanying them was a friend's 100-pound Bull Mastiff named Bocephus. All was going fine until, about 2/3 of the way through the hike, Bocephus had 'a colossal meltdown.' Frightened, he hunkered down and refused to move. To make matters worse, a couple of passing hikers told of an aggressive grizzly which had terrorized hikers and their dogs near the lakes earlier that day.

The three young women knew they had to move on so they urged the dog forward. Bocephus wouldn't budge. They tried to carry him, even pass him between them hot potato style as they walked. They didn't make it far before the struggle became too great.

A second small group of hikers noticed their problem and approached. One of them, later identified as Ryan Pepp with the US Army in Anchorage, took off his own pack and slung Bocephus around his shoulders. Pepp then carried the dog across the boulder field until they reached a spot where the dog could continue safely on his own.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Teen raises funds, makes sunscreen available at county pools

As part of a school project, 16-year-old Lynly Brennan researched tanning beds. She learned that wearing 30 SPF sunblock consistently reduces the risk of skin cancer by 80%. She also learned that the city of Boston had installed free sunscreen dispensers at its public pools. Inspired, she saw no reason why the county pools in her St. Louis Missouri area couldn't have them too.

So she set about raising funds. Brennan wrote letters to 40+ dermatologist, health professionals, city administrators, and pool patrons. A total of $1600 rolled in, allowing her to purchase and install sunscreen dispensers at all the public pools in her home county. With the free sunscreen so readily available, Brennan hopes people will be more likely to use it and reduce their cancer risk.

Brennan identified a need, figured out how to fill that need, and then made it happen. Kudos.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Trenton Powerball winners invest in their community

Last May, Pearlie Mae Smith and her seven adult children won the Powerball jackpot - $429.6 million. They chose the cash payout, a cool $284 million which they split eight ways. Who among us hasn't dreamed of such luck? But Pearlie Mae doesn't call it luck. She says the numbers came to her through divine intervention. 
What these eight people have done with their windfall speaks to their individual and collective character. Instead of spending millions on yachts, extravagant vacations, etc., they created a charitable foundation. The Smith Family Foundation's theme is 'Sowing into the city of Trenton, one grant at a time, with love and dedication to our community.' 

They have provided funding for youth programs and scholarships, with an eye on long-term benefits for the community. They are committed to helping those in poverty, not through temporary fixes of food and shelter, but through job training so those affected can eventually care for themselves. The foundation hopes to partner with city organizations which share its vision - nothing less than the transformation of Trenton's image from a violent gang-run city into a city full of opportunity and hope. 

Talk about divine intervention.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

100-year-old man volunteers 20 hours a week

Harold Hager of Steuben County NY is familiar with charitable work. A WWII Navy vet, he distributed food when his home region was devastated by Hurricane Agnes in 1972. When his wife of 71 years was placed in a nursing home, he visited every day. After she died, he connected with RSVP, an organization which helps seniors find volunteer opportunities. Habitat for Humanity's program touched his heart and he began volunteering with them in 2011. 

Six years later, Harold still donates about 20 hours a week to Habitat's ReStore, sorting the donated household goods and construction supplies. He was recently honored for donating the most hours of any volunteer for two years in a row.

Harold's goal is to reach 105. To the best of his ability, he wants to do so while continuing to touch the lives of those in his community.