A 91-Yr-Old Lost His Wallet in Antarctica and It Was Returned 53 Years Later

Lost Wallet
(YouTube/KETK NBC)

A 91-year-old man lost his wallet, and a kind soul returned it earlier this month. On the surface, maybe not the most newsworthy story. But the man, Paul Grisham, had lost the wallet 53 years ago. In Antarctica.

The former Navy meteorologist was stationed there for 13 months in 1968 and the wallet was recently found after the buildings they lived in were being demolished. So the newly discovered wallet went to the man who carried it decades ago.

“It brought back memories, oh yeah,” Grisham told CNN. The wallet was like a time capsule of life in the 60s, in one of the coldest places on Earth. The wallet was still in pretty good shape, his family said it looked like it could still be used. And honestly, still some good stuff in it.

In addition to his ID, there was also a card with instructions on what to do if there was a nuclear or chemical attack. There were receipts for money orders for poker winnings he sent home and there was a recipe for homemade Kahlua.

Most importantly, the wallet had a beer ration card with 21 punches left. I don’t think there’s an expiration date on that, so hopefully, he gets a few cases of beer on Uncle Sam ASAP.

Grisham remembered his time in “The Ice” fondly and was mostly monitoring the weather to provide updates for incoming air traffic. In the downtime for the nearly 200 men stationed there, it was mostly cards and other indoor activities, as the outdoor temperatures were ghastly.

“It’s almost inconceivable just how cold it is. It’s almost impossible to describe to people who haven’t been there,” he said. “In fact, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out ‘how do we explain this to the folks at home?’ and we just never really came up with a good way to explain it.”

This just goes to show that even if you lost something, you never know, it may just show up someday and remind you of how much hair you used to have back in your day.

‘Get Well’ Messages Pour in for Captain Tom, in the Hospital With COVID

Captain Tom Moore
(Twitter/captaintommoore)

When COVID struck, one WWII vet wanted to help in any way he could, so he started walking in his garden. Like, a lot. So much that it inspired a nation, millions around the globe, and raised a ton of money for healthcare workers. Captain Tom become a legend for his overwhelming fundraising efforts earlier in the pandemic (those four words feel weird to string together, but here we are).

He began fighting COVID by walking in his garden, and now the fight is much more personal, as Captain Tom has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is currently hospitalized in the U.K. His daughter announced the news on social media over the weekend. He had been struggling with pneumonia before his diagnosis and was admitted to the hospital after he had trouble breathing.

Since then, well wishes have been pouring in for the inspirational veteran.

 

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Captain Tom raised more than $40 million for healthcare workers during his fundraising laps around his garden and was knighted by the queen for his efforts.

Gary Sinise Foundation Helps Veteran Who Lost His Leg by Building Adaptive Home

Gary Sinise Foundation Builds Adaptive Home For Wounded Veteran
(YouTube/GarySiniseFoundation)

Gary Sinise is the gift that keeps on giving. Even during a time when the world is full of unknowns, Sinise and his foundation have continued their life-changing efforts in supporting veterans and their families. Most recently, the Gary Sinise Foundation has turned its attention to Staff Sgt. Rico Roman, a veteran who experienced the unthinkable while deployed overseas.

Roman was deployed four times between 2001-2007, but his time with the U.S. Army left him forever changed. During his deployment to Iraq in 2007, an IED hit his team’s Humvee. At that moment, Roman had a terrifying realization.

“I’m not walking out of this,” he thought.

The following three months of Roman’s life were spent in the hospital, undergoing multiple surgical procedures on his legs. The surgeries left him in agonizing pain, and ultimately, Roman decided to have his left leg amputated.

Finally free of the pain that held him back, Roman began to live his life to the fullest again. He played adaptive sports, winning a Paralympic medal and joining the U.S. National Sled Hockey Team.

