Heroes Of The Week!

Imma start the weekend off with the story of a realtor named Linda Brown from Springfield, Missouri whose hobby is making a positive difference in the lives of others. Years back, Linda and her husband organized a nightly drop-in shelter for the city’s homeless; it was a place where they could eat, shower and do laundry, among other things. Of course, peeps like Linda always want more . . to do more . . for others.

That need turned into Eden Village, a village of tiny homes that provide permanent housing to the chronically disabled homeless. After raising almost $5 million in 2018, the Browns built this wonderful place on the grounds of an abandoned mobile home property.

Jonathan Fisher is one of the tenants at Eden Village. He battled substance abuse and lived on the streets for two years before meeting Linda Brown and her husband. He looks back on it as the day that changed his life. He’s clean and sober now, and he’s working full-time doing construction and maintenance on the thirty-one homes in the village.

“In the worst moments of my life, Linda gave me guidance, care and made me feel like I was still worth something.” Fisher says. “She helped me to build a better life . . . even when I was struggling with homelessness and sobriety, she showed me I was valuable and that my potential shouldn’t be wasted. She made me feel like I belonged somewhere,”

As far as hobbies go, Linda Brown is killing it.

Fleury staying with Golden Knights after Lehner signs five-year contract

The Vegas Golden Knights played the role of bush league bozos this week after they traded Marc Andre Fleury to the Chicago Blackhawks. They’re not getting a failing grade for trading their netminder, but for how it went down. The goalie who led them to the Stanley Cup finals a couple years ago found out about the trade on Twitter. Lame, Vegas . . . very lame. Of course, since my Chicago Blackhawks are the lucky recipients of a Stanley Cup caliber goalie as a result, I’m grateful that what plays in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.

Russia shocks U.S. for gymnastics gold after Simone Biles withdraws - The San Diego Union-Tribune

Dear Simone,

You did the right thing, even if there are some who would have us believe you let your team down when you withdrew from the finals. Telling the truth is never defeat, and you proved as much this week. For those who believe differently, I’d like to ask them if they would forego pain medication if they popped their kneecap or pulled a hamstring. Because it’s painfully obvious they don’t believe the brain needs the very same attention as other parts of our body.

All I know is, you’re a champion in every conceivable definition of the word. But as far as I’m concerned, the conversation about Simone Biles begins with all those medals you’ve earned in your young life, but it doesn’t end there. Not even close. Because you are so much more than an Olympic gold medal winner and a World Champion. You are so much more. And you just proved it.

We love you

Truffles the kitty.

When Danielle Crull found a stray kitten meandering through the woods almost four years ago, she had no idea the impact this little lady would have. All this time later, the optician and owner of A Child’s Eyes in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania is well aware of the gift she received in that forest. Because Truffles has become so much more than a favorite child to Danielle; she has also become a valued partner.

Truffles comes to work with her cat mama every day, complete with a loving personality and a cool pair of specs. She has more than twenty pairs, but if you asked her to decide, she’d go with the green ones (pictured above).

“She is literally magical with little kids,” Crull says. “It takes me at least half an hour to try and get to know them so they realize I’m not something to be afraid of, and Truffles will come strutting out from the back as if she knows exactly when I need her help.”

These two are purrfect for each other.

Airport pianist Tonee Valentine gets $60,000 in tips after Instagram influencer Carlos Whittaker records him playing - The Washington Post

There’s a theme we’ve been surfing on at Heroes for the past several weeks. It involves chance meetings, and the contagious spirit borne inside these simple twists of fate. In a world where most of the news deals in strikeouts, it’s nice to read about life serving up a home run ball.

Tonee “Valentine” Carter is a pianist whose fingertips will take you on a ride the likes of which Jeff Bezos can only dream about. He does his thing in Concourse A of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, performing for an international audience for tip money.

