Month: May 2013

Mom chases daughter’s kidnapper

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ALBUQUERQUE, New Mex.,- Melissa Torrez was cleaning around her apartment when neighbors informed her that a man in a brown Buick had just taken her 4-year-old daughter. Without even thinking, Torrez hopped in her car and went to hunt down the abductor. She found the vehicle and followed it, zigzagging at high speeds on the freeway and side roads until finally she cornered the car in an apartment complex. The driver took off running as Torrez checked the backseat for her daughter but found nothing but a car seat. Somehow the kidnapper caught wind that Torrez was after him and pushed the young girl out of the car at a nearby complex. Neighbors found her and contacted Torrez, ensuring that her daughter was unharmed.

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Amputee raises funds for baby born without arms

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MIAMI, Flor.,- Twenty years ago Hector Picard was in an electrical accident that caused the amputation of his two arms. Instead of focusing on the negative, Picard placed his energy in participating in numerous triathlons, marathons and other events for different charities. His mindset on his challenges in life is “Overcome…don’t stop living.” His most current and biggest endeavor yet, happens this June 8th. Picard, in a specially made bike, will ride 3,200 miles from Miami, FL. to Spokane, WA., in an event called “Hands for Baby Jameson”. This event is for a baby boy, Jameson Davis, who was born without hands or forearms, to help his able family afford his first prosthetics.

Pregnant, off-duty Sheriff saves drowning teen

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SAN BERDARDINO, Cali.,- While dining with her family at the Silverwood campgrounds one night, Jenna Underwood-Nunez heard someone yelling in the distance and saw what appeared to be someone splashing in the lake about 200 years away. She ran to see what was wrong and realized the person yelling was in search of help for his brother who was 15 feet down at the bottom of the lake. Even though she is six months pregnant, she jumped in, pulled the 17-year-old out, administered CPR, and saved the victim’s life. 

Kindergartener’s graduation gains support of hundreds

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PHOENIX, Ariz.- We are at the time of year for graduations: kindergarten, high school and college. One little girl, Tatum Raetz, is graduating from kindergarten without her father present. She lost him the weekend prior while he was investigating a DUI case. He was an officer for the Phoenix Police Department. To Tatum’s surprise as she got out of the car to her kindergarten graduation, over 300 of her father’s “work family” came in uniform to support her in one of the biggest events of her life to date. As the announcer called her name, an ocean of blue raised and cheered her on. Even though her father couldn’t make it, the police department came to support the family of the fallen hero.

Third grade teacher covers students with her own body during Oklahoma tornado

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MOORE, Oklah.,- Jennifer Doan, a teacher at Plaza Towers Elementary, rushed her students into the hallway of the school and used her body as a shield to cover as many students as she could when the tornado hit. She tried to help the terrified children by telling them to keep calm and that everything will be alright. She wrapped her arms around the ones she could, tucked her head down, then suddenly the tornado came through, destroying the school. Doan has no idea how long they were hidden in the rubble before rescuers reached them, but she kept telling her students that help would be there soon. Doan suffered from sternum and spine fractures, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Seamstress survives being trapped in wreckage for 17 days

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SAVAR, Bangladesh- Reshma Begum, 19, was a seamstress at the eight-floor garment factory that collapsed in Bangladesh. Trying to save herself, she ran into the stairwell leading down into the basement when she was trapped due to the wreckage. For days, she banged on the debris with sticks and rods in hopes of being found. She had some dried food and water she rationed for the first two weeks, but the last two days, she survived on nothing but water. Finally, after 17 days, she was rescued and reunited with her family. She is a hero for maintaining hope of rescue.

Homeless man donates to charity

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LOS FELIZ, California- Seventy-seven year-old homeless man, Ed Denst, donated $250 to a Catholic charity. Denst collected money from strangers to donate to the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Council of Los Angeles. He chose to not buy himself food, clothes or shelter. Instead when asked why he gave it away, he responded with “well, because I thought about giving back. (It) makes me feel very good.” Denst, an ex-Marine, became homeless after his wife died 23 years ago. He sold the house, spent all of the money and has been on the streets ever since. The charity he donated to offers him a warm meal at least once a day. Over the last two decades, he has learned that people are charitable, and he’s thankful for that and wanted to give back.

Youth’s donated heart helps childhood friend live

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PASADENA, Maryland- Skylar Marion and Kyle Wilerson, both 15 years old, used to ride their bikes together when they were younger. In April, Skylar was hit by an SUV that ended up taking his life. During this time, Kyle was hospitalized for heart failure due to a rare genetic condition, and was on a waiting list for a transplant. The Marion’s donated their son’s body and it turns out that Skylar’s childhood friend and fellow ninth-grader was the recipient of his heart, giving Kyle a chance at life. The connection wasn’t made until after the surgery. Kyle’s transplant went well and he is now in rehab, hoping to return to school soon.

Fighting Discrimination

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WILCOX COUNTY, Georgia

For decades Wilcox County High School has had two separate proms, casually known as black prom and white prom. The school doesn’t sponsor the dance so it has been up to the parents and their children- the students to organize their own. This year, the students decided to break that trend by organizing their own prom open to all races. Led by one brave senior, Mareshia Rucker and three other students, the school hosted their first integrated prom. The event was a huge success and gained attention nationwide.

Restoring humanity

WACO, Texas, — One of my fondest memories was driving to visit my uncle in Waco and making a stop in West, Texas for the delicious kolaches.

            Upon hearing about the recent explosion tragedy, my heart goes out to that small Czech town and the community there. Watching the event on the world news (as I now live 2000 miles away) I saw the locals, nearby city officials and the state all come together to help.

            These people put aside their families and personal lives to enter dangerous territory in hopes to assist those in need.

            These acts of kindness restore faith in humanity across the nation and due to their courageous services, they are seen as heroes in my eyes.