Though Roman was able to engage in adaptive sports, daily activities within his home were a challenge. His home wasn’t built for someone with a prosthetic leg, and Roman had to find ways to do daily tasks that we take for granted. Fortunately, the Gary Sinise Foundation stepped in, utilizing their R.I.S.E. program which creates smart homes with adaptations for wounded veterans. Best of all, those houses are provided to veterans who need them 100% mortgage-free.

“The Gary Sinise Foundation is honored to provide this deserving hero and his family a specially adapted smart home to ease their daily burdens,” the Foundation said.

Rico Roman now has one less enormous challenge to worry about in his daily life, and it’s all thanks to Sinise’s incredible foundation.

93-Year-Old Veteran Raises Money for Food Bank by Whittling Walking Sticks

93-Year-Old Veteran whittles walking sticks for food pantry donations
(GoFundMe/Walking Stick Grandpa's Food Pantry Fund)

There’s a certain type of person that just never stops. When most of us dream of retirement, we imagine sitting on the beach somewhere or on the porch of a small cottage in the middle of a picturesque field, basically anywhere pretty where we can do as little as possible to make up for decades of work. For some, however, retirement is a time to dedicate yourself to the important things in life. Family, friends, or in 93-year-old John Hobson’s case, helping others.

The retired Air Force colonel has never had an appetite for sitting still, so even in retirement, his days are filled to the brim. One activity that Hobson thoroughly enjoys is whittling walking sticks, a hobby that allowed him to custom-make gifts for several family members last Christmas.

The work is intricate and time-consuming, each beautiful walking stick taking up to a day to perfect. Rather than giving away the 100 walking sticks, he’s whittled this year, Hobson decided to whittle for a cause. Specifically, the Xenia Area Fish Food Pantry.

For a modest $3 each, Hobson quickly sold out of his walking sticks. He raised over $600 from the sales, all of which went to the local food pantry – but Hobson was far from done. He continues to whittle his walking sticks and started a GoFundMe to raise even more money for those who need it. There’s nothing we love more than seeing a worthy GoFundMe blow its initial goal out of the water. Hobson listed his goal as $500, and incredibly, has raised nearly $9,000 so far.

“He’s just a sweet man that gives a darn about other folks who don’t have nothing,” Hobson’s son Mark told WKEF-TV.

College Student Designs Smartwatch App To Stop His Veteran Dad’s PTSD Nightmares

Son invents smartwatch app to stop dad's night terrors
(Youtube/KARE 11)

Dads often pride themselves on being problem-solvers. When something’s wrong, dad-senses start tingling and don’t stop until the problem is fixed – or at least until all of the relatively-safe options have been exhausted. But there comes a time in many kids’ lives where their parents are the ones who need help. And incredibly, the kids whose diapers we changed, the ones who would inexplicably forget where their mouths were when it was time to eat (but could always find it when they got their hands on something inedible), they become the ones who save the day.

Patrick Skluzacek was a goofy, excitable, outgoing dad. But after serving as a convoy commander for the U.S. Army in Iraq, something inside of him fundamentally changed. In 2007, when Patrick returned, he was haunted by his experiences overseas. Most disturbingly, Patrick had terrible nightmares – nightmares that left him flailing and sweating as he re-lived the horrors he’d experienced. He had left Iraq, but Iraq had not left him.

The tortured dad began to use alcohol and pills in an attempt to escape from the war that was ravaging his brain, even after his body was no longer physically fighting. Patrick lost his wife, his home, and the life he worked so hard for.

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Patrick is just one of the 11-30% of veterans who return home suffering from PTSD. Though there are trauma-based approaches to controlling the symptoms, PTSD presents differently in individuals making treatment exceedingly difficult.

In 2015, Patrick’s son Tyler was a senior at his college in Minnesota when he heard about a Washington D.C. hackathon. Each hackathon pulled programmers together to work on finding solutions to specific problems, and coincidentally, this hackathon was geared towards developing apps for people with PTSD. With his dad at the forefront of his mind, Tyler saved up for a ticket and made his way to D.C.

