Category Archives: Inspiration

Weatherford police make ailing but courageous youngster ‘one of their family’

BY RICK MAUCH

Wilson Adams isn’t old enough to drive a car. He certainly can’t use a handgun.

But Weatherford Police Chief Lance Arnold said the 11-year-old, who is battling back after having a brain tumor removed, displays the sort of courage and determination every police officer should possess.

So he made Wilson an honorary reserve officer in the Weatherford Police Department (WPD) at the recent meeting of the city council on Oct. 9. He was sworn in by Municipal Court Judge Tim Galbreaith.

20181009_184032

Weatherford Police Chief Lance Arnold makes Wilson Adams, 11, an honorary police officer. Wilson is recovering after having a brain tumor removed. (Rick Mauch Special to the Star-Telegram)

Read more from The Star-Telegram…

IF — Rudyard Kipling’s powerful poem recited by Sir Michael Caine

Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If,” recited by Sir Michael Caine.

Chance Westlake Starbucks meeting spurs friendship, book

By Suzanne Majors Davis, Contributing writer

newsEngin.22650527_DOMINANT

Lane Orsak (left) and David Griffin (Photo: SUZANNE MAJORS DAVIS)

Local writer Lane Orsak is a warm, gregarious guy who knows everyone by name at his favorite Starbucks in the Westbank Market. This camaraderie led him to the topic of his sixth, recently published book, “Dylan’s Divide.”

It’s the story of a character named Dylan Griffith, a Texan who joins the Army to serve his country in Afghanistan and returns questioning the value of his mission and course of his life.

The tale is partially based on experiences of David Griffin, a 29-year-old Marble Falls man who was the roommate of Orsak’s Starbucks barista he identifies only as Mikey. He introduced the two at the coffee house.

Read more from The Statesman…

Letting Go is Not A Weakness

From Jay Shetty…

If you want to change the world, make your bed

Former US Navy Admiral, William H. McRaven, conquers his day with this one small task in the morning.

Pearl Harbor Commemoration ceremony set for Dec. 5

HCN NEWS SERVICES

55e883ab95977.imageTo remember the thousands of Sailors, Marines, Soldiers, and Civilians that died AND survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on December 7, 1941, the Texas Commandery of the Naval Order of the U.S. will hold its 30th annual commemoration ceremony on the deck of the Battleship USS Texas (BB-35) berthed at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site at 11:00 AM, December 5, 2015. The ceremony will last approximately one hour.

The ceremony is open to the public and access to the USS Texas is free for the ceremony. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is located at 3523 Independence Parkway South, La Porte, 77571.

The keynote speaker will be Jill Allen. On December 7, 1941, Jill was 3 years old, and her father, Army Captain Loyd Jost, was a dentist at Tripler Hospital on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Captain Jost and other doctors, dentists, and nurses cared for hundreds of wounded men from the attack damaged ships at Pearl Harbor. Fortunately, none of her family was injured during the attack.

In addition to Texas Commandery Companions, other ceremony participants will be representatives from the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors who will read the names of survivors who have passed in the last two years and will assist in throwing a lei into the water as a memorial to the survivors and those who lost their lives; the Naval Sea Cadets; Sea Scouts; Civil Air Patrol Cadets; the South East Texas Patriot Guard Riders; the Invincible Eagle Band of Liberty, Texas; a Commemorative Air Force flyby (weather permitting); and, a U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard for a gun salute.

The Naval Order of the United States is the oldest American hereditary exclusively naval society. The mission of the Naval Order is to preserve, promote, celebrate, and enjoy our Nation’s sea service history and heritage through commemorating important historical events, supporting the study of naval history, and the preservation of sea service historical artifacts, documents, and monuments.

The early Sunday morning surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy served as the catalyst for the United States entry into World War II in both the Pacific and European theaters. Over 2,300 Americans were killed, and more than 1,200 were wounded when over 350 Japanese planes struck U.S. soil. A quote that is often attributed to Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, but never verified that he either said it or wrote it down, encapsulated the feelings and mood of the American people following the attack: “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

This ceremony pays tribute to both those who perished and those who survived the horrendous attack on Pearl Harbor 74 years ago on December 7, 1941.

Pearland resident survivor of plane crash, graduates from University of St. Thomas

Photo courtesy University of St. Thomas

Photo courtesy University of St. Thomas

Pearland residents Ijeoma (Ije), Zitara (Tara) and Kechi Okwuchi hail from Nigeria. But what brought them to the area is a story that is different than most.

