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The Good Deeds Thread
Need some smiles in your life?  This might be the thread for you!  Post articles of people being really cool to one another.

I'll start with this October article that recently came to my attention about a man who planned on going back to his favorite pizza parlor for the first time in 25 years, but ended up in hospice care.  The pizza place doesn't deliver, but the 18-year-old grandson of the owner drove 225 miles from Michigan to Indianapolis to deliver some pizzas.  He then drove home immediately because he had to work in the morning.  That's a seven hour, 450-mile trek all together.

Quote:"About five minutes later he called me and he said, 'I want to know what kind of pizza they like," Dalke said. 

It was an unusual request, but Dalke told him anyway: Pepperoni and mushroom. 

On the other end of the line was Dalton Shaffer -- the 18-year-old grandson of Steve, original owner of the pizzeria. Shaffer told Dalke it was near the end of the night, and as soon as he closed the store, he'd head to the house with their two favorite pizzas. 

"I said, 'Wait a minute, did you understand that I am in Indianapolis? I'm not next door?'" Dalke said. 

It's about a three-and-a-half-hour drive between the two cities. But Shaffer said he didn't have to think twice and got on the highway without telling anyone from his family or the store. 

"It was kind of a spontaneous reaction," Shaffer told CNN. "I'm happy I did it, and on the trip down I was happy doing it."

Dalke kept the lights on and waited until 2 a.m., when Shaffer pulled into their driveway. 

Shaffer handed Dalke the two pizzas, and got ready to drive back to Michigan -- another three-and-a-half-hour drive. 

"I told him to come in, have something to eat, drink. I asked if he wanted me to put him up for the night," Dalke said. "But he said 'I've got to get up because I've got to go to work the next day.'" 

Shaffer wouldn't take any money. He just drove back home, completing a 450-mile, seven-hour journey. 

His remarkable act a week ago has inspired people everywhere since Julie Morgan posted about it on Facebook.

Dalke said what the world needs is "more Daltons." 

"There's so much goodness in people -- and there are people in this world that will stretch out, and care and not think twice about it," he said. "We're going through grief but, by golly, there's something good that's happening." 
A Powerball jackpot winner from Iowa is donating big money to veterans affairs, poverty and hunger initiatives, education and animal welfare:

Quote:Sometimes it’s easy to put envy aside and just feel happy for a lottery winner — especially when it’s someone like Lerynne West, the single mom of three who collected her $343.9 million Powerball jackpot in Iowa earlier this month.

“I realize this is a life-changing moment,” West, of Redfield, Iowa, said as she claimed her prize at the state’s lottery headquarters on Nov. 5. “I’m excited to share my winnings with family and friends, plan to purchase a new car, and look forward to a long vacation — or several. I also plan to give to the causes and organizations important to my family through our newly established Callum Foundation.”

It’s particularly that last part, about her philanthropic plans, that has made West’s win so easy to celebrate — as has her latest announcement, made Wednesday on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, that she’d be donating $500,000 to the Travis Mills Foundation, a national support program and Maine-based retreat for injured veterans and their families.

“The Travis Mills Foundation has had a very special place in my heart because my dad was a Vietnam vet,” West, 51, told DeGeneres. “I come from a long line of people who have served in the military — three of my brothers — and I think it’s very important to me that we never forget the sacrifices that our soldiers and our families make for our security.” She then made her half-million dollar pledge, holding up a huge, symbolic check that was whisked onstage from the wings.

West had already made another generous announcement, regarding the formation of her Callum Foundation — named after her grandson “who was born at 24 weeks and lived one day,” she explained through tears — which will fund charities dedicated to poverty and hunger, education, animal welfare and veteran affairs.

“When I won the lottery, I thought, I have a responsibility to do good for other people and to help out other people as well,” said West, one of seven children who was raised on a farm by her father, who was a welder, and her mother, a homemaker. She began working various farm jobs when she was quite young, according to her foundation bio, earned her GED and had a series of “blue-collar jobs” before having three daughters, now grown. While raising them as a single mother, West continued working full-time and attending night classes, eventually earning her human resources degree and working in the field — up until her massive lottery win.
Michael Bloomberg donated $1.8 billion to his alma mater, John Hopkins University, to boost financial aid to low and middle income students.  The largest contribution ever given to an education institution in the U.S. will allow the university to offer scholarships that don't have to be repaid starting next year:

Quote:Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Sunday he's donating $1.8 billion to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to boost financial aid for low- and middle-income students.