A professional musician, Carter knew what his life was going to look like when he was all of six-years old and his father brought him to see the great Ray Charles. He has played in bands and worked on cruise ships, traveling the world and sharing his gift with every corner of it. In 2008, he was diagnosed with severe kidney disease and had to put his traveling shoes on the shelf. Since then he’s been playing the lights out in A-Town, with a tip jar riding his piano for passersby who dig on the vibe he supplies.

Carlos Whittaker says he likes to use his social media following to help other people.

Carlos Whitaker is a motivational speaker who was having the kind of moment that tests his expertise. His speaking engagement had been canceled and he was waiting on his flight back home when Tonee Carter’s music changed the day he was walking through. When Whitaker noticed there was no money in the tip jar, an idea came to him.

He took to Instagram with a couple of videos of Carter doing his thing and then he asked his “Instafamilia” to help give the pianist the biggest tip he’d ever gotten. Within thirty-minutes, $10,000 had been raised and before all was said and done, that biggest tip ever had grown to $61,000.

The good will shown to him left Carter humbled and in tears. After which he said the first thing he was going to do was get an oil change, because . . priorities. And after that? Well, since he claims the money is “not mine”, he’s going to spread the love by paying it forward. By giving, as good as he got.

Atlanta airport pianist earns $83,000 in tips after video shared to Instagram

I have to believe this story is further evidence that humankind’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. It is a sweet counter to all the news that’s print in fits, a chance meeting that lets us know we don’t have to let the purveyors of a skull and cross bones mythology write our epitaph.

Because in between all this living and breathing, we also love and laugh and celebrate and inspire . . . and give. Ours is a currency that will never go out of circulation, ours is a mindset that will never prove obsolete, ours is a spirit that will come for the music.

It will stay for the song.

41 thoughts on “Heroes Of The Week!

  1. Dude. Duuuuuuuude first week back and I find Linda AND Carlos! This right here rocks. I love that they saw potential in others and they passed on that vibe. Carlos be awesome with that tip and love that act of kindness and Carter’s humble and kind nature to pay that forward too. I’m gonna have to look up that motivational speaker! As for Simone Biles, I hear you, a lot of people were angry and some even irate! Talked about her taking someone’s spot and all that, but it just like any other injury … you don’t plan it. But you have to take care of it before it becomes something more severe. As an athlete you set out to conquer the day but sometimes things don’t work out. You got to listen to your body and got to listen to your mind. Being mentally tough is definitely a requirement for athletes but mental health and knowing when the break is coming crucial. Especially in a sport that recently had an abuse scandal like a minute ago. Mental Health is no joke. I think of Robin Williams often when people brush it off. Some people don’t understand, don’t empathize, never been athletes, or had kids that were athletes, thus the anger. But being able to speak out took courage especially when she knew people would be negative. You’re on point if it was a hamstring or fracture people would have seen this much differently. I mean there are athletes that didn’t get vaccinated and got covid and couldn’t compete at the last minute, you don’t see people getting enraged with them over taking someone’s spot for something very preventable. That’s why we have alternates for when injuries happen:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda and Carlos are the new super team in my book, tell you what. And how about Carlos’ followers making it happen to the tune of 61 K? Amazing.

      Simone Biles needs to take care of herself so that she is here for a good, long life. In the past, this stuff was buried, and people were made to suffer in silence. Those days are over, they have to be.

      Nice to see you hermana!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dude it’s good to read your stories again, you’re absolutely right his people were most definitely inspired and kind. Everything added up and every bit helped. 61 K that’s a lot of good hearts. And I’m definitely glad that they’re shining a light and having a voice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Super post, Pilgrim. All the stories were heartwarming except for the hockey deal. But what can we expect from pro sports? People giving to people trumps everything else. I agree Simone showed great courage in stepping aside. Well done.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. B

    What a fabulous Heroes post this is.

    The Linda Browns of this world always blow me away. How beautiful to simply give a space for peeps to eat, shower, do laundry – things we all take for granted. Stopping there would have been worth the mention.

