Stories Matching 'Emergency/Disaster' Tag (43 matches)

One of a Thousand Stories to Tell

Hello, my name is David G. Nadeau and I am from Monroe, Michigan, hometown of General Armstrong Custer. I am a paid-on-call Firefighter for Monroe Township Fire Department and I was at Ground Zero for one week starting September 12, 2001. Some of my hundred or so pictures from Ground Zero have been published in EMS magazines. Newspaper reporters from Cooperstown, New York and Lexington, Kentucky call me wanting to publish this story. That is because someone from the family of the business card I found at Ground Zero told the reporters this story – a story about a business card which is just one of a thousand stories to tell. I arrived at Ground Zero on September 12, 2001 with another Firefighter. After several hours of working at the front of a bucket brigade on Friday, September 14 – just one of many bucket brigades -- there came an opening ... Read Full Story >>

5428 Reads
  • Posted by David G. Nadeau
  • Sep 10, 2007
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Stormy Night Outside Taco Bell

Today, a friend and I were returning from volunteering at Camp Quality, a great nonprofit that gives cancer-kids a chance to be kids!  We spent two days there, and on our way back decided to make a stop for some junk food -- yes, Taco Bell! It was 10:45PM and one of the fiercest storms of the year had hit when we arrived at a local Taco Bell.  Half way out of the entrance, a car appeared to be stuck; so while my friend ran inside to see if TB was open, I went over to the car to offer help.  The lady -- with her young child, no more than a few months old -- was feeling a bit helpless.  My friend had borrowed his Dad's Lexus for our weekend trip, so I asked her to get transfered to our car to keep herself and her child warm.  As my ... Read Full Story >>

4052 Reads

Seven Thoughts After A Lost Wallet

I lost my wallet today.  It's just one of things that can drive you upside down,  but instead of being mad, I am gonna count my blessings with you.   1. The wallet that I left in my car I was glad I wasn't sleeping in my car Thank you God for putting a roof over my head.   2. The violation I felt over stolen property At least my life wasn't stolen from me Thank you God for life and security   3. My credit card that was gone At least I have enough money to lose Thank you God for giving me more than enough to survive   4. My favorite Macy's card I lost I enjoyed that card for years Thank you God for luxuries in life. Also thank you for a sense of fashion   5. My driver's license I lost I am still able to drive Thank you God for providing me with a stable transportation   6. My Barnes & Noble's gift ... Read Full Story >>

5627 Reads

True Story of A Grateful Whale

If you read the front page story of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday, Dec 15, 2005, you would have read about a female humpback whale who had become entangled in a spider web of crab traps and lines. The fifty-foot whale was weighted down by hundreds of pounds of traps that caused her to struggle to stay afloat. She also had hundreds of yards of line rope wrapped around her her tail, her torso and a line tugging in her mouth. A fisherman spotted her just east of the Farallone Islands (outside the Golden Gate) and radioed an environmental group for help. Within a few hours, the rescue team arrived and determined that she was so bad off, the only way to save her was to dive in and untangle her - a very dangerous proposition. One slap of the tail could kill a rescuer. They worked for hours ... Read Full Story >>

13.0K Reads

Kindness Karma on a Hot Summer Day

It is so often true that "what goes around, comes around," and that life lessons often walk in through the most unexpected doors. One hot summer, several years ago, my son and I were taking a trip by train. But first we had to take a bus into the city to the station to catch the train. I was a single Mom and as usual, since times were hard and money was very tight, we simply could not afford any extras. So we packed a large lunch bag of snacks and sandwiches, and had a small cooler filled with sodas to get us through the trip. We were still many miles from the train station, out in the middle of nowhere, when the bus suddenly completely broke down. The poor driver was mortified, and after calling ahead to the station, assured us, apologizing over and over, that they were sending another bus to rescue us. We ... Read Full Story >>

14.7K Reads

Immeasurable Generosity from a Friend

My husband died in 1998 and the following year found me incredibly depressed, desperately lonely and totally overwhelmed.  I was living over 2,000 miles from my family, and his family had disappeared as if I had the plague.  My sister and my friends had been trying to get me to sell and move for several months and a close friend invited to move to the town where she lived.  Though I knew I should sell (I couldn't keep the place up), it was impossible for me to consider, as there was no way I could handle the mortgage until it sold, and also pay for an apartment.   My friend invited me into her home, to live there with her, free of charge.  She has a large, beautiful home, and though I seriously considered it, I didn't want to "put her out" or become a burden, and told her it could take months or even years to sell ... Read Full Story >>

