A janitor, Fred Vautour, at Boston College recently finished sending the last of his five children through this prestigious college tuition free. He acted upon the college’s policy that allows employees’ children to attend with free tuition as long as they are accepted into the school.
A story like Mr. Vautour’s reminds us of the power of working hard and smart. In a time when many are looking to get ahead with as little effort as possible, this hardworking man worked nights to provide his children with a high-quality college education.
Imagine the values he has taught his children who watched their father work the night shift cleaning bathrooms, stairs, and classrooms at the very institution they would one day attend. His work ethic was certainly passed onto his children who had to pass the same scrutiny and tough standards of any other prospective student to be accepted.
The American dream is still alive and well although it may look differently than it’s been imagined in the last century. Work, whether it is cleaning bathrooms or designing a building, should be respected. Mr. Vautour worked hard so that his children would have better opportunities if they were willing to work for them. His contribution to society goes beyond his work as a janitor. As a father, he’s passed on the value of sacrifice and work to another generation.
A Michigan children’s hospital uses the Pokémon Go app to encourage patients to get out bed, talk to each other and the staff. Staying in a hospital can be a difficult experience for children who often find themselves isolated and depressed. The app has been a way to break the isolation and bring a smile to the faces of these children.
As Pokémon Go has filled news feeds recently, it has come under scrutiny as many players have used the app irresponsibly. For all of the distracted, wandering Pokémon Go players, there are those like the hospital administration of the Michigan hospital that have recognized the power of a shared gaming experience.
Children congregate at hotspots within the hospital, talk about their favorite Pokémon and take pictures together as they play the game. Laughter and fun are spreading to patients and staff alike.
In this case, an app has been a way to build the social interaction of these young patients. Making friends and feeling like a part of a larger group are important to the mental health of these children that face difficult illness.
Perhaps we need to rethink criticism of an app that can be used to increase physical activity and bring people together through a shared experience. Even then, the hospital reminds Pokémon Go users to act responsibly. When taking pictures, they are reminded to only take pictures of members of their family. That’s the key, play together but play responsibly. A lesson we could all remember more often.
500 African Elephants in Malawi will be getting a second chance when they are moved to a new park over the next few months. They will be moved from Majete Wildlife Reserve and Liwonde National Park, where there are too many of them, to a newly formed park, the Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, where poachers have all but wiped them out. The non-profit organization, African Parks, arranged for the operation which involves capturing elephants and transporting entire herds to the new area. Their work is expected to be done mostly during the dry season when it’s easier to move vehicles around.
Many areas in Africa, such as East Africa, elephants are being slaughtered by poachers at an alarming rate, however other areas, such as around South Africa, are dealing with too many. In natural conditions, elephants roam far and families disperse themselves, but modern times has meant fences and other restrictions which limited their movement. This has resulted in not only severe damage to the ecosystems that the elephants live in, but a struggle for enough food for the elephants themselves as they strip all the trees and other plants. Elephants are hard to relocate to other areas because of their size, so many are culled creating a new set of problems A feasible moving plan, such as the one that Africa Parks has developed, could help the species on a wide scale.
Finding joy and giggles when you’re staying in the hospital is no easy task. A construction foreman, Jason Haney, in North Bend, Indiana, has taken advantage of his unique position to bring a smile to the patients and staff at Memorial Children’s Hospital.
He is working on an expansion of the hospital across the street. When one of his co-workers gave him the idea of hiding Waldo, from “Where’s Waldo?” fame for patients, their families, and staff to find. Now, once someone finds Waldo, it’s called into Haney and he arranges for Waldo to be moved.
While this may seem like a small act of kindness, it’s not exactly an easy one. Haney’s Waldo is no lightweight. He’s eight feet tall and weighs 50 to 60 pounds. Making their way through a construction site with an awkwardly sized cutout is no easy task. Construction workers have come to enjoy the game almost as much as the children it is intended to entertain.
These children may be facing potentially life-threatening illnesses with which Haney is all too familiar. His daughter spent time in a children’s hospital after having a stroke when she was 3-years-old. He understands the emotions that accompany a child and parents in the hospital.
When he found the opportunity to make a small difference in their lives, he took it. An ordinary person taking extraordinary measures is at the heart of selfless service and compassion. As he passes along this gift to the children and their families, he spreads the spirit of fun to staff and co-workers as well.
Former NBA champion and large, opinionated podcaster, Shaquille O’Neal, took the occasion of the recent retirement of five-time NBA champion, Tim Duncan, to opine that perhaps the 6’ 11” and 256 pound San Antonio Spur should not be classified as a “big man.” Standing 7’ 1” and weighing north of 300 pounds during his own playing days makes Shaq one of the few men on the planet able to lob this silly charge.
The rub comes down to whether Duncan was primarily a back-to-the-basket power dunk on the low block or a face-the-basket player who could dribble and create his own shot. Since Duncan did both with equal finesse and strength, plus was a tenacious rebounder and shot blocker (all of these things Shaq well knows), there’s a good chance the really big guy decided to open his mouth just to stir a little controversy.
The bottom line is it doesn’t really matter if one of the biggest, most powerful men in NBA history decides to christen Mr. Duncan with the “big man” blessing or not. Duncan played 19 seasons and found himself hoisting the championship trophy aloft five times, was named league MVP twice, and NBA Finals MVP three times.
With a double-double career average of 19.0 points and almost 11 rebounds per game, it’s doubtful Duncan loses much sleep over whether or not Shaq thinks he’s big enough. He’s big enough for you, old man.