The Baltimore university said the contribution — the largest ever to any education institution in the U.S. — will allow Johns Hopkins to eliminate student loans in financial aid packages starting next fall. The university will instead offer scholarships that don't have to be repaid.

University President Ronald Daniels said Bloomberg's contribution will also let the institution permanently commit to "need-blind admissions," or the principle of admitting the highest-achieving students, regardless of their ability to pay for their education.

"Hopkins has received a gift that is unprecedented and transformative," he said in a statement, noting the prestigious school was founded in 1876 by a $7 million gift from Baltimore merchant Johns Hopkins that was, similarly, the largest gift of its kind at the time.
Tyler Perry paid off approximately $430,000 of layaway items at two Georgia Walmart stores:

Quote:Entertainment mogul Tyler Perry just shared some good news for some lucky shoppers in Georgia. 

The 49-year-old actor and filmmaker paid for layaway items at two Walmarts in the state — the store’s East Point and Douglasville locations. 

In a video posted to Twitter, Perry told his 5.6 million Twitter followers that if you had an outstanding layaway item at either location before 9:30 Thursday morning, it is now paid. 

"I was trying to do this anonymously, but due to some circumstances — y’all know nothing stays secret these days," he said in the video. 

Walmart confirmed to ABC News that Tyler Perry wrote checks totaling approximately $430,000 between the two stores. 

“Tyler Perry’s generous donation is making an unbelievable difference for so many families, and we can’t thank him enough for his kindness," read a statement from the company. "The heartfelt excitement and joy we’re seeing from our customers as a result of his holiday gift has been touching.” 

In order for the shoppers to receive the items Perry paid for, they must pay one penny. 

"You gotta go into the Walmart, get your layaway and pay a penny, one penny, and you get your layaway," Perry said in the video post. "I know it’s hard times. A lot of people are struggling and I’m just really, really grateful to be able to be in a position to do this." 

"So, God bless you, go get your stuff and Merry Christmas," Perry added. 
Some 1,300 envelopes have been sent to New Yorkers around the state, containing the news that R.I.P. Medical Debt, a New York-based nonprofit organization, has purchased their medical debt — and forgiven it
Lin-Manuel Miranda and friends bought a century-old New York City bookshop to rescue it from going out of business due to soaring rents:
Canadian air traffic controllers ordered hundreds of pizzas for their American counterparts working without pay due to the ongoing US government shutdown:

Quote:Canadian air traffic controllers have been sending more than just radio signals across the border this weekend. They ordered hundreds of pizzas for their American counterparts working without pay due to the ongoing US government shutdown. 

Peter Duffey, president of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, said the controllers were looking for a way to help the American controllers as they faced their first payday with no pay on Friday. On Thursday, one of CATCA's control centers in Edmonton, Alberta, had the idea of sending pizzas to the controllers in Anchorage, Alaska. The units are so close that they regularly interact and the Canadian controllers thought it would be a nice gesture of solidarity. 

The idea took hold, and other units along the border sent pizza to the controllers with whom they share airspace. But now, Duffey said, units have been randomly selecting other units to send pizza to, sometimes based on similarities they think they share. Fort McMurray, for example, a unit in Alberta, chose to buy pizzas for a unit in El Paso, Texas, because it is also an oil town. Since Thursday, more than 350 pizzas have been sent to 49 FAA units across the United States and Duffey said the number is likely to grow.
A Chicago woman who takes care of feral and abandoned cats lost her job recently, and is having a hard time getting a new furnace:

Quote:Alicia Mendoza has spent the last 20 years saving feral and abandoned cats of Englewood, providing them food, shelter and a safe space to play. Now, during a dangerous Chicago cold snap, she is looking for help heating her home.