Targeting his dad’s problem, Tyler gathered a team of programmers to create an app to stop night terrors. The smartwatch would track the user’s pulse and movement, and upon receiving data associated with night terrors, the watch would begin to vibrate. According to Tyler, the watch would provide a similar sort of stimulation that a service dog would provide – disrupting the REM cycle and pulling the PTSD sufferer out of their night terror.

The watch would need to provide “just enough stimulus to pull them out of the deep REM cycle and allow the sleep to continue unaffected,” Tyler told NPR.

Once the first prototype was done, Patrick was on board to act as a guinea pig for his son’s invention. Through an enormous amount of tweaking, adjusting both the intensity of the vibrations and the data that caused the watch to respond, Tyler’s app eventually fulfilled its incredible purpose.

“It was night and day when I put that watch on and it started working,” Patrick recalled. The vibrations, he explained, were “little miracles.”

Tyler’s app was purchased by an investor who used it to start NightWare, a company that aims to make the service more widely-available to sufferers of PTSD.

As for Patrick, his life is finally back on track thanks to his son, who is now a graduate student in computer science. He has infrequent nightmares, but his all-consuming night terrors are a thing of the past. The FDA gave its approval for the life-changing app, meaning that before long, many others just like Patrick will finally have their lives back.

Video of Elderly Veteran Struggling To Make Delivery Snaps Community Into Action

Woman helps elderly man delivering groceries
(YouTube/Inside Edition)

Delivery has become an omnipresent aspect of life in quarantine. From groceries to dinner to impulse-purchases that we immediately regret, shopping online has become the default to avoid unnecessary trips to the store. On the flip side, an increase in online shopping means an increase in delivery drivers.

Sure, people making deliveries choose to do so – but often this is a choice of necessity. The unemployment rate rose to 14.7%, meaning that people were scrambling to find work to support their families and themselves. Given the flexibility and increased need for delivery drivers, many turned to the demanding job as a way to make ends meet.

When Jen Weiss from Utah ordered her groceries through DoorDash, she wasn’t home when her order arrived. After seeing footage captured by her doorbell’s video feature, however, she wished she’d been there to help. In the video, Jen watched her delivery driver – an elderly man – struggle and strain to get the groceries to her front door.

With his back hunched, the man took one step after another with great care, putting all of his effort into keeping his footing. He leaned against the wall to stay balanced, putting care into protecting both Jen’s groceries and himself. Finally, the elderly man makes it to the house’s front door at which point he bends down and completes his delivery.

“He was really having a hard time getting up the stairs,” Jen told Inside Edition. “He was losing his balance, unsteady – I felt really bad.”

Jen was heartbroken, realizing the man was likely delivering groceries out of necessity. She shared the footage on social media, where viewers had the same gut-wrenching reaction. The man obviously needed help, but rather than asking for it, he got to work in an attempt to help himself.

Thanks to the power of social media, a relative of the man saw the footage and Jen was finally able to connect with her delivery driver. As it turns out, Jen was absolutely right about the elderly man’s situation – he needed money, and he had no other options.

If the video wasn’t distressing enough, the DoorDash worker’s story added whole new layers of heartbreak. The man she now knew by the name of Larry was a veteran. Larry had a stroke earlier this year and had to learn to walk all over again during his recovery. Now, his roof was falling apart and he needed to find a way to pay for repairs.

After hearing Larry’s story, Jen wasted no time. She set up a fundraiser to help her new friend, determined to allow Larry to leave the temporary job that was physically depleting him. Ultimately, Jen’s compassion did exactly that. She saw someone who needed help, and though she had zero obligation to do so, she stepped up – and so did her community. Thanks to Jen’s kindness and the generosity of strangers, Larry never has to make another delivery again.

“He got enough to fix his roof, and retire,” Jen said.

Leaked Photo From Pentagon Report Shows Silver UFO

UFO Cube
(Debrief Media/UAPTF)

2020 has been a crazy year. We’ve taken a huge step forward in the UFO conversation and it barely made a blip in the news landscape thanks to COVID. In another step forward, Debrief Media released a leaked photo from a Pentagon report showing an “unidentified aerial phenomena,” in this case, what looks to be a silver cube-ish object.

