Heroes Of The Week!

Image result for Felicity Smoak

Another week, another half dozen candidates trimmed from a democratic primary season that is beginning to look a lot like a Poirot whodunit. You can imagine my surprise when I received a call from DNC chairman Tom Perez informing me that I should drop out of the race . . since I wasn’t even aware I was in the race. On the bright side, I nabbed thirty five thousand votes, which placed me fourth.

And now your Heroes . . . .

Image result for Lucky Candy in the Bronx

Do the Math- Remember as a kid when you used to rail on about how useless math was going to be when you got out in the real world? And then you got out  in the real world and there were stock options and mortgage payments and kids allowances to consider? Well, a family owned Bronx deli is actually bringing the fun back to math (for the first time) with a little game they play with their customers. Solve a math problem and you have five seconds to grab anything in the shop . . . free of charge.

Ahmed Alwan has been working at Lucky Candy since he was thirteen years old. Now twenty and studying at Bronx Community College, he wants to be a pharmacist some day. He came up with the math quiz and began broadcasting it on Tik Tok and Instagram, where it has since gone viral. He pays for everything out of his own pocket, which is nothing new to the kid. He’s been known to give his customers food and house supplies on credit, and he’ll bring coffee and muffins to the homeless. His goal is to “inspire others to be kindhearted”.

He’s living his best life, and passing it on.

Image result for australian soldiers care for koalas

Bringing koala to a gray world- The 9th Brigade of the Australian Army has been putting in the yeoman’s work on the other side of the world in fighting the brush fires that have laid waste to New South Wales for more than half a year. With heavy rainfall helping to extinguish the ongoing fires, these peeps ain’t resting just yet.

They have proven every bit as unrelenting as the firestorm they’ve been fighting since last summer: clearing debris, hosting benefits  cleaning up residential properties and just listening to their affected neighbors. And with their ‘down time’, they’ve taken to bottle feeding koalas at the Cleland Wildlife Park in the Adelaide Hills.

No rest for the mighty, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

Image result for leftover super bowl food to charity

A Super save- If there is one thing I truly abhor, it’s the criminally insane amount of food that goes wasted in this country. There’s no excuse for such a thing to happen in such a forward thinking place as ours. According to the US Department of Agriculture, we waste more than $160 billion dollars in food every year.

NFL Green, in partnership with Centerplate and Food Rescue US made certain that the Super Bowl would be different. These organizations took part in a massive collaborative goodwill mission to make sure all that big game haste did not go to waste.  Thanks to these folks, more than 30,000 pounds of unused food was donated to local shelters throughout Southern Florida, helping to feed more than 20,000 people.

There’s a lot of things we may never solve, but this is proof that hunger shouldn’t be one of them.

Game Winner- Inside the time of Howard Cosell and the Wide World of Sports, the Harlem Globetrotters were once considered the Elvis five of the hardwood. And I know I’m dating myself with those references, but hell . .  doing good is a timeless thing, and the Globetrotters showed us they still got plenty of game recently when they helped bring a military mama and her family together. Sergeant DeAndrea Proctor has been deployed in Kuwait for the past seven months. And then an invitation to take a picture with the sultans of slam turned into a family reunion. (Check out the video here).

Still winning after all these years.

Image result for kevin and brooke simmers

There’s no kitschy headline for this last story, because it’s the story of our country’s failed war on drugs. Kevin Simmers knows the brutal truths of this epic fail in the most deeply personal way. A decorated narcotics officer in Hagerstown, Maryland, he once took great pride in locking up drug offenders. “If they just had a pipe—fine,” he said. “At the end of the night, I wanted to have an arrest . . .”

An Air Force veteran and self proclaimed hard ass, Simmers was all in on the Reagan era philosophy of meting out harsh punishment to drug offenders. And then came the day when his teenage daughter Brooke told him she was addicted to opioid pain pills and had taken to selling her body in order to feed her habit. One year and six failed rehabs later, Simmers took a drastic step and had his daughter arrested. It is a decision he still regrets.

On April 4th, 2015, Brooke Simmers was released from incarceration. She was nineteen years old with a new lease on life. The bright light she had shone so brightly while serving her time provided the hope that her father had been seeking since that fateful morning two years earlier. She talked about opening a sober-living house for women and her father made her a deal; on the one year anniversary of her sobriety, they would do just that, together. Sadly, that day would never come because a little more than a week later on April 14th, Brooke’s lifeless body was found in a church parking lot in the backseat of her red Volkswagen Beetle.