Mendoza’s furnace has been out of commission for nearly a year, after an attempt at repairing it resulted in a broken pipe and a melted wiring. She reached out to several different organizations for help, but was told she didn’t qualify for assistance. 

“I couldn’t pay my mortgage,” said Mendoza, who was recently laid off from her nonprofit job of 20 years. A bankruptcy and a home equity loan taken out years prior also made her ineligible for Illinois’s Hardest Hit Fund, a program designed to help struggling homeowners.

A GoFundMe campaign started by her good friend George Black aims to raise $2,000 so she can buy a new furnace. So far, they’ve only raised $265.
In one Chicago neighborhood, people rallied to turn a fitness studio into a makeshift shelter to help 70 people who are homeless because of the brutal cold:

Quote:As dangerous, sub-zero temperatures hit Chicago Tuesday night, a Pilsen fitness studio opened its doors to nearly 70 people looking for refuge from the blistering cold.

Healthy Hood, 2242 S. Damen Ave., originally planned to open as a makeshift shelter to help as many as 50 people who were homeless during the brutal 36-hour cold spell. But when dozens more showed up for help, owner Taynya Lozano said she knew she couldn’t turn them away.

“We are just figuring it out as we go because it’s too cold to say, ‘No,’” Lozano said. 

Lozano opened up the studio at 8 p.m. Tuesday and will keep the space open until 8 a.m. Thursday for people who are homeless and looking for a warm place to stay. Temperatures have felt as cold as 50 degrees below zero during the deep freeze.

Thanks to help local restaurants — including Quiote, Zamn Good Food, Lalo’s on Maxwell and Canton Regio — those seeking shelter in the studio will get a few warm meals to eat, too.
Gary Shandling bequeathed $15.2 million to medical research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA:

Quote:Garry Shandling was always known as a generous spirit to his friends. He died nearly three years ago, but is still proving that. Shandling has bestowed $15.2 million to benefit medical research at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Shandling earmarked the funds to benefit three units — the division of endocrinology, diabetes and hypertension; the division of infectious diseases; and the UCLA Agi Hirshberg Center for Pancreatic Diseases — as well as general medical research at the David Geffen School of Medicine, establishing a meaningful philanthropic legacy.

His gift will establish and endow the Garry Shandling Endocrine Surgery Research Fund, the Garry Shandling Infectious Diseases Innovation Fund and the Garry Shandling Pancreatic Diseases Fund. The remainder of the bequest will establish the Garry Shandling Medical Research Fund, which will operate under the direction of the medical school’s dean. In his honor, UCLA also has named the Garry Shandling Learning Studio, a 6,400-square-foot multipurpose space located in Geffen Hall, the school’s medical education building.
Here's a nice video of a Pakistani Muslim immigrant who opened a restaurant in D.C. that feeds the homeless for free:

Quote:"People fear that homeless people have mental/ health issues..they are dirty..they will ruin your business.. I tell them to look at my life & my restaurant. Does it look dirty to you?"
Pretty cool:

Quote:When 22-year-old Kayla Cooper walked out of car dealership in tears, little did she know a good Samaritan was about to help her. 

Cooper, a nursing student at San Diego City College, was at Auto City in El Cajon, California, when she realized that she didn't have enough money for a down payment to buy a used car. 

Dan Laguardia, a dad of four from San Diego, was also at the dealership that day and overheard Cooper's story. Laguardia was buying a new car for himself and planned to trade in the old one.

"I heard Kayla at the next table, she sounded like she was upset," Laguardia told "Good Morning America." "I really wasn't trying to be nosy, but I heard her sales guy say, 'Can somebody help you out? Do you have a family member or friend?' That's when I tuned into the conversation."

Laguardia learned that Cooper, who had been driving a loner car, couldn't afford a down payment to purchase her own. When she's not attending nursing school, Cooper works two part-time jobs -- as a cashier at 7-Eleven and a lot enforcer at Ace Parking in San Diego.

"I use my car to work at Ace -- that's the only reason I got the position because I had a car," Cooper told "GMA." I was feeling really upset because I went into [the dealership] with good intentions." 