    Turning this shelter into a village – aptly naming it Eden? Now that is just going way over. Having one of her tenants turn his life around because of it gives this endeavour so much more value. Wow.

    Yanno… can we really be surprised the Knights (not so golden, I think) flushed Fleury? After all, they pulled him after making one mistake only to bring him back the next. thant’s not how you do things. They had no faith in him then and to not call him in to let him know, yo, we don’t need you no mo’ but to tweet it? Unbelievable. Better off with the Blackhawks, I say. I’ll be cheering for him. Well, unless he goes against my Habs, but he rest of the time 🙂

    I LOVE how you treated the Simone Biles story. Perfection.

    How adorable is Truffles? What a wonderful partnership between Danielle and her. And anything to make appointments with kids easier is a win!

    Tonee Valentine is one of those musicians who needs to play no matter what. I mean, when you are at the point of playing in an airport, what more proof do you need? And while he was only trying to make a few bucks, talk about a score! Carlos Whitaker knows motivation, doesn’t he? Wow. What a generous thing to do. And it took him just a fraction of his time to show the love.

    That Valentine is not going to keep it all for himself shows that the Universe makes things happen for a reason.

    Your last three paragraphs say it all so beautiful. I’m staying for the song, too.

    Speaking of songs… excellent choice, of course!

    Q

    Liked by 1 person

    • Q

      Firstly, gracias!

      The Linda Browns of the world never stop, not when it comes to giving. They always find new and remarkable solutions to the problems. And in the doing, they give us all something as well. Hope.

      The goalie they had was solid, no doubt about that. But now he IS the guy, which is a whollly different thing. Maybe he’ll work out, but hey, that’s not the point here. The point is, trade Fleury? Fine. But call him at the very least, to let him know. You owe him that much.

      I didn’t want it to be a “news” story, per se.

      Truffles knows exactly what she’s doing too. What a special little lady.

      That is what I love most of all, Carter’s passion for his gift. All that matters to him is playing, that’s it, that’s all that matters. It carries him through every single day, in spite of all the challenges. It’s a beautiful thing.

      And speaking of beautiful things, this motivational speaker just doubled his followers. For all the RIGHT reasons. And he deserves the love for having such an idea.

      No surprise that Valentine wants to give back. None at all. He strikes me as that kind of person.

      Thank you for the love, lovely. As per. 😉

      B

      Liked by 1 person

      • My pleasure.

        The Linda Browns of this world are what keep said world beautiful. They feel compelled and the result is a world a whole lot better for so many.

        You are right, of course. This is business. And they way they conduct business is piss-poor.

        No. And ya done good by the way you presented it.

        Yes she does. Some animals have this super sense.

        Carter’s need to perform outweighs any pains he must surely be feeling. It probably helps him get through the day.

        Good for him – he didn’t do this to gain more followers. He did it to help another human being. Karma can be so delightful.

        No, it is no surprise.

        Always.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love how she looked at an abandoned mobile home park and thought to herself, “Yeah, this is gonna be the place”.

          Business can also be done in such a way that it respects the players and the fans. Oh wait . . . yeah . . that technicolor stuff was bleeding through this comment.

          Simone is such a special young lady. And I’m sorry but, the peeps on NBC who were trying to make it out like the OTHER media has created this massive crush of expectations . . no. They have been selling her round the clock, shilling her talents for every eyeball they can muster.

          Cats know. It’s why they will rule the earth some day.

          Carter says it exactly that way. It gets him through, knowing that his music is going to make someone’s day just a little bit better.

          And no, he was looking to help this man. The rest of it is gravy.

          None. He’s special.

          MUAH!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Well… she IS in real estate which makes her have that eye to see potential.

            Bright and vivid Technicolor.

