Entries Tagged as 'People'

Saturday, June 3rd, 2006

Operation: Soccer Balls (video)

Watch this clip from ABC 7, KGO-TV in the Bay Area, CA about a group of kids and an Army soldier who are taking collections and holding a bake sale to purchase soccer balls for Iraqis.

Calling it “Operation Soccer Ball” this motivated group looks to raise a ton of money today and tomorrow through their bake sale. Kevin Ferguson, the Army soldier involved in this project, served as the inspiration for these seventh graders at his alma mater, St. Martin, back in the Bay Area. Currently stationed in Iraq, Ferguson thought he would just enlist family and friends to pony up for the soccer ball drive. Instead, he got the whole St. Martin seventh grade to get involved. Best of luck to team St. Martin!

I thought this was a timely story in light of the soccer World Cup tournament that will consume most of the globe for the next few weeks. Games begin this Friday (June 9). Team USA plays the Czech Republic on Monday, June 12; Italia on Saturday, June 17; and Ghana on Thursday, June 22. The World Cup is being hosted by Deutchland.

With the universal appeal of soccer / football, is it any wonder that groups have sprouted up touting the sport as a means toward achieving world peace? Makes complete sense to me.

Check out these groups kicking it for peace:

Play Soccer Make Peace!
This group organizes soccer tournaments around the world as a means to promote peace. This is a project of the World Association of Non-Gorvernmental Organizations (WANGO).

Soccer Moms for Peace
This is a small group of, well, soccer moms in Colorado who raises money to “support nonviolent, humanitarian solutions to global problems, provide peace education in the United States or elsewhere, or promote nonviolence as a means of social change.”

Soccer for Peace
“Soccer for Peace is a non-profit organization aiming to unite children of war-torn nations in their shared love of soccer. Based in New York City, the organization is entirely volunteer run with no affiliation; political, religious or otherwise.”

Some other stories about soccer balls for Iraqis:

America Supports You: KiXX Soccer Team Ensures Iraqi Children Have a Ball
A Day In Iraq (blog)
Soldiers Deliver Good Will

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Heart doctor donates blood mid-surgery (video)

Watch this clip from NY1 of how doctor Samuel Weinstein of Chappaqua, NY, ended up making a transfusion of his own B-negative blood to his bleeding patient while doing work in El Salvador. He did this mid-surgery and helped save his young patient’s life. The operation was a success thanks to Dr. Weinstein’s heroics.

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Floyd Patterson

On Thursday, Floyd Patterson, youngest ever heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist, died at the age of 71. He lived in New Paltz, New York.

Patterson was known as one of the nicest guys in boxing circles. He was underweight all of his career but battled through this adverse position to attain boxing’s crown jewel – the title of undisputed world heavyweight champion.

Perhaps one moment best illustrated Patterson’s humanity. In the second of a trilogy of boxing matches against Swedish boxer, Ingemar Johansson, Patterson stunned the world as he cradled his fallen opponent after knocking him out for the count in the fifth round. It was said that at that moment Patterson promised Johansson a rematch. Now, that’s crazy nice, the sign of a great person.

Holding the record for the youngest person to win a heavyweight title, Patterson is also known for having been knocked more than any other champion. Of course, Patterson has been known to point out that this record also means that he has gotten back up more than any of his peers. That’s the kind of forward looking, positive vibe Patterson put forth. The world will miss him. I for one am saddened for his loss and for the fact that I only until now knew what a great and good guy he was.

Monday, May 8th, 2006

Barbaro Hero

By now you know that an explosive thoroughbred has hit the big time. Barbaro, the Kentucky bred brown beauty won the Race for the Roses this past Saturday at the Churchill Downs racetrack by seven lengths over Bluegrass Cat. Barbaro, undefeated so far this year, could be the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed completed the feat in 1978.

But the story isn’t in this amazing horse. The real NICE story is found in the stables with Barbaro’s trainer, Michael Matz.

Matz is a three-time Olympic equestrian rider and arguably one of the best Americans to have ever competed in the sport. He can now add Kentucky Derby winning trainer to his resume.

But Matz is most notably the man who saved two little children and an infant from the fiery wreckage of United Flight 232 in an Iowa cornfield on July 19, 1989. Bumped to the flight in Denver, on his way back from Hawai’i, Matz could not have been prepared for the tragic set of events he was to face later that day.

The plane was trying to make an emergency landing in Iowa after one of four engines exploded mid-flight. As soon as it made touchdown, the plane skidded then flipped over and caught fire. Matz, along with many of the passengers (182 of the 296 people onboard survived), were able to get out of the plane relatively unscathed. He led the two children sitting next to him to safety immediately after the crash. Then came the real hero part: Noticing that his then fiancée, D.D. Alexander, was missing, Matz went back into the fiery fuselage to save her. Unable to find her, he and another heroic man heard a baby crying and ended up saving it from the trappings of an overhead compartment. Matz brought the baby to the safety of the tarmac where he found his fiancée alive and in one piece.

Pretty crazy stuff (I think I saw something like it in a 1990s Dustin Hoffman movie). Some of us really do live charmed lives and Matz would certainly belong to this club. And although it’s at times hard to cheer for the front runner in sports, Barbaro and Matz will certainly have my bets come May 20 at Pimlico Race Course and the 131st running of the Preakness Stakes. I’d love to see the Triple Crown awarded once again and the Matz factor just makes it so much more interesting. Besides, it’s always fun to follow a story of when the good guy wins.

