Image courtesy of the Cranston Herald
I know, it’s a cheesy Chicago song, but I love cheesy music and theming blogs around them. There is so much bad news out there that I was feeling the need for something inspiring. Turn a TV on any day of the week and your likely to see:
a) a plane crash
b) a beheading
c) a storm of some sort that leaves hundreds of people dead or homeless
d) a multiple murder
e) all of the above
I know that feel-good stories may not garner the ratings or interest that the more controversial news does, however, I don’t live and die by rating points, so I decided that I needed to seek out some of life’s more uplifting moments. I love when ordinary people, like you and me, do EXTRAORDINARY things. People that inspire me, and hopefully inspire you to do more to make the world a better place to be. The one common theme? It’s people that I know.
Back in the fall of 2014, police officer Julie Furgasso, in Cranston, Rhode Island, responded to a call check on Alfred “Fred” Bettencourt. Fred, a then, 88 year old WWII veteran, had to walk to medical appointments and to any other errands. He often, didn’t have enough money for food and other essentials. Taking him under her wing, she enlisted the help of Fire Captain Chuck Pollock (I met Chuck several year’s ago). Together, they connected Fred with services and programs through the Cranston Senior Enrichment Center, including transportation to VA Hospital appointments and other locations around the city and more importantly, showed a senior, and a war hero, some much needed kindness and friendship. They set up a donation drive to help Fred and showed him the ultimate kindness by “adopting” him as family.
But wait, there’s more! Fred never received the medals that he was entitled to as a World War II wounded warrior, including the Purple Heart. His service records were destroyed in a 1973 fire. Chuck and Julie worked tirelessly to get Fred the medals he earned for his service and on March 9, after more than half a century, Fred’s sacrifice was finally honoured! He received: the Purple Heart, Bettencourt was awarded the Bronze Star Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one Bronze Service Star, the Combat Infantryman Badge 1st Award and the Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII. AND – Julie and Chuck have arranged for Fred to take part in an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., in May to visit the World War II Memorial. How amazing is that?
When I read the story in my newsfeed on Facebook, I immediately reached out to Chuck. He’s an amazingly kind and humble person and the first thing he said was “it was the right thing to do.” The next thing he said was that he and Julie didn’t do it for any type of acknowledgement and when I asked if it was ok to write about it, he wanted to make sure that Julie was given the kudos that she deserves. This is a humble guy who just really cares about people. I cried when I read these stories, and I hope that you find them just as touching as I did (just click the links below to read more). Chuck – Julie – you are inspirations to all of us. If you really want to honour Fred, Chuck and Julie, you may not need to do something quite as grand as they did. It can be as simple as giving up your seat on the subway or bus; helping a senior across the street; volunteering at a senior’s home or making time for an older person in your life. Everyone has a story to tell if you take the time to listen.