It’s been a fun year for space (one of the few areas 2020 was fun). We had news the Pentagon had recovered off-world vehicles, we had baby yoda in space, NASA landing on an asteroid…all pretty cool. But then the wind left our sails when buzzkill astronomers determined the strange radio bursts from space were not from aliens.

But now there’s yet another notch to the UFO news column, with this report/slash photo leak!

If you aren’t one of the people who read the article, you’ll be quick to say “weather balloon, dummy!” but the reporter ran it by several officials who dismissed the idea, saying the object appeared unaffected by the wind.

The photo was taken by Navy pilots in 2018, and the photo has been widely shared in the intelligence community. This would not be the case if there was an easy and obvious answer to what it is.

The leaked reports from the Pentagon state the task force for Unidentified Aerial Phenomena are investigating the possibility this object (and another from last year) could be operated by ‘intelligences of unknown origin,” according to an intelligence official.

So what’s cool about this? The fact that insiders are describing the report as “shocking” and the fact that the ALIEN explanation is not being taken off the table by credible investigators. So, there is a chance!

Is there a perfectly reasonable and rational explanation, grounded in planet Earth possibilities? Sure, of course, but the fact this is making so much noise and isn’t easily explained is exciting enough for UFO fans as another story adding fuel to the fire that we’re not alone in the universe.

Deployed Dad Wrote Lunchbox Notes for His Daughter, One for Each Day He Was Gone

Deployed Dad Writes Lunchbox Notes for Daughter
(TikTok/kris10grayyy)

Being deployed in itself is one of the bravest and most challenging things a person can do, but when you’re leaving behind your family and young children, it adds a whole new layer of difficulty. When Staff Sgt. Philip Gray found out he was being deployed to Afghanistan, he wanted to make sure his young daughter remembered every single day just how much he loved her.

On October 7, 2019, Staff Sgt. Philip Gray left Fort Drum, New York for his 10-month deployment. His wife Kristen and 7-Year-old daughter Rosie remained at home, but both were constantly at the forefront of his mind. To make sure that Rosie knew her dad was thinking about her, Kristen Gray came up with a brilliant idea.

Before Staff Sgt. Philip Gray left, he wrote 270 notes for his daughter, one for every day he expected to be overseas. Every morning of his deployment, Kristen slipped a single note into Rosie’s lunchbox. Sometimes they were holiday greetings that he couldn’t give in person, others were words of encouragement, but they all had one thing in common – each note was written with a whole lot of love.

“He wrote anything from, ‘You are super girl’ to ‘Smiling makes everyone else smile,'” Kristen Gray told Good Morning America. “He was very big on feel-good words for her and girl power. He made sure to tell her how smart she was, and run fast in P.E. and things that would really make her happy.”

Kristen shared some of the heartwarming notes on TikTok, each one signed “-Dad.”

@kris10grayyyReposting the original this Veterans Day. 🇺🇸 Thank you to @kellyclarksonshow for finding our story and sharing. 🤍 ##militaryfamily ##deployment

♬ original sound – Kristen Gray

Staff Sgt. Philip Gray’s deployment ended up being extended, but fortunately, this loving army dad made it home just days before his daughter’s birthday. Gray’s lunchbox notes helped him show his love for Rosie even from thousands of miles away. And when Rosie found out her dad was home, well, it’s abundantly clear how much she loves him right back.

@kris10grayyyHit 10k followers & wanted to repost my first video that brought me to TikTok. Wait for her reaction. 💙 ##happylife ##positivity ##militaryhomecoming

♬ original sound – Kristen Gray

Deployed Dad Stays In Touch With Kids Through Ring Doorbell

Kids Use Doorbell for Deployed Dad
(YouTube/Ring)

Though there are certainly drawbacks to living in a world run by technology, advancements in technology provide incredible solutions to many of life’s problems. Especially during the era of COVID, technology has allowed us to stay connected when other modes of communication are no longer an option. Even before the pandemic, communication was a challenge for many – particularly members of the Armed Forces deployed overseas. Being deployed means leaving everyone and everything behind in order to bravely defend your country, and sadly, it often means missing out on some of your kids’ milestones and celebrations.

