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100-Year-old Walks Around Garden 40,000 Times to Raise Money for Charity

in Charity/People 39 views

A 100-year-old Second World War veteran has walked hundreds of miles around his garden to raise money for charity—but no, you didn’t stumble upon a four-year-old news story,

Lance Corporal Harold Jones laps his back garden 30 times every day no matter the weather, and has been doing so since 2020, as he was inspired by the worldwide media sensation of the late Captain Tom, who announced on social media he was doing the same thing in the early days of the pandemic in 2020.

Corporal Jones is a great-grandfather-of-six, and he started walking circuits around his bungalow during lockdown like Captain Tom, and has so far taken his walker a total of 661 miles, equating to 41,550 laps around his garden, or about the same distance as his home in Birmingham to the border of Germany.

“I always refer to myself as Lance Corporal Harold. Captain Tom was a captain so I thought I’d go to the other end of the spectrum,” said the centenarian, referring to the military hierarchy. “One other reason I started was to keep fit and keep moving. With Covid we had to stay in and all sorts of things.”

“I saw it was what Captain Tom had done to raise money. I had lost three friends with Motor Neurone Disease and I thought I’d do the same,”

As the anniversary of Captain Tom’s death approaches in two weeks’ time, Jones is still racking up the steps in honor of the Captain who touched the hearts of the nation.

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FedEx Delivers 300,000 Free Christmas Trees to Military Families With Annual Trees for Troops Program

in People/Transportation 43 views

FedEx is rolling down the highway to deliver Christmas joy to military families throughout America in the annual Trees for Troops program.

The freight company is delivering nearly 16,000 Christmas trees this month to families at over 90 military bases across the U.S.

Partnering with the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation, FedEx has also reached a special milestone with the program, delivering tree number 300,000 during a special celebration at Fort Liberty in North Carolina.

“Every year, the FedEx Freight team puts in tireless effort to support Trees for Troops,” said Lance Moll, President and CEO, FedEx Freight. “We are honored to give back to local communities and military families whose values have always been closely tied to the core mission of our company.”

Since 2005, FedEx Freight has supported the Trees for Troops program, an initiative that delivers farm-grown Christmas trees to domestic and international U.S. military bases. This long-standing collaboration has become a cherished tradition for FedEx Freight.

And drivers have logged over 600,000 miles to deliver the holly-jolly trees during the 18 year partnership.

“This program started on a crazy idea and started small. We delivered 4,300 trees to only five bases that first year,” said Wendy Richardson, Chair of the Christmas Spirit Foundation Board of Trustees. “It’s hard to believe we’re now going to exceed 300,000 total trees since we began working with FedEx 19 years ago.”

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Trapped on Tiny Ledge, Fallen Hiker with Mangled Legs Rescued by Off-Duty Air Force Hero

in People 326 views

An off-duty Air Force Captain proved himself worthy of rank and regalia after conducting a daring rescue of a fallen hiker on the shoulder of Yosemite’s Half Dome.

Capt. Joshua Haveman, 60th Air Evacuation Squadron, was hiking the famous peak in September when he saw a climber slip in wet conditions and fall perhaps as many as 80 feet down onto a precarious ledge.

Haveman and the other hiker were at a section of the hike where in order to pass up solid granite, a series of cables embedded into the rock are necessary for safety and leverage. If they don’t have a harness, rope, and carabiners to secure themselves to the cables, hikers are left simply holding on to them or using them as handholds.

Without hesitation, Haveman took action. Faced with harsh winds, slippery rock, and hail, he made a decision to venture outside the permanent cable barriers to reach the fallen climber, Travis Air Force Base wrote in a statement.

His climbing experience and extensive medical training proved invaluable in this life-or-death situation.

“You could see that his legs were not naturally oriented at all, so I started collecting sticks from Sub Dome and started climbing,” Haveman recalled. “Other climbers were concerned for my safety, but the guy was just up there screaming in pain, so I left the cable area and climbed on the ledge.”

Using makeshift splints fashioned from sticks, Haveman provided crucial first aid to the injured climber by securing above and below the tibia/fibula fracture and wrapping his injured ankle with an ace bandage he had in a medical kit he had brought.

To shield the climber from the harsh elements and apparent shock, Haveman covered the climber with his jacket while organizing a call to search and rescue.

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Military Veterans Who Lost Limbs Receive Mortgage-Free Homes to Honor Their Service

in Housing 283 views

Across the country, soldiers who came home mangled from the wars in the Middle East are receiving mortgage-free homes as a small measure of gratitude and honor for their sacrifices.

In DeForest, Wisconsin, a medically-retired former Sergeant Tory Honda was recently given the keys to a new mortgage-free home. Walking through it alongside television cameras, he, his wife Marsela, and their kids were overwhelmed by the gesture.

They learned back in March that a coalition made up of Operation Finally Home, Tim O’Brien Homes, and the Structural Building Components Association had secured a new home for their family in the Bear Tree Farms area of DeForest.