4247 Reads

A Death In The Sky

My husband was on a flight and as they were nearing their destination,  the Captain's voice came through the speaker bearing bad news -- "There has been a death on the plane." Shock and disbelief were the first reactions of the passengers. When everyone looked back,  they saw the dead man's son grieving silently.  He looked so alone with his Dad's body lying at the end of the plane. My husband, having lost both parents over the past year, overcame his initial shock and geared into action. He asked the flight attendant  for an empty container and he went to each passenger and asked for any expression of love.   Most people gave money.  Another gentleman got up with another empty container and helped him to go around since the first container was getting full.  The outpouring of help was touching.  Whatever was collected, my husband and the other gentleman went straight to deceased father and ... Read Full Story >>

4775 Reads

Small Dose of Hope, Thirty Years Ago

When I was in my first year of college, I hit a stretch where every area of my life was a disaster, I felt hopeless and alone, and more depressed than I knew was possible. On one such day, I was walking from class across campus to catch my bus home, head down, fighting tears of total despair, when a guy came down the sidewalk toward me. I had never seen him before.  Embarrassed at being seen in such an emotional mess, I turned my head away and hoped to hurry past.  I figured he'd walk on by, but he moved until he was directly in front of me, waited until I looked up, then smiled.  Looking into my eyes, this stranger spoke in a quiet voice: "Whatever is wrong will pass. You're going to be ok, just hang on."   He, then, smiled again and walked away. I can't explain ... Read Full Story >>

12.5K Reads
  • Posted by EsTeeBee
  • Mar 18, 2008
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Victim Treats His Mugger Right

Julio Diaz has a daily routine. Every night, the 31-year-old social worker ends his hour-long subway commute to the Bronx one stop early, just so he can eat at his favorite diner. But one night last month, as Diaz stepped off the No. 6 train and onto a nearly empty platform, his evening took an unexpected turn. He was walking toward the stairs when a teenage boy approached and pulled out a knife. "He wants my money, so I just gave him my wallet and told him, 'Here you go,'" Diaz says. As the teen began to walk away, Diaz told him, "Hey, wait a minute. You forgot something. If you're going to be robbing people for the rest of the night, you might as well take my coat to keep you warm." The would-be robber looked at his would-be victim, "like what's going on here?" Diaz says. "He asked me, 'Why are you doing ... Read Full Story >>

8254 Reads
  • Posted by Serendipity
  • Mar 28, 2008
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Unforgettable Hug at Orange County Jail

I volunteer for Orange County Jail's "Lights On" project on Saturday nights -- in a RV, from 11PM to 4AM, we provide a safe space for released prisoners until they find a ride home.  Of the many interesting stories I've heard, a particular story of 50 year old prisoner really touched me. After his last stay in jail, this 50 years old guy was homeless. He did have a family member and a friend that would let him sleep over sometimes, but on this particular night, he decided to come back and hang out with us in the RV. He told us how he has "anger issues".  He'd got into fights over "petty things", he'd been a small-time burglar, he'd been arrested for being under the influence while driving or being in public places. .  He'd been a small time burglar and had been in and out of incarceration for a lot ... Read Full Story >>

6045 Reads

The Long Life of a Short Friendship

My son's day care provider experienced a tragic sudden death of a friend. She had just met this fellow and had sensed a deep connection before dropping him off at his car. He had a car accident that night, and was killed. Deeply moved by the sadness that my friend was experiencing, I was compelled to write her some comforting words about being able to see the positives of how her friend had influenced her life and suggested that he possibly came to her as an angel of change for her life. This trajedy, impacted her deeply and encouraged her to reevaluate her life, as tragedy often does. I encouraged her to look past the normal conditionings that would have us concentrate on the drama of a trajedy and suggested she instead reflect on the positive message this friend's life gave her and the people around her. This approach would ... Read Full Story >>

3620 Reads
  • Posted by JackieHall
  • May 10, 2008
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Noticing An Agitated Duck

Kim Tucker was heading home to West Sacramento last week and saw a sight that can't rightly be ignored. There, by the side of the road, was a remarkably agitated duck, pacing the pavement and flapping in fear. Her ducklings, Tucker learned on subsequent inspection, had fallen through a drainage grate and were desperately treading water in the filthy bog below. She looked for help, eventually enlisting a burly construction worker (to pry off the grate), a slew of onlookers and, she was surprised to note, a teenage boy, who whipped off his shoes and, without hesitation, slipped into the drain and started retrieving the ducklings in distress, one by one. "He was right on it," an impressed Tucker said. "It was (a very) human moment." But not all 13-year-olds are so human, judging by the number of like-aged boys who passed by the scene with little more than a glance. What made this particular kid ... Read Full Story >>