For the next few years, Simmers tried turning back time on himself while in the throes of overwhelming grief. He knew his role and he owned it, and if not for his daughter’s dream, he might very well have followed her out of this world. But he stayed put, and in 2018 he opened Brooke’s House- a sober-living house in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Brooke Simmers never got to see the lives that will be impacted in a positive way by the house her father built. But her lesson will prove far mightier than a failed political slogan out of another era. Two simple words that every parent must heed.

Just listen.


47 thoughts on “Heroes Of The Week!

  1. In each one of these stories, there are lessons for all of us, Pilgrim. I’m so glad you take the time to find them and report so that we all can spend a little time thinking of what they should mean to us. I will declare you the “Enrichment Bard.” Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. B,

    You guys and your never-ending primaries and political brouhaha… 😉 Fourth, eh? Who’d a thunk?

    Way to go Ahmed! Now if all the questions are as simple as the one in the video, he’s gonna go broke. Then again, I betcha he makes sure the equations match the peeps, if you know what I mean. And I like how he counts so slow to make sure the peeps pick up their stuff. What a generous kid.

    The Australian 9th is doing such a beautiful thing as well. “Downtime” – right. They don’t DO downtime, do they? How crazy fires burned for half a year. I just can’t wrap my head around it.

    Sorry, but it’s about f*** – no, I won’t curse on such a wonderful post – time something is done with all the mounds of perfectly good food that is trashed daily. I don’t understand how this has not always been a thing. And one step further – oddly shaped fruits and vegetables that “don’t make the cut”? Why? Don’t throw these perfectly good elements into the trash or for a discount to some big-ass companies to turn into juice, sell them at a discount to the less fortunate. This is a subject I could rant on but will hold back.

    Omigosh! Date yourself ANY time! The Globetrotters are STILL doing beautiful things so why the hell not? That video was priceless. I’m all choked up, now.

    With the first sentence of your last story, I felt my heart sink. I just knew there would be no happy ending for the Simmers. There is no way in hell he didn’t think he was doing the right thing for Brooke. I cannot believe it took her all of ten days to succumb. Such a tragedy. I am sure it brings only a little relief to his grief to have opened Brooke’s House to help other families in the same situation.

    Just listen indeed. A beauty of a post, B.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Q,

      The political races are the only things these candidates are good at. Sad to say.

      He did start a Go Fund Me page which has become pretty popular since word got out about his math game.

      These fires are a very ominous sign of things to come. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t know that I am. And no, those peeps have zero down time.

      We’ve talked about the mindless, needless waste many times. It makes my blood boil to think that a country with so many avenues at its disposal allows for this much food waste on an annual basis. It is criminal.

      It is a beauty of a video, and I was super impressed at how the organization is always going above and beyond for military families. And hey . . being a person of a certain age ain’t all bad.

      Stories like Brooke are happening every day. It’s heart wrenching and frightening and maddening. And yes, the pull is so great that death almost seems like a better alternative to these addicts than the endless merry go round.

      Thank you Q.


      Liked by 2 people

      • Seriously. Ugh.

        Good for him because at the rate he’s going….

        They are a sign. Think biblical… once upon a time a flood was had to get rid of all the crap… just sayin’ – where once were floods, now there’s fire.

        Yes, we have. It makes me absolutely crazy. It is criminal.

        No, it’s not all bad at all… Hell, you never know what beautiful things happen in your fifties. And the way they surprised her husband and child? Wonderful.

        Yes. It is heart wrenching. I think they (the addicts) actually believe it is a better alternative. Living is especially hard when you are addicted.


        Liked by 1 person

        • It IS seriously ugh!

          Yeah, when I heard how the game worked, I thought to myself that he was working there gratis.

          Now there’s fire. And all those science naysayers ain’t helping things one bit.

          I hate it. From schools to sporting events to concerts to every other venue where food goes untouched . . it makes no sense that there isn’t a middleman, so to speak.

          The fitties is what I call em. As in running, gunning and sometimes even stunning.

          I loved how they snuck mama in there at the end and how the little girl started looking around after seeing the pic.