Read this L.A. Times article for an interview with Matz reflecting on his Flight 232 experience.

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Law & Order SVU star washes-up for charity

Mariska Hargitay, star of the NBC cop drama, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and her charity, The Joyful Heart Foundation, have teamed up with upscale beauty product company, philoshopy, to sell joyful heart shower gel to help raise funds for survivors of sexual assault.

From the philosophy website:

The Joyful Heart Foundation is committed to the total healing and recovery for survivors of sexual assault: mind, body, and spirit and is a powerful step in a survivor’s journey to reclaiming a joyful heart. philosophy is a proud supporter of this amazing foundation and 100% of our profits from the sale of the joyful heart shower gel are donated to the joyful heart foundation.

The shower gel is only available for a limited time from www.drugstore.com. Check it out and buy a couple of bottles in your effort to help with this very important cause.

Thursday, April 13th, 2006

Blind sports reporter gets married at home plate

For the first time ever, a couple was wed at home plate in Yankees Stadium. And this momentous event was reserved for a very special man.

Ed Lucas, 67, is a baseball reporter for a New Jersey radio station who lost his eye sight as a young boy when a baseball line drive hit him square in the face. Ironically, the accident happened during a pick-up game after Lucas and some neighborhood kids watched Bobby Thomson of the then New York Giants hit “The Shot Heard Around the World” during the first ever televised baseball game in 1951.

Despite the horrible mishap, Lucas continued to pursue a career in the sport that he loves. With his syndicated Yankee radio program in its 51st season, he has become a much loved and respected man around the clubhouse and the front office. It was only fitting then that Steinbrenner & Co. made the wonderful gesture of inviting Lucas and his bride-to-be, Allison Pheifle, to be married on one of the holiest of baseball’s grounds.

Read more at CBS Sportsline.

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Sarah McLachlan – World On Fire

Thanks again to our Hawai’i star for bringing this to us.

This amazing music video by perennial cool rocker, Sarah McLachlan, redefines what it means to be a responsible world citizen. The Lilith Fair founder and outside-the-box thinker came up with an outstanding idea that advances the conscience of music in coming up with the concept for this video.

For her 2004 hit song, World On Fire, McLachlan decided to go cheap on the budget and produced the music video for a meer $15. Yup, you heard me right. For $15, McLachlan sat in a wooden chair and strummed her acoustic while lip syncing. And that’s it. Some screen graphics came in and out explaining the concept behind it all, but the only shot was of the solo strummer.

You see, McLachlan decided to take all the money that she would have spent producing a standard, MTV-friendly video and give it away to worthy charities around the world. The screen graphics in the $15 resulting video highlighted these charities and furthermore described the impact of the donated money. From medicine for 5,000 people in Kenya to food for a year for 10 street children in Calcutta, the power of the video’s message is very apparent. In all, some $148,270 were given to groups like Heifer International, Comic Relief and Film Aid. In a non-in-your-face way, McLachlan managed to inspire philanthropy in all of us. It’s really a great idea for a video and makes me glad to wait for the next cool McLachlan project.

Watch this wonderful video here: World On Fire.

Uncool disclaimer:
I know, I know, this is old news, but I have to admit that I simply had not seen or heard of this video before now. I’ll work on getting cable or picking up copies of Spin and Rolling Stone more often, but for now I’m just glad that I have hip friends out there to keep me in touch. So help keep NICE hip by sending in your tips.

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Immigrants’ recycled American Dream

The story of illegal immigrants turned proud parents, Yolanda and Rogelio Garcia Sr., is simply amazing and will have you rethinking the meaning of hardship and triumph.

Featured recently on the ABC news magazine, 20/20, and subject of the documentary, Parents of the Year, the Garcia’s demonstrate how hard work, perseverance and sunny disposition can still go a long way toward attaining the American Dream. Well, at least for your kids anyway.

After losing their jobs in the early 1990s, and with three young children to care for, the Garcia’s took to the streets to keep their home in order. But not the street lifestyle that you’re probably imagining. They canvassed the Los Angeles streets at night gathering and harvesting the fruits of modern day commerce: recyclable cans and bottles. For over a decade now, for hours on end, 365 a year, the Garcias have been collecting recyclables in order to pay the bills and even put their kids through college. In fact, their eldest child, Rogelio Jr., went all they through MIT and currently works as an engineer at a military contractor. His accomplishments and lot in life were handed to him by the tedious and persistent work of his parents. Literally, the good fortune of Rogelio Jr. was built one can, one bottle at a time.

If you watched the 20/20 story or take a peak at clips from Parents of the Year, you’d also see the alluring nature of this wonderful couple. Sunny is the only way to describe them. Despite their place in society and the hard work they’ve had to endure, Yolanda can do nothing but spout positive thoughts and Rogelio Sr. beam a shining smile. It’s contagious. Definitely check it out.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Kuralt Quote

I think Charles Kuralt is my idol. He hits it right on the head with this quote:

“The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.”

-Charles Kuralt

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff author thinks nice thoughts

Author Richard Carlson (Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…And It’s All Small Stuff) talk about thinking good thoughts and being kind in this column found in The Shouthern newspaper in IL.

He talks about how easy it is to slip into meanness and how utterly not fulfilling it is to bad mouth people. He remembers about once having been mean to an older woman when he was a teenager and how to this day he feels horrible about it.

I haven’t ever read his book, but many people swear by it. His websites seem a bit to sappy for me, but he’s just trying to make good of this world, so I have to give him a shout out.