On December 10, 2005 Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145 carrying 108 souls, 60 of them students from Loyola Jesuit College, crashed at Port Harcourt International Airport in Omagwa, Rivers State, Nigeria. The crash eventually claimed every student’s life, save one: Kechi’s.

The accident occurred during approach to Port Harcourt in adverse weather: wind shear, rain and lightning. Unable to make out the unlit runway through the rain, the captain called for a go around (missed approach) at an altitude of about 200 ft., or approximately 120 ft. above the ground. This call was made about 100 ft. below the “decision altitude.”

The missed approach procedure was carried out incorrectly, and the aircraft struck the ground approximately 70 meters to the left of the runway. It collided heavily with a concrete drainage culvert, disintegrated and caught fire.

Kechi, then 16, initially received treatment in Johannesburg, South Africa, but in 2007, Kechi, Tara and Ije came to the United States to take advantage of treatment at Shriner’s Hospital for Children in Galveston while her father stayed in Nigeria to work.

At age 23, Kechi has had many surgeries, and they are ongoing periodically to this day. She lost 60 of her friends and classmates from Loyola. The pain, both physical and emotional, has been tremendous. However, Kechi has never lost her positive attitude about life. “She doesn’t complain about much,” said Ije. “Our faith in God to bring us through this has never waivered.”

Because of the tragedy, Kechi and her family have been some of the fiercest advocates for airline reform in Nigeria.

In 2012, Dana Flight 992 crashed and killed 153 passengers and 10 people on the ground. Kechi made this statement on the IMO, Nigeria State Blog: “Again, more than a hundred lives are lost in the space of a day. Again, families all over Nigeria mourn the loss of loved ones.

“To all who had family or friends in the Dana plane crash, I offer my most sincere condolences as well as my prayers. I pray that the same God who still helps the families of those who were lost in the Sosoliso plane crash of 2005 will also be there for you all in this time of great sorrow, and that He will send his Spirit to minister peace and comfort to you, while giving you the strength to endure.”

Kechi also had the opportunity to speak out at the “60 Angels Symposium” in Abuja last year, making a video in which she spoke directly to the President of Nigeria. The video may be viewed at https://youtu.be/HGRmIQiaxn4.

This year may have brought Kechi one of her biggest triumphs to date. On May 16, she graduated from St. Thomas University in Houston with a degree in Economics and was tapped to give one of the speeches at her Commencement Ceremony at NRG Arena.

“Now, I know that everyone here has their reasons for pursuing a higher education, and I want to tell you mine,” Kechi said as she addressed her fellow graduates. “You see, to me, this degree is not just a degree. It is a gift to the 60 students that died in a plane crash I was in ten years ago. It represents the fulfillment of a promise I made, to those students and to their parents, that I would reach this important milestone on behalf of those they lost.

“As a plane crash survivor, I have been through many trials and have had to overcome numerous obstacles in order to make it this far. I could not be here today without help from God and from those around me. I suffered from third-degree burns over 65% of my body, so the healing process has understandably been a slow one, one that continues even now.

“Because of my accident, I had been out of school for so long, from ages 16 to 20, that by the time I was deemed ready to rejoin the student population, I was overeager and overzealous, despite the fact I wasn’t sure at the time what I wanted to do with my second chance at life. But all that time away from school had caused me to forget the struggles that came along with being a student: the rigors of pulling all-nighters for exams and preparing for presentations, all while trying to be responsible in our personal lives and disciplined in our preparation for the outside world.

“Considering this, I had to reflect on the meaning of the term ‘survivor.’ In my reflection, I realized that the struggles of a student are real, and to overcome them all in order to be here today… that word ‘survivor’ undoubtedly applies to us all.

“It was in this reflection, still, that I learned a very important lesson, and that is the fact that one cannot judge the extent of another person’s struggle based on their own experience.

“While I will not underestimate the difficulties I have faced in my journey toward full recovery, I will instead pray that you all join me in surviving all future challenges with the help of God and those around us.”

Kechi received a standing ovation.

For more information about Kechi, visit https://www.facebook.com/KechiOkwuchiTrust.

Ijeoma put her own story in book form in 2012 and called it, “Refined for Rebirth.” It is available on Amazon.com.

Zitara is currently attending Dawson High School and is, “infinitely proud,” of her sister.

Birthday party arranged by customer surprises H-E-B employee

Pearland resident Becky Carbone does her grocery shopping at the H-E-B Plus! On Pearland Pkwy, just as many others do. One of the things she enjoys is chatting with the employees she meets there.

Two weeks ago, Carbone met a young man that made an impression on her.

“I met an awesome man last week at H-E-B on Pearland Parkway,” said Carbone. “He insisted that he carry my groceries out to my car, even though it was raining.