After Cooper left the dealership, Laguardia asked the salesperson to call and ask her to come back. Cooper returned 10 minutes later and Laguardia offered her his 2005 Scion, which he intended on trading in, for nothing.

"She just couldn't believe it," Laguardia recalled. "She said, 'Can I give you a hug?' and I said, 'Of course.'"

Cooper said she loves her new car. 

"I'm still in shock about it because how could someone give it away without anything in return?" she added. "I just want to thank him. It's been the biggest blessing of my life. I hope and pray that someday I can do the same big gesture that he did."
I don't eat yogurt, but, if I did, this would be the brand:

Quote:Earlier this week reports came out that the Warwick School District in Rhode Island was about to implement a policy that students who had outstanding school lunch debt would only be served sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch. According to the district, they had over $77,000 in school lunch debt and were also facing millions of dollars in budget deficits this coming fiscal year. The fact that schools are squeezed for debt, and would have to sink to shaming kids and their families is a sad state of affairs.

After the blowback from this policy decision crossed the country, the Warwick School District announced on Wednesday that they were reversing course on the jelly sandwich policy, telling CBS News that they had collected around $14,000 from parents with outstanding debts.

On Thursday, the Warwick School District got some even better news as the founder and CEO of Chobani Yogurt, Hamdi Ulukaya, announced that his company would be paying off and covering the expenses for these students.

Ulukaya sent out a statement with more information on the need for our country to end food insecurity.

"As a parent, this news breaks my heart. For every child, access to naturally nutritious and delicious food should be a right, not a privilege. When our children are strong, our families are stronger,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani. “And when our families are strong, our communities are stronger. Business can and must do its part to solve the hunger crisis in America and do its part in the communities they call home.” 
Billionaire Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate at Morehouse College's commencement, announced that he was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the nearly 400 graduating seniors of the Class of 2019:

Quote:Billionaire Robert F. Smith, who received an honorary doctorate at Morehouse College’s Sunday morning graduation exercises, had already announced a $1.5 million gift to the school.

But during his remarks in front of the nearly 400 graduating seniors, the technology investor and philanthropist surprised some by announcing that his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire Class of 2019. 

“This is my class,” he said, “and I know my class will pay this forward.”

The announcement came as a surprise to Smith’s staff and to the staff at Morehouse, and elicited the biggest cheers of the morning.

Tonga Releford, whose son Charles Releford III is a member of the Class of 2019, estimates that his student loans are about $70,000.
Lady Gaga announced that she will fully fund classroom project needs in Dayton, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; and Gilroy, California, after the mass shootings there:

Quote:"In this moment, I want to channel my confusion, frustration, and fury into hope. Hope that we are there for each other and for ourselves," she wrote on Facebook.

Gaga, whose real name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, will be working with her Born This Way Foundation and partnering with to fund 14 classroom projects in Dayton, 23 in Gilroy and 125 in El Paso.

She wrote that the classrooms would "now have access to the support they need to inspire their students to work together and bring their dreams to life."

She went on to encourage those struggling in the tragedies' aftermath to ask for help, while also telling people to reach out to their loved ones.

"We cannot turn away from ourselves. We cannot turn away from our loved ones. We need each other. Don't turn away," she wrote.
Wow. That's fantastic. Hopefully it spurs other celebs and stars to do likewise.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
It would be insane how much money I would give away if I was like Bill Gates/Jeff Bezos wealthy. I would literally be giving hundreds of billions away. Nobody I even knew would have to want for much of anything. Certainly not basic necessities, education, health care, etc. The only thing that would stop me is probably some kind of problems gifts of that size would cause. problems maybe? But other than that....yeah. If I had $100 billion...I could give away $99 billion and STILL live like a fucking asshole. And in return everybody can leave me the hell alone and piss off Wink
You'd still live in a solid gold house though, right?
"I'd rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on Earth."--Steve McQueen
Most likely not. Just a nice house. Doesn't have to be big or anything. Just a good house in a good neighborhood. Growing up dirt poor in the rural-est of rural Texas tends to shuffle one's priorities out clearly..
Sometimes, the world is good:

Quote:Nearly 1,000 strangers showed up at El Paso shooting victim Margie Reckard’s funeral after her husband made a public appeal for visitors.

