Making it home with the help of a stranger

Making it home with the help of a stranger

Stranger helps sergeant rush home to see birth of first son

By Alexander Kacala/ TODAY – Story Link

Thanks to the kindness of a complete stranger, a U.S. military dad was able to make it home to see the birth of his first child.

Sgt. Seth Craven had been serving at a NATO base in Kabul, Afghanistan for the past three months as a member of the West Virginia National Guard. After being denied numerous times for leave, he finally got permission to be by his wife’s side during her scheduled cesarean section.

Craven started his journey home to Charleston, West Virginia on Aug. 4 but ran into travel troubles during the last leg of his journey.

For two days, connecting flights from Philadelphia, where Craven landed from Afghanistan, to West Virginia were canceled, and no car rentals were available after a rough storm had passed through the area.

“With all these setbacks, I really felt like he wasn’t gonna make it,” Julie Craven, Seth’s wife, told TODAY. “I was just very scared that I would have to go through this experience alone.”

“I know how much it meant for him.” she shared. “We had miscarried a few times, so this really was a life changing moment for both of us.”

Craven told TODAY it wasn’t so much that he wanted to be there for the arrival of his baby, but more importantly he wanted to be there for his wife. “It was all her,” he said. “My main focus was getting home to be there for her.”

Just when he thought that all hope was lost, Craven was approached by Charlene Vickers, a programs director for AmeriHealth Caritas Partnership. From the Philadelphia area, Vickers had to get down to West Virginia for a company event, so she offered him a seat in her car since no flights seemed to be making it out of the airport anytime soon.

“He was sitting on the ground with his back up against the wall and he had his arms draped and his head down,” Vickers told TODAY.

“Once I learned that he had been traveling since Monday from Afghanistan to get home for his wife’s pregnancy, I knew I had to do something,” she said.

“I can remember giving birth like it was yesterday,” the mother of two daughters, Ryan and Hannah, explained. “If my husband hadn’t been able to be there, it would have devastated me. And the way Seth lit up when he talked about his wife, I just knew I had to get this guy home.”

“It humbled me,” Craven said of Vickers’ gracious offer to give him a ride. “It made me realize that if I accept help from others, it will make the things you can’t control easier.”

Craven joined Vickers, along with her two co-workers Eryn Glassey and Maureen George, and they started their eight-hour drive from Philadelphia towards Charlotte.

Through more storms, lots of laughs and a few rest stops, the jam-packed car arrived just past midnight on Friday, Aug. 9.

“He fell on his knees and put his head and hand on my belly,” Julie Craven recounted her husband’s homecoming. “We were both in tears. He is a very strong man so for him to kind of crumble like that I know that getting here had been such a struggle for him.”

After their tearful reunion, the pair left for the hospital a few hours later. At 7:56 a.m., they welcomed their son, Cooper Owen, to the world.

“Holding him that first time, it changed everything for me,” Craven explained. “They tell you how important it is, but nothing can prepare you for that moment. That baby looking back at you, it takes over everything.”

Craven says, “I want people to see how much good there still is left in the world. Hopefully, if someone sees Charlene’s good deed, they will pass it on and pay it forward.”

Vickers believes that these good deeds are the things people will be remembered by.

That’s what life really is about,” she said. “It’s not so much about how much money you make or what you accomplish. It’s about trying to be a good person. These are the things people remember. These are the acts that people will remember you by.”

A Heart of Gold

A Heart of Gold

Kenyan runner gives up win to help collapsed competitor cross finish line, awarded $15,000

This runner gave up on a gold medal, but proved he has a heart of gold.

Simon Cheprot was about to cross the finish line in the Okpekpe Internation 10-kilometer Road Race in Nigeria when he noticed a fellow Kenyan runner, Kenneth Kipkemoi, collapse.

He stopped, lifted Kipkemoi up and carried him across the finish line.

Cheprot won the 2016 Okpekpe Race and finished second last year. He was a strong contender to be the first person to win twice in the seven years the annual race began.

“My dad told me one day, ‘When you’re walking and you meet a sick person on the road, help him. Do not leave him’, so that was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw my friend on the ground,” Cheprot reportedly said after the race.

And the selfless act didn’t go unnoticed. Several local politicians awarded Cheprot a total of $15,000, according to local reports.

“This is what is called sportsmanship,” race promoter Mike Itemuagbor said. “Simon gave proper consideration for fairness, ethics, respect and a sense of fellowship with his competitors. He is our hero, he is the hero of the seventh edition of the race.”

Offering Their Fullest Humanity

Offering Their Fullest Humanity

This story resonates so deeply with me. Vijay Gupta, Founder of Street Symphony, is making a difference in Los Angeles in a deeply beautiful way.  His passion and grace is palpable and his desire to do right in the world is inspiring.  If you would like to learn more about the work he is doing with Street Symphony please checkout their Website.  Better yet, Donate Here to help support their continued efforts to bring music to the masses.

“When we make music in skid row it isn’t about doing something for the homeless it’s about understanding our neighbor.”  ~Vijay Gupta

Street Corner Symphonies
by: Great Big Story

Los Angeles’s Skid Row has been stuck at the center of America’s epidemic of homelessness. It is also located right next to the Walt Disney Music Hall, home to the LA Philharmonic, one of the country’s top orchestras. Wanting to give back to his neighbors, the philharmonic’s first violinist, Vijay Gupta, has been taking his talents to the streets. To date, Gupta and his fellow musicians have played over 500 free concerts in Skid Row—for the violinist, it’s all about understanding and acknowledging the humanity in your neighbors.

