Heroes Of The Week!

Cancer Survivor, 8, Breaks Girl Scout Cookie Record | PEOPLE.com

Move over Wonder Woman, you got company.

Eight year old Lily Bumpus of San Bernardino, California is a cancer survivor . . and if you’re having a meh day, just take that in for a moment. Eight years old and a cancer survivor. That there is perspective on the meh-est of days, don’t you think?

Lily was born with Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. She began receiving adult treatments for the disease at the age of three months old and has been cancer-free for the past seven years,. She’s been a warrior for those who fight this horrible thing ever since her feet started moving forward.

As a Girl Scout, she made it her goal to sell 5,000 boxes of cookies, with a portion of the proceeds going to her fellow warriors. And then things started rolling, and she upped that estimate to 20,000 boxes as a result, which she also scaled with ease. Her final tally? 32,484 boxes of girl scout cookies.

I’m thinking the Justice League best make room for another warrior princess.

Suspected mafia fugitive arrested after police saw his YouTube cooking videos - CNN

Marc Feren Claude Biart is carrying around a severely overcomplicated name, but that’s not why he made my zero list this week. Biart is a good fella . . as in, he’s a goodfella. As in, he takes some nostra with his cosa . . but that’s not why he made my zero list either. Hey, I have a soft spot in my heart for wise guys. No, he’s here on account of having blown his cover whilst on the lam. Boss Biart was hiding out in the Dominican Republic, sipping on gin and juice and living an otherwise clusterfuck-free life . . but that wasn’t enough for the guy. Nope. His love of Italian cuisine inspired him to start his own YouTube cooking channel . . and while he was careful to hide his notorious drug smuggling mug, he wasn’t so careful about his distinctive body art . . and that’s what got him nabbed.

John Gotti called . . he wants his mafia back.

I feel like I’m forgetting someone. Like . . some asshole I was supposed to rail on this week. First name Matt, last name . . whatever derogatory term you feel like using. But I can’t quite place him . . just yet.

Marjy Stagmeier knew she wanted to be a landlord when she was all of eleven years old. The inspiration came to her after being crowned Monopoly champion of her sixth grade class. But really, it’s the game of life where she has done her finest work in the years since.

After graduating from college, the Georgia native began investing in affordable rental communities. She recognized that many of her tenants were in need of social services, so she founded a non-profit that provided on-site services to those families. Her goal was to make sure her tenants could not only afford their monthly rents, but that they would be able to save up enough for the next step: Home ownership.

Even at below market rates, some tenants were struggling to make ends meet. So it was a stroke of good fortune that she crossed paths with Bill and Melinda Gates and Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Evicted. The thing about good luck? You gotta be working your way in its direction in order to cross its path. The meeting was a revelation, inspiring her to build a resource network for these families.

When COVID-19 made matters worse, Stagmeier’s non-profit- Star C- launched a GoFundMe campaign to the tune of $50,000. And got it. Oh . wait . .  there’s more. Cobb County got wind of her efforts and donated $1.5 million of their federal stimulus funding. Other municipalities followed suit and as a result, more than $9 million dollars has been raised. The monies will help more than 3,000 families avoid eviction.

And here we are, with yet another story about how a complicated patchwork of business and government was somehow able to come together and get something done. Something really, really worth getting done. Just like that.

This is what winning looks like.

Remembering Jackie | Baseball Hall of Fame

I am wrapping up this week’s episode with a love letter to a great American hero. A man whose value was felt far beyond the fields of play, and whose courage helped push the civil rights movement to the forefront in this country. Decades before the moon landing, Jackie Roosevelt Robinson took his one giant leap for mankind.

Yesterday marked the seventy-fourth anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier of Major League Baseball. On April 15th, 1947, he stepped onto the hard green grass of Ebbets Field against the Boston Braves. Only 26,623 fans showed up to witness history, but I’m willing to bet millions more would claim to have been there as time went on. Such was the impact Jackie possessed by taking up the challenge handed him by Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey.

Born to a family of sharecroppers, his parents gave him a middle name that paid homage to former President Theodore Roosevelt. And it was as if that simple gesture forged a mystical alignment whose spirit prevailed on our better angels. They raised a son who would take on the centuries old establishment of racial division. Because Jackie Robinson’s boundless courage didn’t simply open up baseball to men of color, it provided a wake up call to the country.

Almost three-quarters of a century removed from that day, it feels as if we have lost our way and in so doing that we’ve done a disservice to the memory of this great man. We have become a tale of two countries, rife with margins whose roots do not give a whit about fairness and equality.

It’s fair to doubt the road ahead, but it would be a mistake to stop walking it. Because adversity doesn’t lessen the impact of our steps, it only serves to strengthen them. Jackie taught us that. He didn’t quit when teams padlocked their gates when his minor league club- the Montreal Royals- came to town. He didn’t give up when his own teammates refused to play with him, or when his own fans screamed hateful epitaphs at him. And when writers referred to this man who served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army as the enemy, he didn’t stop jogging out to second base.

He will always be our true north.



57 thoughts on “Heroes Of The Week!