4516 Reads
  • Posted by Elizabeth
  • Jul 10, 2008
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The Girl Who Gave Me Apples

August 1942. Piotrkow, Poland. The sky was gloomy that morning as we waited anxiously. All the men, women and children of Piotrkow's Jewish ghetto had been herded into a square. Word had gotten around that we were being moved. My father had only recently died from typhus, which had run rampant through the crowded ghetto. My greatest fear was that our family would be separated. 'Whatever you do,' Isidore, my eldest brother, whispered to me, 'don't tell them your age. Say you're sixteen.' I was tall for a boy of 11, so I could pull it off. That way I might be deemed valuable as a worker. An SS man approached me, boots clicking against the cobblestones. He looked me up and down, then asked my age. 'Sixteen,' I said. He directed me to the left, where my three brothers and other healthy young men already stood. My mother was motioned to ... Read Full Story >>

8428 Reads

Pano's Basement in Bosnia

It was the early 1990s.  During the bleak years of the Bosnian war, the Serbian Army surrounded the city seeking it's surrender and the expulsion of all non-Serbians.  The residents, with a minimal volunteer and civilian militia, were unorganized but mounted a spectacularly brave defense.  From around the world, many people converged to help them.  It was an almost magnetic pull to serve a valiant and vulnerable expression of our human experience.  I was one amongst those who came. Fueled by Hemingway and feeling much like the Spanish Civil War, international brigade volunteers were driving ambulances around town.  And yet it was resident foreigners who were causing the most distress in their hurry to leave the besieged city.  The strong passports allowed most to escape the darkest days, and to sojourn on the Dalmation coast filling their memoirs with a few notes, before going home. A few of us, though, stayed during ... Read Full Story >>

3839 Reads
  • Posted by hopeful
  • Aug 19, 2008
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Helping A Single Mom

Yesterday I heard about a single mom with two kids that I barely know. She was pleading for help to pay her phone bill so it wouldn’t get disconnected. I have seen her help many others over the past months. She struggles to make ends meet but puts on a smile so her children won’t worry. She has no family near her so if she loses her phone, her children or their school will have no way to get in touch with her. After reading her plea, I thought about it all night and it broke my heart. This morning I contacted her and told her I wanted to help. I called and paid her phone bill so that she would not lose it. She wrote me one of the most sincere letters I have ever received, telling me how thankful she was. She cried and said that I would never ... Read Full Story >>

6070 Reads

Emergency Rescue by a Father and His Sons

A couple of days ago, we were in Edmonton helping one son move there to live with his brother.  As we were leaving from their apartment complex, we noticed a man driving by very slowly.  We commented how weird it seemed and as we looked back in the mirror we saw he had run off the road into a tree. We quickly whipped a u-turn and jumped out of our vehicle.  Our younger son reached in and turned off the man's vehicle and my husband and older son tried talking to the older gentleman but got no response.  Fearing he might have choked, they struggled to get him out of the vehicle.  I quickly threw a blanket from our car onto the wet ground.  As soon as they got him out, they laid him on his side where he started choking and spitting up.  My younger son was on the phone to 911 ... Read Full Story >>

3510 Reads

Radical Kindness on the Battlefield

[This is a true story, written by Murray Polner and Stefan Merken in Peace, Justice, and Jews (1968).] During the spring of 1921, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Muhammed Amin el-Husseini, instigated an organized pogrom  against the Jewish population in Palestine. When a group of Arabs threatened to attack Jewish homes between Jaffa and Tel Aviv, Jewish defenders went forth to meet them. An exchange of fire ensued, which threatened to escalate into full-scale warfare. In the middle of escalating violence, a remarkable man Rabbi Ben Zion Uziel intervened.  He donned his Rabbinic robes and turban and went straight onto the battlefield. He asked the Jewish fighters to hold their fire and proceeded alone toward the Arab positions, calling out to them to also hold their fire. Surprise, the sheikh in command of the Arabs instructed his men to stop firing in order to hear what the rabbi had to say. ... Read Full Story >>

3733 Reads

Cherish Life Today for Tomorrow May Never Come

  Let Me Be A Little Kinder Glen Campbell   Let me be a little kinder Let me be a little blinder To the faults of those about me Let me praise a little more Let me be when I am weary Just a little bit more cheery Think a little more of others And a little less of me Let me be a little braver When temptation bids me waver Let me strive a little harder To be all that I should be Let me be a little meeker With the brother that is weaker Let me think more of my neighbor And a little less of me Let me be when I am weary Just a little bit more cheery Let me serve a little better Those that I am strivin' for Let me be a little meeker With the brother that is weaker Think a little more of others And a little less of me   We attend a funeral service planned for Danny at 2pm on Friday.   ~ModestoBob     Last week, two days before Father’s Day, a close personal ... Read Full Story >>