Goettl air conditioning was purchased in 2012 by Ken Goodrich the company literally had no direction. This was more than apparent because the company only earned $11 million dollars in sales that year and this was in of all places Phoenix Arizona, one of the hottest cities in America. Something was definitely wrong. The company lacked any vision, the employees lacked confidence and competitors were threatening legal action against them. After careful consideration of the underlying problems that the company was having and after implementing sweeping changes Ken had his new company on track to earn over $20 million dollars in 2014. This is not the first HVAC company the Ken has owned, in fact, he’s rejuvenated and sold over 20 HVAC companies in his career but Goettl’s problems were a little different it was more about the attitude of the employees rather than the company’s business fundamentals.
Goettl Air Conditioning Provides Tips for Protecting Pets from the Heat
One of the big problems that he addressed was that the Arizona state attorney general accused Goettl of deceptive marketing and sales tactics. This was resolved but before it was cleaned up it led to the departure of over 40 employees, which comprised about one-third of the company’s workforce. After that there were a few additional firings and Ken built a new management team. This led to the termination of Goettl’s President, general manager, service manager, and operations manager along 17 of their accomplices.
He also completely changed and beefed up the company’s customer service and installations. One of the first things he did after taking over operations was to have the installation crews return to more than 300 recently installed units and perform quality control checks. This initially cost the company several hundred thousand dollars but was more than worth it because of the customer loyalty it built along with the satisfied customer advertising it created.
The installation procedures and follow ups are definitely making a difference for the company Ken says. The quality control process now includes that the installers take pictures of each installation and send them to their manager. Ken then personally examines and puts his stamp of approval on every job before it is marked as complete. The new installation changes has completely changed the morale of the installation technicians. Installations that were at one time just OK are now deemed second-to-none. Goettl has also completely overhauled its back end too. They have updated the company’s IT department, human resources, the fleet, and accounting while documenting and revising systems by installing new hardware and software and reestablishing best practices and processes.
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We often hear about people that are lazy. People trying to get ahead without putting in the time and effort it takes to be successful. Recently, a woman noticed that the same man that served her morning coffee was also working at the convenience store on her way home. She posted on Facebook when she learned that walked a total 16 miles to get to work and travel between his two jobs. A local car dealership saw the post and donated a car to the man so that he would have transportation to work.
While this is a story of good will, people noticing a need and reaching out to help, it is also a story about someone willing to work hard to meet their responsibilities. This man took on two jobs, sometimes working 20 hour days, to pay his bills and meet his family obligations. His work ethic and determination are to be applauded.
His hard work was rewarded because someone noticed him. A woman took the time to care and a car dealership stepped forward to help. We could do better at making the best of our situation and meeting our responsibilities without complaint.
Perhaps there is also a lesson to be learned about taking notice of those around us. Would you have realized that the coffee guy was also ringing up your chips in the evening? Taking the time to notice the world and the people in it, like this woman, opens the door to the goodness that lies in human nature.
Jason Haney knows what it feels like to have a child hospitalized. His daughter Taylor had been hospitalized when she was 3 years old. Construction of a new wing at Memorial Hospital near the pediatric units gave him the idea of dressing the plywood up with seasonal characters. The snowman he created was an instant hit with many people complimenting him.
Hanley discussed the reaction to his fellow construction workers. One of his electricians came up with the idea of “Where’s Waldo” as a way to help the kids cope with their hospital stay. Hanley got to work with the help of his daughter to create the plywood character. The kids enjoyed picking out and trying to find Waldo.
Even kids that are confined to their beds can share in the fun of finding Waldo. Hanley describes the feeling he receives when the children notify that they found Waldo as very enjoyable. The hospital staff appreciates Hanley’s and the other construction workers time and effort to make the children’s hospital stay better. Hanley’s support has energized the whole Memorial staff to participate in the search for Waldo.
Hanley plans to include Mininons to the construction site soon as another fun distraction from the pain and worry that usually accompanies a hospital stay. Construction of the new wing expansion is set to be completed in early 2017.
An orphaned elk decided to give firefighters a few kisses while they were fighting a wildfire in Washington. The firefighters were trying to keep the fire contained when the animal walked right up to them. It looks like the elk just wanted to show its appreciation for keeping its home safe as well. Those who live in the area have started calling the elk Buttons. It has also made a home with some of the cows and goats that live in the area.
Members of the fire department were working when the elk headed to the command post. It gently laid its head on the shoulders of some of the workers. The elk didn’t seem bothered by the people who were there. At times, animals that live in the wild don’t take to humans in such a gentle manner. If they don’t run and hide, they often try to become defensive, protecting their surroundings. Several pictures of Buttons were taken with the firefighters. They have been displayed on social media sites in the hopes that those who are hunting in the area will stay clear of the elk and its family. This is an animal that hasn’t caused any trouble and has tried to make the day of the firefighters a little better. It’s a sweet picture that is not often seen in the middle of the woods.
Pokemon Go has been sweeping the nation as a new kind of video game. As an “augmented reality” game, it uses your phone to get you out into the real world. An innovative Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, MI, is using it to get sick children moving around and socializing.
Many of the children at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital have been there for weeks, and nurses report that it is an ongoing challenge to encourage the children to move around since this can significantly improve their moods and illnesses. Now that Pokemon Go has swept the hospital this has ceased to be a problem.
Pokemon Go uses a phone’s GPS system and camera to require players to actually move around in the “real world” to search for Pokemon creatures, collect valuable tools and loot, and virtually battle other nearby players for control over territories in the area.
For children with debilitating illnesses, lengthy stays in the hospital can be depressing. Staff and parents at C.S. Mott have noticed a definite upsurge in morale, and children are helping each other, socializing, and taking pictures with the Pokemon in the lobby that can only be seen on the users phone. As a precautionary measure, and to avoid some problems that other hospitals have reported, C.S. Mott staff put up signs identifying okay areas to play in and included a sign in the lobby to encourage players not to snap photos of others in the area.