The local news first reported that Reckard’s husband, Antonio “Tony” Basco, worried that no one else would show up to his 63-year-old wife’s funeral because they don’t have family nearby and invited anyone else who wanted to pay their respects to come.

And did they ever.

According to CNN, at least 850 people came to pay their respects, at times forming a line down the street more than a block long. Hundreds more sent flowers, which ended up overflowing the La Paz Faith Memorial and Spiritual Center in El Paso.

“If you ever started to lose faith in humanity, this will bring it back,” CNN’s Gary Tuchman told Anderson Cooper, while reporting from the funeral. “We’re standing outside this large funeral home in El Paso. You saw the inside of this building where there are 500 people inside right now. This is the line, the waiting line people trying to get in. These are members of motorcycle clubs holding American flags. None of these people know Tony personally but in this line you’re looking at, I have counted over 400 people waiting to try to get in.”
The "Muslims for Migrants" campaign has raised over $100,000 this month in bail funds to free detained, migrant parents in the United States:

Quote:American Muslims have raised over $100,000 this month to help migrant parents detained by the U.S. government post bail and reunite with their kids.

The “Muslims for Migrants” campaign has already helped secure the release of six parents ― five fathers and one mother ― according to CelebrateMercy, the faith-based organization managing the campaign. 

“By reuniting these families, we wish to respond to hardship with hope, as our faith instructs us, and send a message of compassion through action,” the organization wrote on the campaign’s fundraising page, which launched Aug. 5.

The six parents, whose names are not being released for their safety, are from countries in Central America, the Caribbean and West Africa, according to CelebrateMercy. The parents had been living in the U.S. for several years before being held in detention centers for periods ranging from two months to four years.  
But Muslims are supposed to be bad guys!

Oh...wait...if these are the people they're helping a lot of people (dumb crackers) they probably still are..
Chef José Andrés continues to one of humankind's finest examples:

Quote:Celebrity Chef José Andrés said on Sunday that he has arrived in the Bahamas and his charity has “kitchens ready to go and shelters mapped out” after Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the region earlier in the morning.

Andrés shared footage of himself in the Bahamas, where he said he was roughly 80 miles away from the eye of the Category 5 storm. 

"Let's pray for everybody in Abaco and Grand Bahamas," Andrés said in the video as winds from the storm raged on in the background.

The National Hurricane Center said that the hurricane transformed into a Category 5 storm shortly before it touched down in the Bahamas on Sunday morning. The center said that the storm had sustained winds of 185 miles per hour with wind gusts surpassing 220 miles per hour. 

Andrés said he and members from his charity, the World Central Kitchen, were “just on the edge” of the storm “but safe” on Sunday morning. He added that he and his team were meeting with local officials in the region “to help coordinate feeding response.”

He also shared a map of the locations he said his team will be working from to help support relief efforts in the region.

“If kitchens are destroyed, we build one and cook in big paella pans!” he added.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newsroom donated its Pulitzer monetary award to the Tree of Life congregation.  The $15,000 donation will be used to help rebuild the Squirrel Hill synagogue:

Quote:Staffers at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette were surprised to learn April 15 that, along with the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news, came a monetary award of $15,000.

The newspaper was honored with a Pulitzer for its coverage of the shooting deaths of 11 people and the wounding of seven others Oct. 27 at the Tree of Life Congregation in Squirrel Hill. The judges called the staff's work "immersive, compassionate coverage ... that captured the anguish and resilience of a community thrust into grief."

But what to do with that $15,000? Staffers felt the horrendous events of that day made it difficult to fully savor one of the country's highest honors for journalistic achievement. And splitting the monetary award among those who had participated in the news coverage just didn’t seem right.

PG Publisher John Robinson Block had a suggestion — donate the prize money to Tree of Life to help it repair its bullet-riddled temple in Squirrel Hill.