“It means so much to me. Perspective? I can’t even put that into words. I’m just grateful, and I hope I deserve every bit of it. I feel like I don’t, but I really hope I do. I hope I can live up to the standards that everybody looks forward to,” he told Channel 3000, after cutting the ribbon in front of the house.

For an even more unfortunate soldier, retired Army Sergeant Shane Parsons, the gesture was even more grand.

Wheelchair-bound after losing both legs and suffering a traumatic brain injury, the Gary Sinise Foundation built a smart, 100% accessible home for the man, his wife Jennifer, and their two sons Owen and Emmett.

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Operation Community Hearts: Drive beginning for deployed soldiers, Fort Drum families

in Charity/Employment/People 369 views

WATERTOWN — In the communities around Fort Drum, an effort is underway to provide support for military children and families, along with their loved ones overseas.

Teddy bears will be gathered for children left at home, while supplies, gifts and written letters will be collected and shipped to soldiers overseas.

Operation Community Hearts is the revamping of an effort from years ago that began with a then preteen Gavin E. Moran, who started a teddy bear drive at his family’s duty station of Fort Hood, Texas, as a bar mitzvah service project. This time, the efforts are headed by his parents Crystal D. and Allen G. Moran, with help from his brother Hunter A. Moran, local businesses, and Gavin himself from states away.

“Because it touched his life so much, he wanted to do something for military kids,” Mrs. Moran said of the origins of the drive Gavin began. “His father was deployed a lot, at least four times on main deployments to Afghanistan or Iraq, and then multiple tours that were just like regular training missions. My son received a teddy bear that he named Teddy when he was really little, given to him by his father, and it became his comfort when his dad was gone. He tapped into that, issued this project, and asked me for help.”

Mrs. Moran, who now works in distribution at the Times, recalls not knowing what to do the first time around. But now she knows how to get the project rolling. In Fort Hood, the family contacted news outlets to get the word out and found places to collect. Organizations and businesses allowed the family to place collection boxes at their sites. They gathered roughly 500 bears when the family was at Fort Hood.

As distribution got underway, Gavin did lots of talking and reaching out to people, Mrs. Moran said. When his father returned to the U.S., the family relocated to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, where the second phase of the drive began. With some bears left over from the Fort Hood collection, they wanted to figure out a way to distribute them out to the community again, so Mrs. Moran and Gavin shared their idea with the community.

“We had the same reception, a lot of businesses wanted to get on board,” Mrs. Moran said. “By the time this whole thing was done, he had collected a thousand bears, it was pretty big. At that point, it reached a national level where a lot of people got information about what was going on.”

Gavin is now 25 and living in a different state than his family, but he still wants to be part of the drive.

This revamped drive will bring back his original teddy bear focus and add care packages for deployed soldiers and support for families. The project is in its early stages. The goal now is to spread the word and gather volunteers and donations.

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Former soldier talks life after the military, self-training husky as PTSD service dog

in Animals 392 views

WATERTOWN — On a quiet spring afternoon, Shawn M. Rafferty sat behind the counter at the 315 Artisan Market in the Salmon Run Mall, greeting customers and letting them know he’s available should they have questions about the products in the store. Periodically moving from behind the counter with her handler to keep an eye on things was his service dog, or Luna Marie Rafferty on the rare occasion her full name needs to be used.

The 3½-year-old canine, a trained PTSD service dog, has been attached to Mr. Rafferty, who served in the military for 19 years, since he brought her home.

“She picked me at the breeders, there was no denying that,” Mr. Rafferty said. “She picked me at 5 weeks old; 8 weeks old I was able to bring her home, and 9 weeks old I had a little ‘in training’ vest for her and had her out with me everywhere right from go.”

Mr. Rafferty acquired Luna, a purebred husky, in 2018 from a private breeder that was American Kennel Club certified. He knew that he wanted to train her as his service dog, though husky service dogs aren’t very common because they tend to have high-energy personalities. He said he took a lot of criticism and even had one trainer tell him she’d be happy to train Luna but would fail her because she’s a husky and “there was no way a husky would pass as a service dog.”

Determined to continue with his plan to train Luna as a service dog, Mr. Rafferty and Luna started going to Walmart a few times a day to get her socialized. He also brought as many kids around her as possible, figuring that if anything could break her calm, it would be them. But she proved able to handle whatever challenges were presented to her.

Early on, Mr. Rafferty researched how to train a service dog for post-traumatic stress disorder.

“The basic service dog stuff is kind of obvious, there’s certain ways that a service dog would be expected to act in public, so that part was easy,” he said. “The problem was I found that there’s no training program for a PTSD service dog because everybody’s triggers are different; there’s no way to write a training protocol.”

He eventually found a Facebook group of people who self-taught their service dogs and said it all comes down to the fact that the dog has to understand the human. He also found his way back to the Americans with Disabilities Act guidance, which says dogs trained by their owners can be recognized as service dogs after they’ve been evaluated.

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