11.5K Reads

Grocery Store Commotion Turns Into Kindness

"Some people!" snorted a man standing behind me in the long line at the grocery store. "You would think the manager would pay attention and open another line," said a woman. I looked to the front of the line to see what the hold up was and saw a well dressed, young woman, trying to get the machine to accept her credit card. No matter how many times she swiped it, the machine kept rejecting it. "It's one of them welfare card things. Damn people need to get a job like everyone else," said the man standing behind me. The young woman turned around to see who had made the comment. 'It was me,' he said, pointing to himself. The young lady's face began to change expression. Almost in tears, she dropped the welfare card onto the counter and quickly walked out of the store. Everyone in the checkout line ... Read Full Story >>

8476 Reads

A Man We Will Never Know

Twelve years ago yesterday, my mother gave birth to the most beautiful little girl.  We were a broken family with little money.  We were given the news that this little girl, who was three and a half months premature, would only have 14 days on this earth.  It's hard to understand what kind of feeling you have when you find out that you're losing something that you don't even know.  As time went on, the number of days kept growing, which gave us hope.  When they said that we could take her home, that's when realization hit.  We had no money.  I am from a small town with small hospitals, but when you don't have money, you just don't have it.  My mother tried for days to get the money, but came up pennyless each time.  The case worker was even doing her best.  It's sad that it almost felt like we ... Read Full Story >>

5434 Reads
  • Posted by ArmyGrl
  • Jun 19, 2009
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Growing From A Rescue Opportunity

We had a marvelous 10 days in Idaho and were driving home a day earlier than we'd planned. We just wanted to have a day to rest and prepare for our work weeks ahead. Little did we know the impact our leaving early would have on someone else. We left Caldwell, Idaho at around 1pm and went through a small town called Marsing, population 790. They have a volunteer fire department, a couple of gas stations and a small market. About 10 miles on the other side of Marsing, we saw thick black plumes of smoke miles down the road to where we were driving. It didn't look good at all. We got to where the smoke was, and discovered a Big Rig (18-wheel truck) on fire and the driver was sitting on the side of the road. Another car pulled over to see if everything was okay too. We pulled up to assist ... Read Full Story >>

3569 Reads

Rescued By A Cluster Of Goodness

Yesterday was the Mother of All Bad Days for me, but I was rescued by a cluster of unrelated kind people/angels.  My head's still spinning from the experience. Our house is up for sale and my wife and I agreed to have an open house yesterday.  Before it was to start, I had to take our dog, who's been suffering from some unknown liver problem for over two months, to the vet.  The appointment was timed just right to get back home and help host the open house.  That plan soured in a heartbeat! Our dog had been making some progress with her disease, but I got the first round of bad news for the day--her blood test indicated she was getting worse.  Nearly $2,000 dollars has been spent so far trying all kinds of ways to help get her better.  Now the vet was telling me it would take another $2,000 ... Read Full Story >>

3751 Reads

A Lost Wallet Returned, Across 3 Continents

It was May in Bangkok, and even though I had arrived from India after 6 months of volunteer work, the heat and humidity was exhausting.  After a long day of temple visiting, I fell asleep on the sky train for about 5 minutes, only to wake up seconds before the door was about to slam shut at my stop.  As I rush out onto the platform, I realize that my wallet is gone! First thought: I'd been pickpocketed while I slept on the train. Second thought: Bravo to the pickpocket! My wallet had been in my front pocket and I was sitting down with my backpack on my lap.  Given the heat and stickiness, even I had trouble getting my wallet out of my pocket, but the alleged thief managed to do so despite the awkwardness and obstacles, without waking me up.  She certainly deserved something for that, and I had no ill ... Read Full Story >>

5805 Reads

Three Strangers Come Together to Help

It was a busy and stressful day at work. I decided that I had done what I could do and it was time to face the hour-long commute to the East Bay. It was stop-and-go as usual when I finally braved through the Bay Bridge traffic and reached the Powell Street exit ten minutes from my home in Berkeley.  About to exit the freeway, I noticed a large black pick-up truck parked a bit abruptly to the right shoulder. A small Hispanic woman got out of the driver seat and opened the back door. I could barely see her through the tinted windows but something didn’t seem right. Just as I pulled over behind her and got out of the car, she came running towards me -- screaming. As the tiredness of the day slipped away rather quickly, I tried to remain calm and inquire what the situation was and walked ... Read Full Story >>