On Aug. 29, in the Post-Gazette newsroom on the North Shore, the newspaper’s executive editor, Keith Burris, presented a $15,000 check to Rabbi Jeffrey Myers and Samuel Schachner, president of the congregation.
A Florida boy who was bullied for his homemade t-shirt representing the University of Tennessee Volunteers at his elementary school’s college colors day had his design made official by the university – and the demand crashed the school’s website:

Quote:It all started when Laura Snyder, the unnamed boy’s teacher at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, Florida, posted the story about the Tennessee-obsessed student.

“This particular child came to me and told me that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he didn’t have one. We discussed that he could wear an orange shirt to show his spirit. He told me every day leading up to it that he had an orange shirt that he was going to wear”, Snyder said in her post.

When the day finally came the boy showed up to school wearing his orange shirt with a piece of paper attached to it with his homemade design of the University of Tennessee logo drawn on. 

But when the boy went to lunch, things apparently took a turn for the worse.

“After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on on [sic] his desk and was crying. Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn’t even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED,” according to his teacher.

Taking things into her own hands, Snyder then took to the internet to see if she had any connections to the University of Tennessee to help make the shirt she planned to get him “a little extra special.” 

The post almost immediately went viral among Vols fans and, before Snyder knew it, she was contacted by the University of Tennessee informing her that they wanted to send him and the rest of his classmates a care package in support of her student. 

“I don’t even know where to begin. I am so incredibly amazed at the outpouring of love and support for my student!! So many people have reached out over the last 24 hours and I have truly lost track,” Snyder said in an updated post. Because of this, my student will be receiving an awesome care package from the University of Tennessee tomorrow morning! I’m so excited to share this with him (he doesn’t know about any of this yet)!!” 


Quote:The University of Tennessee decided that they would take the boy’s design and make it an official school shirt with a portion of the proceeds being donated to STOMP Out Bullying, a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to eradicating bullying of all forms.

The shirt design became so popular that the University of Tennessee’s online store crashed yesterday. 

“Thank you Vol Nation! Currently, our website has crashed due to the overwhelming support,” the online store tweeted. “We are working on the problem. Once the server restarts, we anticipate the issue to be resolved. #GoVols #EverywhereUT.” 

Snyder couldn’t believe it herself. 

“When I told [my student] that his design was being made into a real shirt and people wanted to wear it, his jaw dropped,” Snyder said in her latest update. “He had a big smile on his face, walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew today! Thank you to the UT Nation for that!!” 
Hampton University, a historically black institution in Virginia, will open its doors to students from the University of the Bahamas, offering a semester of free room; board and tuition to students affected by Hurricane Dorian:
Oprah Winfrey announced she would donate $1.15 million to help minority students attend college at a luncheon to help North Carolina students:

Quote:Oprah Winfrey stunned a predominantly-female audience in Charlotte on Saturday by announcing she would donate $1.15 million to help minority students attend and succeed in college. 

Winfrey was speaking at the 17th annual Maya Angelou Women Who Lead Luncheon, where the United Negro College Fund was hoping to raise $1 million for North Carolina students. 

After the video screen showed that $1.15 million had been raised, Winfrey announced: "So here's what I'm going to do, I'm going to match that number!" The crowd erupted in cheers, screams of joy and applause. 

The donation doubled the total raised to $2.3 million, vastly exceeding the organization's fundraising goals. 

Winfrey has long campaigned for children's rights and education, having founded in 2007 the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, 

"I'm also here today because I believe in the power of education. There is nothing better than to open the door of opportunity for someone," she said, according to CNN affiliate WSOC-TV. 
Video at the link:

Quote:This Indigenous man stockpiled on Toilet paper and hand sanitizers so he could distribute them to elderly FOR FREE.

He's been out for days at different locations on the streets on Nebraska to ensure the vulnerable people in society have what they need

His name is VERNON
Shirley Raines handed out hamburgers, hand sanitizer and vitamin-C to the homeless of the Los Angeles Skid Row neighborhood:

Video at the link.
Someone on Twitter wondered what victims of domestic abuse can do during shelters-in-place recently, which was a scary thought I hadn't even considered.

I hope we see more of this:

Quote:A Chicago couple is hoping to help victims of domestic violence who need temporary housing during the coronavirus crisis.

