Friday, February 28, 2014
BRAINTREE - After 70 years, Mary Kennedy still remembers the unfamiliar, sometimes uncomfortable routine of suiting up to work as a wartime welder at Quincy’s Fore River shipyard.
She also recalls the thrill of wielding her welding torch to seal the steel plates that formed the battleships, cruisers and an aircraft carrier the Quincy yard launched.
For four years the Dorchester native was a real-life “Rosie the Riveter,” the nickname that female defense plant workers were given at the beginning of World War II.
“We really were called that,” she said. “It was special.”
Now a Braintree nursing home resident, she was one of three million American women who worked in those plants from 1942 to 1945. At Fore River, she was among 2,000 who the Bethlehem Steel Corp. hired to take the place of men who had enlisted or been drafted into the military.
With the help of her younger sister, Bertha Glavin of Quincy, correct, not Galvin Kennedy is sharing her story with the American Rosie the Riveter Association, an Alabama- based group that now has 4,500 members.
Kennedy is 91, and the association says it wants to contact as many “Rosies” like her and Glavin as they can while they’re still alive.
Glavin, who’s 87, left high school at 16 to be the payroll clerk at a South Boston company that stitched raincoats for the Navy.
Kennedy – then Mary Pascucci – said she never imagined that she’d be hired as a shipyard welder. Women in the Depression era didn’t take jobs like that. Then Japan bombed the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in December 1941, and the plants needed women.
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A boyfriend proposed to his girlfriend when he had just six months to live - then spent the rest of his days making his bride’s dreams come true.
Chris Price, 26, promised to give 'love of his life' Ceri, 29, everything she ever wished for after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
The pair had a plush church wedding with Ceri’s four children as the guests of honour.
Chris Price proposed to his girlfriend Ceri when he had just six months to live, and then spent the rest of his days making her dreams come true
Chris then took her and four children Halle, nine, and triplets Evan, Morgan and Georgia, six, to Disneyland Paris.
And they had only been home a few weeks when he whisked Ceri off to New York for a weekend of sightseeing and shopping.
Chris then splashed out on the £500 pair of Louboutin shoes - and a £900 Mulberry handbag Ceri had always wanted.
The pair had a plush church wedding with Ceri's four children as the guests of honour
The loving husband then booked to take Ceri to Las Vegas for her birthday... but sadly he ran out of time.
Chris died in Ceri’s arms last month and his funeral was held in the church where the pair had married just six months earlier.
Heartbroken Ceri said: 'It was as if Chris wanted to spend his last days making me as happy as he could.
'We did such a lot in those last six months.
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Thursday, February 27, 2014
SHE'S MADE A LOTTA, LOTTA PROGRESS AND WORKED VERY HARD TO GET HERE. The last time we shared her story, Emma Kiefer was in a medically induced coma. The high school senior from Webster County was in a bad car crash back in October. She had broken bones and was missing most of her senior year. A lot has changed in three months. KIEFER'S COMA STRETCHED ON FOR WEEKS. EVEN WHEN SHE WAS MOVED TO 'ON WITH LIFE' FOR REHAB, SHE COULDN'T SPEAK, WALK OR EAT. She's definitely a different girl today. JUST 53 DAYS AFTER HER FIRST STEPS, EMMA'S THE ONE PUSHING A RACK OF CHAIRS. CREDIT THE THERAPY THAT WASN'T FUN. I don't want to even go to this but I just, it just helps me get out of here faster so I put that in my mind and then go and do it. BUT RECOVERING FROM TRAUMA IS MORE THAN JUST PHYSICAL. We know after brain injury, a lot of times we see people get overwhelmed, overstimulated. ESPECIALLY IN CROWDS. SO WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE SHE MIGHT GO HOME BEFORE HER PROM? I like asked my parents who I should ask and my dad called me 'boy crazy'. EMMA'S THERAPISTS DECIDED TO WORK SOME DANCE MOVES INTO THEIR THERAPY - Left, right or something. AND THEN TAKE IT UP A NOTCH. SATURDAY NIGHT, EMMA'S GONNA BREAK OUT HER NEW PINK GOWN-- With sparklies. AND A PAIR OF SPARKLING COWBOY BOOTS SHE INSISTED ON WEARING - FOR A PRACTICE PROM SHE'S PUMPED ABOUT. Just having fun. Because all my friends will probably show up so it'll be a good time. SHE DOESN'T KNOW IT, BUT PLACING EVERY DECORATION, SETTING EVERY CHAIR AND PRACTICING EVERY MOVE IS THERAPY... FOR THE TEENAGER WHO SPENT WEEKS OF HER SENIOR YEAR IN A COMA. She has come a long ways. When she came here, she was in a wheelchair, couldn't stand up and now she's dancing. IN THOSE SPARKLING BOOTS. They're expecting about 30 or 40 friends at Emma's practice prom tomorrow night at 'On with Life'. She plans to be back in school several weeks.