While stationed in the Middle East with Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Infantry Division, Peter DeCrans bought his family a Ring doorbell, assuming it would help him keep his family safe while he was away. For those who don’t know, a Ring doorbell is equipped with a camera that connects to the homeowner’s devices. If someone presses the button on your Ring doorbell while you’re away from home, you can see the camera’s video feed from wherever you are.

This feature brings peace of mind when you’re away from home, knowing that you’re able to keep a virtual eye on your house from anywhere in the world. But for Peter DeCrans, this feature gave him an incredible gift – one that no doorbell in history has been able to provide (a very odd sentence, yes, but they’re just going to keep getting weirder as technology evolves).

Every morning before school, DeCran’s 7-year-old son Zerick and 5-year-old daughter Petroula recorded a video using their Ring doorbell. And throughout his 10-month deployment, Peter DeCrans was able to receive them – over 100 videos of his adorable kids to keep his spirits up and remind him why he’s doing what he’s doing.

The videos became a highly-anticipated part of DeCrans’s days, something he eagerly looked forward to and cherished enormously during his time away from home.

DeCrans told the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, “It was one of the best things ever, a little slice of home. When you’re gone that long, you miss your kids, and you want to see them. It’s a way to feel connected to what’s going on.”

From thousands of miles away, DeCrans got the latest news from his kids. He heard about their days, new dances they learned, skills they proudly mastered – DeCrans was kept up-to-date on it all.

“It was just part of the routine,” he explained. “They’d get dressed for school, and then they’d swing outside and leave a quick message telling me about their day. … One day Zerick had really long hair, and the next day he had a buzz cut because he had a wood tick in his hair, and he didn’t want long hair anymore.”

In return, DeCrans recorded his own videos. Using a Kindle app he read stories to his kids, continuing a beloved activity the family did together while he was home. DeCrans was able to remain a big part of his kids’ lives from thousands of miles away, and it was all thanks to a doorbell.

First Black Woman Brigade Commander Makes History at U.S. Naval Academy

First Black Woman Brigade Commander
(Twitter/NavalAcademy)

Accomplishing your dreams takes a huge amount of courage and determination, but when you’re the first to accomplish that specific goal, it takes a whole new level of drive. Midshipman 1st Class Sydney Barber from Illinois recently made history when she did exactly that – because of her hard work and strong resolve, she’s set to become the first Black female brigade commander.

The brigade commander position, the highest level of leadership within a brigade, is chosen through a rigorous application and interview process. In the 44 years that women have been able to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, only 16 women have been chosen for the prestigious position.

“Earning the title of brigade commander speaks volumes, but the title itself is not nearly as significant as the opportunity it brings to lead a team in doing something I believe will be truly special,” Barber said in a press release. “I am humbled to play a small role in this momentous season of American history.”

Only the top-ranked seniors are considered for the leadership position, and after detailed reviews of their qualifications and records, 30 are chosen for the interview process. Once the candidates are identified, they’re evaluated by the selection board. The brigade striper selection board consists of the deputy commandant of midshipmen, the six battalion officers, the brigade master chief, and the current brigade commander.

After the thorough evaluation and ranking of potential candidates, Barber was the top-ranking midshipman. Her accomplishments both in the U.S. Naval Academy and in her personal life demonstrate her fierce determination to improve the world. Barber coordinated a STEM outreach program to mentor middle school-age girls of color, completed an internship with the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, she even holds the Navy Women’s Varsity Track and Field team record for the outdoor 4x400m relay.

The current brigade commander, Midshipman 1st Class Ryan Chapman, expressed his confidence in Barber. “She is a catalyst for action,” he explained. “A visionary, a listener, a doer, and a person driven by compassion, by faith, by a fierce sense of passion and heart full of love. Sydney is the perfect person to lead the brigade.”