  1. As expected, another outstanding collection. Lily’s story blew me away. Just another example of how kids can show adults the way. Wow to Marjy. Not only her efforts but the way that it grew! As for Jackie, well … thankful Jackie is Jackie, and he made the world better – but damn, we still have a long way to go. Have a good weekend.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lily is heretofore known on these pages as the Warrior Princess. Her crown is forged from love and compassion.

      Marjy’s business sense is impressive, but what separates her from so many others is her sense of fairness. It’s one thing to win the bottom line, but when you stop to consider the bottom line of others as well? Well . . it’s the kind of difference that leaves the world in a better place.

      We do have a long way to go, and the thing is? Do we ever really get there? Or is the journey about something much more than that? Society will never be perfect, but I think the lesson her is that we persist in the face of adversity. Perfection is not the goal, but making things better one step at a time should be.

      Enjoy your weekend Cincy.


  2. A great way to end your piece. Jackie Robinson takes us back to a time when baseball got something right. One wonders if the current owners of the game have half a clue how to get it right today.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. A great way to end your piece. Jackie Robinson takes us back to a time when baseball got something right. One wonders if the current owners of the game have half a clue how to get it right today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You mean like . . ticket prices that didn’t price many fans out? Doubleheaders for one ticket price? World Series games played . . . during the day? Hitters who bunted and sacrificed themselves in order to win?

      Sounds like it was a great game to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. All great stories, Pilgrim. You have to wonder about the nickname Wise Guys when you forget the body art on camera. I just saw John Gotti walk out the door in disgust. Good on Marjy Stagmeier and Lily Bumpus. Two for the record book. Speaking of records, thanks for the recognition of Jackie. Thanks for being you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Lily is a little rock star. Can you imagine? More than thirty thousand boxes of girl scout cookies? Yeesh!

      Biart is a damn shame to wiseguys everywhere. Proving how truly disorganized crime really has become.

      Rock on #42 . . is something I will echo.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. First of all, that photo of Jackie Robinson made me sigh…bet you heard it there. i LOVE that whole section. Ebbet’s Field. You go where it once stood and you’re met by a plaque…A PLAQUE where so much history took place. Why isn’t it still there? Why can’t we be like the French and Italians who let things stand for centuries. But then you read about a little girl who had cancer who now makes cookies for her brethren to try to ease their ordeal she knows all about and well, suddenly you forget all about that damned ole. plaque. Nice goin’ Marco. Susannah

    Liked by 1 person

  6. B,

    I look forward to these posts all week. You never fail to deliver. Heroes like Lily Bumpus have special DNA. It’s the only explanation why an eight year-old who has battled cancer would choose to give back over just being a kid and having fun. Warrior Princess for shizzle!

    “Chef” Biart is a putz of the tallest order. John Gotti must be rolling in his grave.

    Matt Who?

    What eleven-year-old even knows what a landlord is except to maybe know that’s where mom and dad hand over a cheque once a month? Investing in rental communities right after graduating college? Founding non-profits? Who crosses paths with the Gates and the Desmonds of this world? Definitely more than luck. You said it. Half of any good luck starts with hard work. Wow. Way to go Marjy and all the ones who helped to make 3,000 families feel more secure. Beautiful story.

    As for Jackie Roosevelt Robinson – wow… 74 years. This whole section is your writing as I love it. He made history and barely got the proper kudos deserved to him. And yet, he remained gracious all the way through. He truly should always be your true north,

    And love, LOVE that Tupac and Nikkki Giovanni song. Perfect for this post.


    Liked by 2 people

    • Q

      Lily has that thing, indefinable as it may be . . it’s there for all of us to see and to learn from. And really, the heroes always tend to show up in the simplest places.

      Firstly, the name bothers me. Maybe that’s how they do business in Europe, but he needs a nickname here. . NOT simply twelve different names rolled into one.

      No idea who that guy is . . .

      Marjy has been doing it from the get. Her goal wasn’t singular. It wasn’t just to make money. It was to make money AND to make a difference, a positive difference, in the lives of others. Another lesson.

      Here was a man who served his country and then was subjected to all manner of vitriol by people, most of whom couldn’t hold a candle to him. There was a famous conversation between Branch Rickey, the GM who signed him and Robinson. Jackie has asked Ricky, point blank, if he was looking for someone who was afraid to fight back. To which Rickey replied that he was looking for a ballplayer with guts enough not to.

      It woiks.


      Liked by 1 person

  7. Heroes come in all different sizes, shapes and colours. They stand as examples to how we should be. This was a wonderful example of the exceptional people that live in our world or have passed through. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t think I would like myself very much as a leader, PM. Peeps tend to annoy me, and well . . power doesn’t funny things to a person.

      I’ll be the opposition party leader. Never has enough to win, but definitely a pain in the ass of the ruling party.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Some fab heroes here this week!
    Lily, Marjy and Jackie are all 100% ers.
    The 0 = 0.
    I’m thinking of the Kafka quote from your last post – The meaning of life is that it stops –

    Stop, you meanies! You’re effing life up for the restuvus!

    (Hey, just tiring …. erm trying….some creativity in my comments!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gracias!

      100 percenters, forever.

      Zero, zich, outta heah!

      It’s SO Kafka. I remember getting “high” on Kafka in high school. Just reading him made me feel that way.

      They are, they so are.

      You da best Resa!


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