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Four years ago, Larry Ragsdale planned to propose to his high school sweetheart, Kelcie Yeoman, during a vacation with her family to Disneyland. But just a week before the trip, their lives were turned upside down. While driving home from showing Kelcie's sister, McKenzie, the engagement ring he'd chosen, Larry's car was struck by a drunk driver, and he nearly lost his life. He was thrown into a coma, and for months, no one knew if he'd ever recover.
But Kelcie never gave up on him. She was by his side every day until, at long last, he awoke. They learned that the former football and track star was left partially paralyzed from the accident; he had a long road to recovery ahead of him, filled with countless surgeries and exhaustive physical therapy sessions. Determined to be with him every step of the way, Kelcie even got a job at the facility where he was recovering.
In August, three years after coming out of the coma, Larry proposed to Kelcie with the same ring he'd chosen before that fateful night. But with their bank accounts drained from the arduous recovery, the wedding of their dreams (in Disneyland) seemed completely out of reach - until McKenzie launched a fundraising campaign and reached their goal of $20,000 in just 11 days!
Watch the video of their incredible journey (warning: Grab the tissues first!):
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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Love Your Melon, a One for One giving program started by two college students, is dedicated to improving the lives of kids battling cancer...
The Love Your Melon Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving the lives of children battling cancer through therapeutic treatments. Through its Buy One – Give One program, Love Your Melon provides comfy hats to give them something to wear during this difficult time. Our hats do more than keep them warm, they restore confidence. Love Your Melon’s gifts create smiles on the faces of children battling cancer and make them feel comfortable after losing their hair due to chemotherapy treatment. For every product purchased, another of equal value is given to a child battling cancer.
Love Your Melon was founded on October 22nd, 2012 at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN by Zachary Quinn and Brian Keller. Zachary is from Afton, MN. He attended Mounds Park Academy and is currently pursuing a degree in Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. Brian is from Andover, MN and attended Andover High School. He is currently pursuing a degree in Finance at the University of St. Thomas.
Love Your Melon was founded in an entrepreneurship class at the University of St. Thomas. Since its founding on October 22nd, 2012, Love Your Melon has been able to give and sell over 5,000 hats. It was founded on the simple principle of giving and has continued to evolve into the non-profit it is today. On December 23rd, 2013, it received 501(c)(3) status and is now a fully established non-profit. The Love Your Melon Foundation has big plans for the future.
Monday, February 24, 2014
Sunday, February 23, 2014
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Saturday, February 22, 2014
The Jamaica Plain organization Bikes Not Bombs loaded a shipping container with more than 500 hundred bikes and spare parts on Feb. 2 to be sent to its partner in Koforidua, Ghana, Ability Bikes Cooperative. BNB uses bikes as vehicle for social change both in Third World countries and within the community.
“Impoverished nations have high labor and low amounts of raw material,” said Farid Quraishi, a volunteer at BNB. “A bike is raw material. You can solve a problem with a simple piece of technology.”
Since 2008, Ability Bikes Cooperative in Ghana, a small bike shop with owners and mechanics, has been run entirely by physically disabled employees.
“It’s really two big impacts,” said BNB Operations Director Arik Grier of the shipment of bikes to Ghana. “One is providing thousands of bicycles to the city of Koforidu, and advanced mechanic skills and the tools to have bicycle repair. Then, on the other hand, it’s also an employment for the people running the business.”
Each partner project is different, but in Koforidua, Ability Bikes is a workers’ cooperative. BNB sent over the first shipment of bikes in 2008, along with a mechanics trainer to help set up the business. The money made from selling the bikes goes towards paying the workers and future shipping costs.
The next shipment will be sent in April to Bici-Tec in San Andrés, Guatemala. Founded in 2012, Bici-Tec is a small family-run business that sells “bicimáquinas” or a stationary, pedal-powered machines made out of bicycle parts. The contraptions are able to de-grain corn, grind corn, work as water pumps, pulp coffee, shell nuts and much more.
“These machines are mostly used by farm families or farm cooperatives,” said Grier. “It’s a cheaper way, rather than paying for electricity or gas for machinery.”