          A friend of mine opened up a few houses, named them after her daughter who was an addict. I helped them started a FB page once upon a time where they could share their stories. God, it really is a one day at a time enterprise.

          And always

          Liked by 1 person

          • It is.

            He was probably close to that!

            No, they are not. Let us hope we all smarten up before something biblical DOES happen – and if it does, that I am no longer part of this here realm.

            Me too. It makes zero sense – from grocery stores to events and everything in between.

            The Fitties are great. Absolutely stunning while running and gunning 😉

            Yes! She was no fool… she figured out right quick Mama had to be there somewhere.

            Wow. To have a friend in that position. Good for you on your part in helping to get things going. One day at a time is the fastest you can go.

            And then some.

            Liked by 1 person

          • The kid should run for office. I know we always say that when someone does good and smart things to the benefit of others. But hell . it’s because we need em in office!

            I am gonna look for the most temperate area, pack up with guns, ammo, bourbon and other supplies . . and pit bulls too. Wanna come?

            There is no excuse for wasted food in this country. Not ever. When you have so many high end grocers who supposedly care about local farms and sustainability . . are you kidding me?

            Alls I gotta say is, I am really glad I played sports when I was younger. Because my ability to kick it into another gear is still there.

            Yes she did. I love her little expression.

            So sad the stories. Heartbreaking. I remember one of the girls, it haunts me because she was twenty and a hell of a writer. Such a sweet young lady. They found her dead in a convenience store parking lot. That’s why I don’t believe in meting out punishment to these people. They are already in hell.


            Liked by 1 person

          • I dunno that he’d make it – way too generous 😉 Could you imagine?

            I am IN!

            Not yours and not mine. The grocers don’t give a rat’s ass about sustainability. All they care about is the stupid-ass consumers who will refuse to buy a crooked carrot.

            Same here!

            She was adorable. How hard it must be on families to have one parent away like that. I could never be with a military man.

            How awful. To know someone who has succumbed – I can’t even imagine. Mick knew so many back in his hell-filled days.


            Liked by 1 person

          • And he uses his smarts for the benefit of others . . yeah, he probably doesn’t have a chance.

            Now I want a world altering event to take place . . .

            This is all too honest a statement about these grocers. Everything is a sell, even their ‘ethical responsibilities’ to mother earth.


            They make it work, God bless them.

            It’s the worst kind of hell. And then we treat them like criminals. As if anyone WISHES to live that way.


            Liked by 1 person

          • Nope. Must be self-centred for that job….

            So do I…

            It is. We had for the blip of a second, a section in the grocery store for “odd-shaped” veggies… I want a larger section. Better yet, I will go to the farmer’s stands when I can. Better yet, maybe I’ll get my own garden going!


            They do. But not all are successful.

            God-almighty… no one ever chooses to live like that. What starts off as a fun experience (they think) turns into the worst nightmare


            Liked by 1 person

          • And they have TOO many of these peeps in office as it is.

            See? Same page.

            Better yet? Meet Q. Now get to growing some good stuff . . sans the overpriced middle peeps.


            This is sadly true.

            It becomes hell on earth before too long, and for too many of them, there is no escaping it.



  3. You’re killin me. The koalas for starters, those grown, burly men showing their soft side after their feats of manliness really plucks my heart strings. The photo is priceless.

    Brooke Simmers never got to see the lives that will be impacted in a positive way by the house her father built. But her lesson will prove far mightier than a failed political slogan out of another era. Two simple words that every parent must heed.

    Just listen. You listen…this was lovely…so well written as if your heart held the pen.

    And as far as this New Yorker goes, I just may hope the number 1 and pay Ahmed a visit.

    I’ll do the math.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. I M
    Glad I
    Read this post!
    A lot of good stuff , but esp the Brooke Summers’ story.
    The dad learned a huge lesson but others in law enforcement need updated training!
    We have a local police force in my area that I plan on writing too – they are known for their harshness and even brag about it with the old school and erroneous belief that harshness and tougher punishment will help deter behavior and reduce crime! Omg – our country needs an overhaul with food wasting and with the ignorance of those law officers who feel that making the arrest and being mean is what helps offenders — ugh

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Prior.

      Yes, that was such a heartbreaking story to read, but the father’s response to it . . that awes me. How people can be THAT strong to not only keep going but to change lives for the positive.

      Liked by 1 person

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