Ivan Orlovic and his wife Kelly Mack own a house in the city's Lakeview neighborhood, about a mile from Wrigley Field. For the past year, they've been renting out their first floor unit through Airbnb. The unit was originally booked for March and the rest of the spring season, but with a stay-at-home order in effect in Illinois, that all changed.

"With the coronavirus going on, all of our guests have canceled," said Orlovic. "The place is just sitting there for nothing. So I talked to my wife and said it would be really nice to see if there's someone out there who is in trouble or in an unhealthy situation, who needs help. We should see how we can offer our services."

Orlovic and his wife said they contacted 311 to find local agencies or organizations that could guide them in the right direction. But after making numerous phone calls, they could not get any answers.

"Getting ahold of someone in person is really hard right now. Once you do, you're waiting and waiting," he said.

On Wednesday morning, Orlovic and his wife decided to take matters into their own hands. They posted an ad on Reddit titled "Do you know someone in an abusive relationship?"

"My wife and I have a fully furnished AIrBnB. If you know someone who is trapped in an abusive relationship and needs a few weeks to find their way we will be volunteering it for free. We live in west Lakeview. We’d like to help during this crisis. Message my inbox. Please be safe out there people," the message read.

Within eight hours, Orlovic said two people reached out, to refer individuals who might be in need of temporary housing. They are following up to see if one of the two cases will work out.

"We know its risky, because there's a lot of scammers willing to take advantage of the situation," said Orlovic. "But we are hoping to have a positive outcome and help someone else during this dire time."

The unit is furnished with a full bed, a pull-out sofa, kitchen and bathroom. Orlovic said it also includes a private entrance which provides privacy.

Orlovic and Mack said they will not be charging for the stay, but they may require the individual to sign a contract to legally protect themselves.

"We feel very fortunate in our place in life and just want to help out a little bit," said Orlovic.

Last week, advocates warned that domestic violence victims could be adversely affected by the "stay-at-home" orders.
Probably about time to resurrect this thread to point out how amazing doctors are:
Maya Moore, a six-time all-star of the WNBA, stepped away last season to help overturn the conviction of a man serving a 50-year prison sentence.  

He was released yesterday:

Quote:WNBA star Maya Moore sat out the entire season last year and helped overturn the conviction of Jonathan Irons, who was serving a 50-year prison sentence.

He was finally released today.

(via @MooreMaya)

Video at the link.
(07-02-2020, 05:23 PM)Iron Maiden Wrote: Maya Moore, a six-time all-star of the WNBA, stepped away last season to help overturn the conviction of a man serving a 50-year prison sentence.  

He was released yesterday:

Here's an article:

Quote:Jonathan Irons, whose bid for freedom from a 50-year prison sentence was embraced and pushed by the W.N.B.A. star Maya Moore, walked out of a Missouri penitentiary on Wednesday, nearly four months after a judge overturned his conviction on charges of burglary and assault.

Irons, 40, an African-American man convicted at age 18, was met by Moore, her family, and other supporters who hugged him and cheered outside the Jefferson City Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison off a countryside thruway called No More Victims Road. At one point, Moore sunk to her knees as if in prayerful astonishment.

“I feel like I can live life now,” Irons said. “I’m free, I’m blessed, I just want to live my life worthy of God’s help and influence.” He added: “I thank everybody who supported me — Maya and her family.”

Then Irons took his first steps into liberty as an adult.

It was the culmination of a yearslong effort by his supporters to win his freedom, a campaign that factored in a decision by Moore last year to forego playing in the W.N.B.A. at the peak of her success.

In March, a Missouri judge, Daniel Green, vacated Irons’s 1998 conviction in what police said was a burglary and shooting at the home of Stanley Stotler, then 38, a white homeowner who lived alone in O’Fallon, a roughly 45-minute drive from downtown St. Louis. Both Stotler and his assailant were armed, and Stotler was shot twice.

Irons has insisted that he was not there and had been misidentified.

After hearing testimony and a profession of innocence from Irons, who was shackled in the courtroom, Green cited a series of problems with the way the case had been investigated and tried. He focused on a fingerprint report that had not been turned over to Irons’s defense team. The print, found inside a door that would have been used to leave the house, belonged to neither Irons nor Stotler.