All of the machines are re-built, in Guatemala, out of donated bicycles. Throughout the year about 5,000 to 6,000 bikes go through BNB, Grier said. Out of those bikes about 80 percent are donated overseas and 20 percent goes to youth programs here in Boston, the BNB bike shop, and metal recycling. To prepare the bikes for shipments, volunteers come in every Thursday night to sort donated gear or “flatten” bikes – position each bike so it will take up as little space as possible when shipped.
“Most people come here repeatedly,” said Quraishi.
Dan Reid, who just recently moved back to Boston, said he volunteers almost every Thursday night. Reid said that even though the donated bicycles may be broken down or worn out, they are better than the bicycles most people have in Third World countries.
“Not all of the bikes have all of their parts, but they may be useful somewhere
along the line,” said Reid.
Reid said that typically there are about 30 people who come to volunteer nights, but in the winter it can be kind of slow. All of the bikes are donated by people in Massachusetts and through BNB’s annual Bike-A-Thon, which will take place this year on June 8, where about 500 riders participate in a 10, 30, 50, or 80-mile ride.
Quraishi said he first got started with BNB when he participated in the Bike-A-Thon about two years ago. He met a lot of cool people along the way and stayed in touch with the people he met. Ever since, Quraishi said, “I’ve always tried to make it a point to come.”
For more information go to https://bikesnotbombs.org.
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Friday, February 21, 2014
Unemployed, in debt and facing another year living on the streets in Hungary, László Andraschek spent his last remaining coins on a lottery ticket. Now the formerly homeless man has a choice of accommodation around the world after becoming one of Hungary's biggest lottery winners, with a prize of about £1.7m.
Photograph: H Baranyai Edina/BorsOnline
Andraschek's win last September went unnoticed until he made a significant donation to a hostel for the homeless this month. He said buying the ticket was a chance decision at a railway station on his way to Budapest for a workshop for recovering alcoholics.
"I had only picked six numbers and the female shop assistant reminded me that I needed to pick a seventh," he said. "I told her to make it 24 – it doesn't matter, anyway."
But he was wrong and now plans to use his winnings to establish a foundation for addicts and women abused by their husbands.
The 55-year-old resident of Gyor, north-west Hungary, said his first act was to repay his debts, before cycling to a car dealer. "When the car salesman asked me how much I would be willing to spend, I held up three fingers. As I had arrived on a bike he assumed this meant 300,000 forints, but actually I meant 3m."
As neither he nor his wife can drive, the car will be driven only by his children.
Andraschek has since bought flats for each of his three children, paid off the debts of his relatives and is planning to travel to Italy, having not previously held a passport.
He and his wife, Anikó, said they will invest their money cautiously and avoid the ruinous spending splurges of many a lottery winner. "I have become rich but I have not become a different person. I could buy a large-screen TV because I can afford it, but I won't buy three because I can afford it."
Having struggled with alcoholism, Andraschek finally quit five years ago and says he "now has no need to return".
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Thursday, February 20, 2014
Rutgers grad Gabe Hurley, who was blinded in devastating crash, is building a new life..."Life is a Gift"
"Too often we tend to focus on what we don't have, as opposed to what we do have," according to Gabe Hurley, whose life was changed dramatically after he was struck by a reckless driver. "I want people to understand that life is a gift."
He says he'd like to wake up, walk outside and gaze at the blue sky, get into his car, and drive to the gym. Now blind, all he can see is blackness, and there will never be a car in his driveway.
Music helped Hurley recover from the devastating accident, which occurred a year after graduating from Rutgers University. Playing guitar helped him remain positive enough that he started speaking to groups, inspiring them with his story.
"Time is something you can never get back," he says. "So if you have an opportunity, or a door opens, walk through it."
He has given more than 60 talks throughout the state to juvenile delinquents, and middle and high school students, and whenever he speaks during an assembly, you can hear a pin drop.
Hurley tells the students who can't wait to get behind the wheel that crashes such as the one that left him blind can be prevented. He refuses to call it an accident because that implies it wasn't the result of reckless behavior.
"Even though I'm very aware of what's been taken away, I also see it as an opportunity to help save lives and to empower people," Hurley told Rutgers Today.
Following his 25-minute talk about safe driving he plays a song from the CD released by his rock band, The New Black.
Except for his guitar playing, a passion that has ignited him since he was six years old, everything was taken away in an instant by a teenager celebrating the last day of high school. But a door was opened. A new opportunity was presented that wouldn't have been there before.
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