Celebs Like Gary Sinise Surprise Veterans With Campaign To Pay off Mortgages

Twitter campaign helps Veterans United pay off veterans' mortgages
(YouTube/Veterans United Home Loans)

Last Wednesday was Veterans Day, a day to honor and celebrate the veterans that have sacrificed and served to give us the safety and freedom we have in the United States today. Over the years, Gary Sinise has put a huge amount of effort into helping veterans, even starting his own foundation to further the cause. This year, Gary Sinise and several other celebrities have teamed up with Veterans United to give a life-changing gift to 11 heroes across the US.

Veterans United is the largest VA purchase lender, helping veterans and their families become homeowners. This year for Veterans Day, Veterans United started the Make it Mean More campaign, turning “thank you for your service” tweets into generous donations.

The Make it Mean More website explains, “This Veterans Day, every time someone tweeted, “Thank you for your service,” we backed up their words with $25 to pay off Veterans homes.”

Yes, you read that correctly. For every person who tweeted “Thank you for your service,” Veterans United donated $25. I know what you’re thinking – Twitter is flooded with tweets thanking our troops every Veterans Day. There’s no way they donated $25 for every single one. Well, you’d be half wrong. Twitter is indeed full of thanks to veterans, but Veterans United fulfilled their end of the deal. 90,943 tweets and $2,273,575 later, 11 veterans had the remainder of their mortgages paid in full.

If the generous gesture isn’t enough to warm your heart, the video reveals will do the trick. 11 veterans received surprise Zoom calls of a lifetime, as celebrities explained that paying off their home loans was no longer something they had to worry about. As you can imagine, the veterans’ responses to the life-changing news was nothing short of extraordinary.

Gary Sinise revealed the good news to Bill, a Navy veteran and single father of four:

Chef Robert Irvine helped surprise Brandie, a retired Navy hospital corpsman and mother of nine:

”We hope this action says what words will never be able to”

“We all see social media on Veterans Day overflowing with ‘thank you for your service’ posts,” David Whitney, a PR lead for an advertising agency who works with Veterans United told The Dad. “And while those words aren’t without meaning, Veterans United set out to make them mean a whole lot more. Thanks to more than 90,000 ‘Thank yous’ tweeted on Veterans Day this year, Veterans United was able to change the lives of 11 incredible veterans.”

Man Takes His 95-Year-Old WWII Veteran Grandpa on RV Trip of a Lifetime

Grandpa's RV trip of a lifetime
(Instagram/sweetmarybus)

Getting old isn’t for sissies, according to my grandma. Your body doesn’t work quite as well as it used to, kids these days seem to be speaking a completely new language – it’s a lot to handle after a lifetime of effort. For 95-year-old Johnnie Dimas, a WWII veteran, getting older also came with significant loss. He lost his wife of 67 years, and if that wasn’t enough, he lost his full-time caregiver. With his caregiver, Dimas could continue living at home and maintaining a certain level of independence. Without a caregiver, Dimas’s future was unclear.

Losing your independence is one of the most underrated challenges of aging. Dimas and his wife swore they’d never enter a nursing home, but with his wife and caregiver gone, the elderly veteran’s options were limited. Dimas’s grandson, Roger Gilbert, knew his grandpa wouldn’t thrive in an elderly care facility. Gilbert took things into his own hands, moving his grandpa from Illinois to Arizona two years ago to live with him and his wife Jo.

For most, aging means having fewer opportunities to explore and experience all that life has to offer. But for Dimas, thanks to his grandson, his age and circumstances meant that there was no better time than the present. Dimas, or Grandpa Johnnie, had a bucket list of places he hoped to see one day. Last October, Gilbert, Jo, and Grandpa Johnnie, embarked on the RV trip of a lifetime to turn the bucket list into a reality.