“On our way out, he told me how much he loves his job! He told me that he can’t wait to come to work, and he said, ‘They even gave me 40 hours this week!’

“He was friendly, outgoing and helpful. As he loaded my groceries, he said, ‘I can’t wait till next Thursday!’ I asked him what was special about next Thursday. He said it was his birthday. He told me he was going to be 41, but everybody says that he looks 31. As I drove away, I couldn’t help but smile when I thought about the man’s joy and love of serving others.

“The man’s name is David, and he is mentally challenged. He has a wonderful attitude and an awesome work ethic!

“After thinking more about it, I called H-E-B to praise David, thank them for hiring him and tell them how much I appreciate all that they do for our community. I also wondered if they would allow a few friends to come by the store on his birthday and have a celebration,” Carbone said.

Management was all for the idea, and so they arranged to bring David McAnespy to the back conference room “for training” at 4:00 on Thursday (Apr. 23).

To McAnespy’s surprise, he was met with balloons, gifts, food, drinks, a cake, a banner and a room full of people, including his many friends, his mother, Patty Shriver and her husband Richard, Sean Murphy and Donna Rizzo from Hometown Bank, who presented David with four Astros tickets, Carbone and Sgt. Roy Castillo from the Pearland Police Dept.

McAnespy was so overwhelmed that he had to sit down.

“This is all for me?” he asked incredulously.

The man who works so hard and enjoys his job so much definitely felt the love that day as people he had never met before surrounded him with gifts and praise.

This is a large part of what makes Pearland so special: its heart.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pearland Police Officers Donate Time for a Child in Need

Back row: Assistant Chief Johnny Spires, Det. Chad Rogers, Sharon Baker, Mike Poulin and Officer Troy Mashue. Second row: Det. Jon Albin and Officer Eric Morton. Third row: the James family and Det. John DeSpain. Front: Jacob Albin (foreman). Not pictured: Sgt. Roy Castillo.

Back row: Assistant Chief Johnny Spires, Det. Chad Rogers, Sharon Baker, Mike Poulin and Officer Troy Mashue. Second row: Det. Jon Albin and Officer Eric Morton. Third row: the James family and Det. John DeSpain. Front: Jacob Albin (foreman). Not pictured: Sgt. Roy Castillo.

Members of the Pearland Police Officer’s Association (PPOA) donated their time on Saturday (March 28) at Back to Basic Child Care to build a wheelchair ramp for a young man who was recently injured in a car accident.

Maxwell James broke his leg in several places and has had to use a wheelchair to get around while he rehabilitates. This has caused problems with his after school care because PISD busses have a tough time navigating the parking lot at Back to Basic, located at 7408 W. Broadway.

Through cooperation between Back to Basic, W. Pearland Tire and Auto and PISD, the ramp, which connects Back to Basic with the larger parking area at the auto shop, will allow Maxwell to easily get on and off the bus. The bus will be able to use W. Pearland Auto’s parking area to drive around the business, preventing the need to back up, which is not allowed under PISD rules for safety reasons.

Sharon Baker, the owner of Back to Basic and Mike Poulin, the Manager of W. Pearland Tire and Auto, joined the James family and the officers from the PPOA as Maxwell tried out the new ramp. He gave it “two thumbs up!”

The Pearland Police Officer’s Association is the union organization for Pearland’s law enforcement. The PPOA is a member of Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA), which “protects the rights and interests of Texas law enforcement officers by providing the best legal assistance in the country, effective lobbying at state and local levels, affordable training and exemplary member support.”

The PPOA is a co-sponsor along with the Pearland Chamber of Commerce for the upcoming City Council Candidate Forum, which will be held on April 15 at 7 p.m. at Berry Miller Junior High School, located at 3301 Manvel Rd.

For more information about the PPOA, visit PearlandPOA.org.

Dawson High Student Council Donates Memorial Stone to Manvel High

5512dd61651a9.imageOn the morning of March 24, members of the Dawson High School Student Council stopped by Manvel High School to donate a memorial stone in honor of Zori Petrova, Josh Rodriguez, and Sara Silvas.

The three students lost their lives in a tragic car accident earlier in the school year. “We truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of the students and staff at Dawson High School, and all of the support that our students continue to receive from the community,” said Charlotte Liptack, principal of Manvel High School. “This stone will allow for these three students to never be forgotten by everyone who walks through the doors of Manvel High School.”

The campus is currently in the process of developing a memorial garden in honor of every Manvel High School student who has lost his or her life. The garden will be funded using donations that have recently been given to the campus in honor the three students, and will include the stone donated by Dawson High School.