Good News Monday: Week Five

Good News Monday is an online bulletin of Rotaract Club Madrid Capital whose purpose is sharing good news from Madrid and elsewhere in these challenging times. We have teamed up to share positivity all over our MDIO and beyond. Here are the highlights of the week between April 20 and 26. 

Army Veteran, Aged 99, Raises Almost 10 Million for Health Services by Walking Laps in his Garden

This article was originally published on Aleteia on April 15, 2020.

Written by: Cerith Gardiner

With a walking frame in hand, Captain Tom Moore wants to show appreciation for the medical staff who helped him.

Captain Tom Moore set himself a challenge before turning 100 on April 30. He wanted to thank the NHS medical staff in England for their “magnificent” help after being hospitalized due to a broken hip and skin cancer.The army veteran decided the best way to thank the health service, who as all medical services around the world is dealing daily with thousands of coronavirus patients, was to use his broken hip to the best of its ability. With a walking frame in hand, the nonagenarian set his sights on walking 100 laps of his garden before hitting his impressive 100th birthday.

Each lap is 25 meters – no easy feat for someone who’s had cancer, a broken hip and is about to become a centenarian. Initially when he started his endeavor on April 8, he hoped to raise £1,000 (approximately $1,250) for NHS Charities Together, according to the BBC. So he was staggered when donations quickly reached £500,000 (around $630,000), saying “I thank the British public from the bottom of my heart. Who would have thought that when I set a target of £1,000 a week ago, it would reach £500,000?”

But his efforts have obviously struck a chord with many as those donations have continued to climb to a huge £9 million, and there’s no sign of them slowing down. Walking 10 laps a day, the former army captain is determined to finish his objective of 100 laps in time for his birthday. However, his daughter Hannah shared with The Guardian that he’s likely to achieve his target well ahead of time and stated:

“We always knew that he was this incredible gem of a man, but we never had any idea that his story would capture the hearts of the nation.” With so much money raised, Moore could be forgiven for finishing his 100 laps and putting his feet up. However, he’s already thinking of doing another 100 if it helps raise more money. As he said: “Our brave nurses and doctors are on the frontline in this case … this time our army are in doctors’ and nurses’ uniforms and they’re doing a marvelous job.”

Youth Raised Money for Ice Cream Seller Who was Scammed

This article was originally published on La Prensa Nicaragua on April 14, 2020

Written by Nayel Martinez.

Leopoldo Gutiérrez is an ice cream vendor from the city of Masaya in Nicaragua who was swindled by two men who were driving in a gray car, by paying him with a fake thousand córdobas bill. According to what the man said in a video that was shared on social networks, one of the men went down to buy him five cups of ice cream, which are worth 20 córdobas each.

The man received the return of 900 córdobas and took the 100 córdobas in product. As soon as the gentleman delivered the change, the subject started quickly and left. Then, Gutiérrez suspected that he had been scammed. He was right, the ticket was fake.

Saddened because he had to pay that debt, he took the streets on Monday to beg for money.  However, his story went viral on social networks and several young people decided to start a collection to help him. Leopoldo González lives in a neighborhood of Masaya, he was surprised to see the young woman arrive with the provisions and 14,000 córdobas collected. “The man was happy, he was super grateful to everyone, he even felt bad that he had said wicked to the gentlemen who had done that, and without thinking that the next day everything he had lost would multiply.”

In a video that the young woman recorded, it is observed when the man thanks and even his eyes moisten at the signs of gratitude of the people. “May God bless you greatly,” said the ice cream vendor.

Humans of New York

“I wanted to fly planes on an aircraft carrier, but my father had fought in World War I, and he told me that we’re a family who goes into the army. So I enlisted in the infantry. I wasn’t worried about a thing. I was only eighteen years old. I was too young and too stupid to be afraid. The government sent me to Europe on the Queen Mary. I had two sets of dog tags. One of them designated my religion as ‘Hebrew’, which I planned on throwing away if I got caught. I was sent to the Battle of the Bulge. When I arrived at my post outside of Luxembourg, I learned that all the officers in my company had been killed – except one. He assigned me to be an advance scout. It sounds like a glamorous job, but my orders were to walk in front and draw fire so everyone behind me knew there was danger. At one point a shell exploded over my head and my ear started bleeding. When the medics finished bandaging me up, they told me: ‘That will be enough to get you a Purple Heart!’ But I told them to keep it because I knew they’d notify my parents, and I didn’t want them to worry. After I recovered I was transferred to the Mauthausen concentration camp. I arrived on my 19th birthday. My new job was to guard the liberated prisoners so the Nazis didn’t come back and kill them. These people were so emaciated from being starved to death. I was helping to bury hundreds of bodies per day. But I couldn’t cry. Because I had to be strong for the prisoners. They needed my strength. I would walk around the courtyard at night, and sing a popular Jewish song called ‘My Yiddishe Momme’. It’s a whole long story about missing your mother, but the lyrics didn’t matter. I’d sing it as loud as I could. Because I wanted everyone to know that a Jewish boy was there to protect them.”

Hero of the Week

For 8 years, Loida Muñoz Olmo has been involved in fighting against human trafficking, the slavery of our century. Loida coordinates the Spanish delegation of the A21 organization. In A21, they work to prevent human trafficking and rescue and restore its victims around the world.

What makes you happy?

My family and the little things of everyday life. You live happily when you live gratefully.

Do you have any hobbies?

Learning. I always look for new ways to do it.

A curious fact about you?

I walk unstoppably to put my ideas in order. The best ideas, however, come to me while I’m sleeping.

If you had a microphone that could reach every person on the planet, what message would you send them?

You are not here by chance, if not by causality. When faced with injustice, you only have two options: you can choose to be part of the problem or part of the solution. What you can contribute to bring about change is unique, and you can start today with what is in your hands. What can you do with the freedom you have?

Know a local hero? Share their story with Rotaract Madrid Capital and they will introduce them in their good news Insta stories.

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