            She is and yes, the media have put so much pressure on her. Not to mention the friggen judges marking her DOWN because she is too good and way ahead of the others. What? Da? Hell? No wonder her head was no longer in the game.

            They do. And they probably will!

            For sure. Giving to others as he helps himself get through the day.

            So lovely.

            He is.

            MWAH!

            Like

  4. A superb dish of Hero stew this week, Marc. Well done. If it’s a consolation, the Avs ditched their Vezina trophy candidate (although I note Marc Andre won it which makes the dismissal even more egregious!) with a tweet to the fans. Bastards. They got rid of some other great players the same way. WTH?? I hate the expansion not to mention free agency. The NHL is trying to rival the NBA in league douchery. Gonna be a l-o-n-g season, I fear. Have a great weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are thousands of stories of good deeds and good people and yet we rarely hear about them in the regular media. Instead they foster salacious misdeeds and negativity. It is not a diet I prefer. Thank goodness you rescue us every week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love doing this, Pam. And you’re right, the daily diet of news is really bad for our mental health. The thing is, we don’t realize what a toll it takes on our psyches. Good thing I cut the cord with cable. Now I cull my news very carefully.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahh, this is an all day sweet heroes post.
    Linda Brown should be nominated to CNNs Heroes, if she isn’t already. She is what is right and good in America and the world. I’m so impressed.
    LOL… the trade benefitted you. I like you, so ++!
    I’ve been admiring Simone since she first spoke up. Great on that one.
    On with the music. Music is a persevering force in many lives. That’s why I married a musician. I could not imagine life without one. Yes, I tried artists, sculptors, ad infinitum, but musicians won out!
    I would love him if he played in the subway.
    I’m happy for all here!
    Love this!

    OH! You may notice that my LIKE is from Art Gowns, but my comment is from GLAM.
    I’ve logged out of GLAM 10 times.
    Wires have been crossed. I’m hoping this clears up, on its own.
    Biggest WP glitch I’ve encountered in 8 years.
    Means I don’t get this comment back on my Art Gowns annotator. I try to come back to all who are afflicted by this weirdness, and view responses. Not all blogs are affected.
    Makes me sick!
    Learning to live with the sickness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Resa!

      It was a very inspiring episode for me, and I’m glad it also provided that very same inspiration to my readers.

      Linda Brown is proof that humankind is going to be just fine. We will never let the haters win.

      The trade is beautiful for me. And thank you, you are so sweet.

      The way you wrote that . . about music and your man. You are such a beautiful romantic and I’m glad you found your music.

      What? WP is doing strange things. It has booted me out of comments I was right in the middle of. It didn’t let me tweet from reader. But hey, they provide us with Block so we shouldn’t complain right? Not.

      Get down with the sickness, as the song says.

      Like

      • I might make another move to solve this, this aft. I feel somewhat lucky!
        Hopefully, things will even out, and there will be no need for the Happiness Engineers!
        I didn’t even like playing with blocks when I was a child. They were stupid then, and they’re stupid now.
        WP thinks we are all stupid, hence blocks.
        I started with pick up sticks at an early age, by 4 I was into jigsaw puzzles.
        Thank your for all your lovely comments on Shey’s book!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Is there an address on Linda I could sent a gift basket to? When I think of not having a home, I can’t wrap my brain around it…no heat, no water hot or otherwise, my humility does somersaults.

    And the cat who looks like Ruth Ginsburg deserves Dover Sole every day.

    You were right. Great list this week. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m very moved by these heroes Marc. Linda Brown is heaven sent for sure. Her heart must be as big as all outdoors. Simone surely did the right thing. Mental health is is not a joke and I’m glad she recognized the need to listen to her instincts. That she should be criticized in anyway is despicable . Way up in the top of my list are the ladies who stood their ground in deciding not to wear bikinis, that took lots of courage so hats off to them.
    A wonderful. Tribute to these heroes Marc. I couldn’t agree with you more!

    Liked by 1 person

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