5420 Reads

Facebook Kindness Saves A Family

You join Facebook and " friend" your old classmates. You might not ever talk about anything serious with them but they are there. You read their status, laugh at their jokes, groan at the corny quotes, or wish them a happy birthday.  Until last week, that is.... A classmate from twenty years ago was one of my Facebook  friends. A few random comments he made gave me the impression that something was wrong so I prodded him to call me.  He did call and I found out that that he, his wife and eight children had just moved into a cheap motel room.  He had used the very last of their money to pay for a week's stay there. He had no job and they had lost their home. What do you do in a situation like that?  I am just me, with my own family, my own worries, not enough money ... Read Full Story >>

7555 Reads
  • Posted by heavensblessing
  • Sep 28, 2010
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A Neighborhood Pulls Together To Be 'Kind People'

Two weeks ago while my daughter and I were eating dinner I saw a police officer walking past my backyard with a worried looking woman. I opened my door and asked if everything was okay. Apparently the woman was the grandmother of an eight year old boy who had gone missing an hour earlier.  I said we hadn't seen the boy, but we would help look. I asked my two year old daughter if she understood why we had to go looking for this boy and couldn't finish dinner right then.  She replied, "Be kind people, Daddy." (That still makes me want to hug her!) We hopped into our truck and went searching all over town for about an hour and a half.  Along the way, as we asked various strangers on the street if they had seen this little boy. A group of kids said they would help too. They hopped on ... Read Full Story >>

5121 Reads
  • Posted by Library
  • Nov 9, 2010
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A Lesson in Compassion From My Brother

It was my birthday so my wife, my brother and my child treated ourselves to dinner in a restaurant that we had never been to before. As we walked back to our car a very thin man approached my brother saying he hadn't eaten in a while and asking for money. Usually my wife and I treat such requests with suspicion but my brother took a different approach and he started talking with the man. The man said he was a singer and had come to Dubai from Pakistan to find work. His visa was expiring in three or four days. He  had no friends here, couldn't land a singing job, and was surviving hand to mouth. He had a return ticket that had to be confirmed. To do this he needed 70 Dirhams. My brother gave him 20 Dirhams for food and asked the man to give him a call from the airline's ticket office the next day. He also ... Read Full Story >>

5947 Reads
  • Posted by advaitin
  • Nov 20, 2010
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A 5 Year Old's Extra Special Birthday Kindness

My wonderful  grand daughter just turned five. We always have a party for her with all of our friends and family. I am often a little embarrassed by all the riches received by her.  I thought that this year, with her parents blessing, we could do something different. A nearby elementary school was devastated by fire over the summer and lost nineteen classrooms and the library.  I thought we could use  this birthday to create an opportunity for Lily, even at the young age of five, to understand service to others. The day before her party we drove to the school and took her on a tour of the devastation. Since Lily has been attending nursery she understood the concept of school and seeing the burned buildings helped her understand why we wanted to help. We asked the party-goers to bring donations of books for the school instead of a present. Of course people still brought Lily ... Read Full Story >>

4873 Reads

Someone Will Help

Opportunity knocked on my door last January when I was given a chance to work in an other country.  It's really such a blessing! At first, it was really scary living life on my own.  But, I soon met .lots of new people. Some were good and some were bad. It was a true challenge! I met a group of friends, six boys and one girl. They were really nice. I loved their company and they were so funny! We hung out most weekends. We cooked, watched movies, chatted and shared jokes! It was amazing - until something unexpected happened! One of our group was diagnosed with kidney stones which had to be removed surgically as soon as possible. But it was not as simple as that! Our friend could not afford the surgery. He tried to get help from our other friends but they refused to help. My heart cried for him! Our  friends abandoned him just when he ... Read Full Story >>

5805 Reads

A Circle of Kindness From Our Neighbors

Last year my family was moving from New Hampshire to Washington State.  In the process of selling our house, giving away most of our belongings (we were moving to a much smaller house and didn't need most of it) and saying goodbye to all the friends we'd made over the past 22 years there; our 27-year-old daughter, who was living with us, became progressively more ill, eventually becoming unable to sit up or walk. Three weeks before we were supposed to close on our house, she was diagnosed with both Lyme disease and a brain tumor, which was pressing on her brainstem.  Her excellent neurosurgeon was able to remove the entire tumor, which was non-cancerous, and within days she could walk again and use her arms.  Intravenous antibiotics took care of the Lyme disease.  When we returned home from the hospital (after 11 days away), there was a big sign welcoming us home ... Read Full Story >>

5893 Reads