 

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A post shared by Sweet Mary Bus (@sweetmarybus)

The trio documented their journey on Instagram, sharing photos of memories that would last a lifetime.

“We know this won’t be easy, but nothing worthwhile is easy. And we know this adventure is worthwhile!” the crew shared in an Instagram post. And with that, they were off.

 

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A post shared by Sweet Mary Bus (@sweetmarybus)

They visited national parks, Mardi Gras festivities, Las Vegas, and several WWII museums along the way. At The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Grandpa Johnnie even met a fellow WWII veteran. Dimas struggled with severe PTSD after enlisting in the U.S, Marines at age 17, and was treated with shock therapy at a V.A. hospital after returning to the United States. Though he went on to live a full life, the trauma of his experience never fully left him.

 

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A post shared by Sweet Mary Bus (@sweetmarybus)

“I think it was deeply cathartic for Grandpa to be able to process everything that had happened at such a young age,” Jo told Good News Network. “It was such an honor to see how people respected his service in WWII, and how fascinated they were by him and his stories. As we walked down the street people would stop Grandpa, shake his hand and thank him for his service. They didn’t often stop long enough to see how Johnnie would always well up with emotion and gratitude for their kind words, it touched him so deeply every time.”

 

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A post shared by Sweet Mary Bus (@sweetmarybus)

On the Sweet Mary Bus named for Grandpa Johnnie’s late wife, the trio explored. They laughed, learned, grew, and filled their days with love. On August 16th of this year, at age 96, Grandpa Johnnie passed away. Rather than spend his final days in a nursing home, Grandpa Johnnie spent them living his life to the fullest. And it was all thanks to Roger, Jo, and his Sweet Mary.

Gary Sinise Foundation Steps up To Help the Grieving Family of a Vietnam Veteran

Gary Sinise Foundation Helps Pay Grieving Family's Bills
(garysinisefoundation.org)

Actor turned philanthropist extraordinaire Gary Sinise has been helping veterans and their families for nearly a decade, since founding The Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011. Sinise’s foundation has provided adapted homes to wounded veterans, served over 400,000 meals to defenders across the country, and even taken over 1,750 children of fallen soldiers to Disney World. Sinise has been recognized for his impact, receiving a Patriot Award among other national honors. And COVID-19 didn’t stop Sinise and his foundation from doing what they do.

One of the most amazing things about Sinise’s work is that his foundation takes the time to assist many individuals and families in need as soon as the need arises. Over the summer, a Vietnam veteran named Henry Cordero passed away. The loss of a family member is devastating enough, but Cordero’s daughter Jennifer Ruelas found herself facing a mountain of her father’s outstanding medical bills and various other expenses.

With nobody else in her family able to help, Ruelas was solely responsible for dealing with the thousands of dollars of debt. While she made enough to cover her own cost of living, Ruelas had no way to add a pile of debt to her own expenses. On top of the heartbreak of losing her father, Ruelas now had to face the strain of paying back bills that weren’t hers with money she didn’t have.

Prior to her father’s death, Ruelas had already taken a financial hit after becoming his caregiver in 2018 when he was diagnosed with dementia.

According to the Gary Sinise Foundation’s article, Ruelas had told her boss, “My father is my life. He is my best friend, so when he is sick, I am going to leave. So if you guys can’t accept that, then I can’t work here.”

Cordero had been incredibly generous throughout his life, helping family members purchase their own homes and volunteering with communities in need. Ruelas wanted to help her dad as he helped her throughout her life and did the best she could with the resources she had. After her dad’s passing, Ruelas and her husband worked to try to pay his remaining bills, but even their combined incomes barely made a dent.

Ruelas contacted the Gary Sinise Foundation after a friend mentioned that they may be able to help. Finally, Ruelas got some desperately-needed relief – the foundation’s H.O.P.E. initiative paid Cordero’s remaining caregiving fees as well as his cremation costs. With a large chunk of debt no longer weighing on her, Ruelas was able to breathe a bit easier – all thanks to Gary Sinise’s life-changing foundation.