Irons’s lawyers said the fingerprint would have supported their contention that someone else had committed the crime. Green agreed that the print would have given Irons’s defense team “unassailable forensic evidence” to support his plea of innocence.

The case against Irons, Green wrote, was “very weak and circumstantial at best.”

In the three and a half months following Green’s overturning of the conviction, lawyers for Attorney General Eric Schmitt of Missouri launched a pair of failed appeals, then were turned away by the state Supreme Court, which left the matter in the hands of Tim Lohmar, the lead prosecutor in St. Charles County, where the crime occurred. He had to decide whether to retry the case.

On Wednesday afternoon, Lohmar declined a retrial.

Moore’s family met Irons through prison ministry. She and Irons were introduced in 2007, during a penitentiary visit shortly before her freshman year at the University of Connecticut, where she became one of the most heralded women’s players in collegiate history. Moore went on to win four W.N.B.A. championships and a league Most Valuable Player Award for the Minnesota Lynx, but she and Irons formed a close, siblinglike bond.

She did not talk publicly about their friendship until 2016, when she began advocating for changes in law enforcement and the legal system. Following a series of police shootings of unarmed Black men — including the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., near where Irons grew up — and the killing of five Dallas officers by a sniper during a protest of police brutality, Moore helped lead the Lynx in one of the first athlete protests for the Black Lives Matter movement and racial justice.

Moore, now 31, became a strong voice for prosecutorial changes. In early 2019, she stunned the sports world by announcing she would take a timeout from basketball, in part so she could devote more time and energy to helping Irons mount what they thought would be his final appeal. She used her fame to raise awareness and helped fund the hiring of Kent Gipson, a highly regarded defense attorney based in Kansas City, Mo., to handle Irons’s case.

Court records show that Stotler, the victim of the crime, was shot in the right arm and right temple. Weeks later, he was unable to pick out the assailant from among a lineup of six photos. Instructed by a police officer to give his best guess, Stotler pointed to a picture of Irons, which was slightly larger than the others, and to another photo of a different African-American man.

Stotler later identified Irons as the perpetrator while Irons sat in court — once while Irons was dressed in prison garb and another time while the teenager sat next to his defense lawyer. But there was no corroborating witness to the crime, nor were any fingerprints, DNA or blood evidence implicating Irons presented in court.

Prosecutors said Irons, who was 16 at the time the crime took place, admitted to a police officer that he had broken into Stotler’s home, a claim that Irons steadfastly denied. The officer who interrogated him did so alone and did not make a video or audio recording of the conversation. Asked for his interview notes, the officer said he had thrown them away.

Despite his youth, Irons was tried as an adult. On the advice of his public defender, he did not testify. In a county with few minority residents, he was convicted by an all-white jury and given a sentence that made him ineligible for parole until he was about 60 years old.

Throughout his time in prison, Irons — a religious man who educated himself behind bars and earned commendations from prison administration — said he would never agree to parole, because it would require him to admit guilt when he had done nothing wrong.

Moore, an evangelical Christian who has spent much of the last year ministering in Atlanta and connecting with her church and family, continues to say she has no plans to return to basketball anytime soon. In January, she announced she was extending her hiatus for a second year, partly to continue helping Irons. That decision meant she would miss not only a second W.N.B.A. season, now set to start in late July after being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but a chance to win a third straight gold medal in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics, which were moved to 2021.

During a recent telephone interview from prison, Irons said he initially planned to live with Moore’s godparents in Atlanta, across the street from her home. Moore’s godfather, Reggie Williams, had worked in his spare time to investigate Irons’s case and uncovered the key fingerprint evidence.

“I hope to be an agent of positive change,” Irons said in the interview. “I want to encourage and inspire people and share my story with anyone who will listen. I want to be an advocate, part of the conversation going forward, for justice and police reform.”

Asked about Stotler, Irons did not hesitate.

“He was a victim twice,” Irons said. “A victim once by the person who burglarized his home and assaulted him. And he was a victim of the police who manipulated him into identifying me.”

“I would extend my hand in peace to him. I want to dialogue with him. If he wanted to go for dinner, I would start there.”

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