Honoring Big Hearts and Brave Spirits that Prevail Amidst Tragedy

Honoring Big Hearts and Brave Spirits that Prevail Amidst Tragedy

Recently my home State of California has been ravaged from the north where I grew up to the south where I live.  This past month has been a tragedy of epic proportions … I take that back this entire past year has been one for the books with regard to horrendous and disastrous fires. There is no way to sugar coat this;  lives have been lost and livelihoods have been destroyed but what is persevering is the human spirit to survive even amongst the most dire circumstances. I am continually humbled and inspired by these people I read about and I wanted to dedicate this post to that very spirit of human nature seeking out love, peace, and hope when darkness surrounds.

At this time of year when most of us are preparing to celebrate the Holidays I want to recognize and bring to light those who are suffering and in need, and those who are stepping up to help. Please take a moment to look at the links at the end of this post to find out how you can help as well.


Amazing stories of Peace, Charity, Love, and Community during the 2018 Camp and Woolsey Fires


1. As the fire neared, this 93-year-old knew she had to get out. Then her garbageman showed up.

When Margaret Newsum saw the news that the Camp Fire was not far from her home, the 93-year-old knew she’d have to evacuate. But her caregiver wasn’t around that morning to take her. And when Newsum went to call for help, her electricity shut off and phone service went down.

So she got her medicine and other vital needs together and walked out of her home in Magalia, California, hoping somebody would come by and help her. Salvation soon came in the form of a garbage truck.

“I was standing there when I looked up and saw this great, big, green monster truck barreling down the street,” Newsum told CNN.

Around that time, Dane Ray Cummings, a Waste Management driver, had been told to cut his trash collection route short and head home as the Camp Fire neared. But he wanted to finish his route, and he had a mind to check on some houses with elderly or disabled residents.

Cummings drove up to find Newsum waiting for him. And once he realized she needed to evacuate, he knew what he had to do.

“He said you’re going with me,” Newsum recalled.

Story by Eric Levenson, CNN


2.  California fires: For one man in the Camp fire evacuation zone, carrying for animals and checking properties keep him busy.

Jeff Evans steers his white Dodge Ram along a narrow dirt road, scanning the blackened trees and ashen ground for two skittish dogs.

They come running when they hear the truck, and Evans offers them dog biscuits from the big red box of Milk-Bones he keeps on his floorboard. Good, he said, giving them a pat. They’re doing OK. He can move along.

Checking on the dogs is just one chore on Evans’ list. He’s one of a handful of people left in Concow, Calif., a mountain hamlet tucked deep in the woods that has been under mandatory evacuation orders since the Camp fire tore through here Nov. 8. If he leaves, he can’t get back in.

His neighbors stuck on the outside have been emailing him requests. Because the gas in the generator powering his electricity — and his internet — is limited, he hops online for a few minutes each day, answers their questions and gets going.

“Every single morning until the afternoon, I’m huffing it,” Evans said. “I’m going and going and going. There’s pigs to feed and goats and ducks and chickens.”

Not to mention the eight dogs he’s rescued.

“We’re stuck here anyhow,” he added. “We may as well do something valuable.”

Read full story here

Written by Haily Branson-Potts, LA Times


More Stories of Kindness, Love, and Compassion

(Read More Here)

(Read More Here)

(Read More and Watch Adorable Video Here)

(Read More Here)

Primary Reference:  Story by Abby Hamblin / The San Diego Union-Tribune


Ways you can help!



Gratitude and the Gift of Color

Gratitude and the Gift of Color

After living his entire life with colorblindness, one Northern California man was brought to tears by a generous gift from his coworkers that allowed him to finally see life in full color.

Jeff Dishmon, a correctional deputy who manages a work-study program at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility, received a pair of specialized glasses Nov. 14 from his longtime coworker Samantha Freese. A fellow correctional deputy, Freese has worked alongside Dishmon for eight years, and the two had become close, calling one another “grandpa” and “granddaughter.”

Dishmon’s colorblindness had “sometimes been a source of frustration for him and others around him,” the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said, so Freese and other coworkers pitched in to buy him glasses designed to help those with colorblindness see color.

In footage shared by the sheriff’s department, both Dishmon and Freese were visibly emotional before he even put the glasses on. “(It’s) a different world,” Dishmon said through tears as he stared into the distance, spellbound by the landscape.

Freese then introduced Dishmon to a set of purple, green, blue, red and yellow balloons to test out his new specs, and the two longtime coworkers shared an emotional hug.

“You’re unbelievable. Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody,” he said, adding that he was excited to watch the sunset with his wife.

During a subsequent phone call with his wife, Dishmon broke into tears as he talked about his gift.

“You wouldn’t believe this place. This whole place is lit up. The whole world is lit up!” he told her.

The glasses Dishmon received were EnChroma glasses. The glasses, which retail for several hundred dollars, have optical lenses designed to selectively block certain wavelengths of light that contribute to colorblindness.

This beautiful story can be found HERE.
By:  Danny Clemens/ Channel 6 ABC, November 16, 2018

To learn more about EnChroma Glasses click HERE
(FYI – their website says they are having a big Black Friday sale!!!)


Wishing you a blessed and happy Thanksgiving.  I am grateful for all of YOU!


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