On Sunday, July 16th, a 4-year-old boy was standing near the river with his fathers and siblings when he fell in the North Fork Santiam River and was immediately swept along by the river.
Almost immediately, four strangers jumped into action to help the child.
Jason McDade, who had no intention of playing in the water that day, jumped in the moment he realized the child was limply bobbing up and down in the river.
“I see a kid floating on his back, and I thought he was just swimming, enjoying the water, and he was bobbing under the water and whatnot,” Jason said. “I thought he was messing around, playing in the water. I look into the water and he’s way down there, and he wasn’t moving or anything. My mom said, ‘Go get him’ and I took off my shirt and got in.”
By the time McDade reached the 4-year-old, the boy had been carried 15 feet and was under water for at least 20 seconds.
“My eyes were open so I can see where I was going because I was down there for quite a bit. I grabbed him by his harm, and he was limp. I was like, ‘Oh, no.”
After Jason reached the surface, Christian Lozana took the boy to shore. Kelda Klukis, who had seventeen years of experience as a certified nursing assistant, described how tense the situation was.
“Your fight or flight kicks into gear, and you gotta do what you gotta do,” Kelda said. “Paramedics were called. It took almost three minutes for them to get there, and that’s critical time a life has.”
Jason said, “It all happened in like five minutes, it was real fast. I don’t really now what to think. I just did what I thought was right.”
By the time the paramedics arrived, the boy was breathing again thanks to the heroic efforts of the four strangers and taken to the Santiam Hospital, later to be transported to a children’s hospital in Portland.
Imagine being able to simultaneously buy a wedding dress for a fraction of the cost while also helping those in need.
Brides for a Cause, a non-profit in Portland, does exactly that by collecting both new and used wedding dresses and selling them to help local and national charities, especially women-focused organizations that help with serious diseases; self-image and esteem; women in the military; and single, disabled, or abused women.
Erin Scharf, the founder of Brides for a Cause, in an interview with FOX12 stated “We kind of stepped back and thought maybe we could make more of a difference if we were a non-profit ourself, so then we can open up or beneficiaries and be able to impact and provide money to other charities that might need it.”
Scharf described the joy of founding such a unique non-profit. “Just seeing their face light up when they find their dress, I mean that is one of the most rewarding parts of our job.”
Soon-to-be bride, Jessica Taylor, who purchased her dress from Brides for a Cause, said, “The idea that I can get a dress here that kind of started as a donation from somebody who wanted to support this mission and then also my money, buying the dress would also support the mission. It’s a wonderful cycle.”
Since the organization’s founding, it has collected over 8,000 dresses and given over $450,000 to charities across the United States.
Over 800 teenagers have been participating in a work camp and have been working on 104 different projects throughout northern and central Virginia this summer. The Diocese of Arlington is sponsoring this camp.
“I didn’t even think we had people like this in the world anymore,” said Kevin Curtis. Curtis, 59, has been the beneficiary of the teenagers’ hard work. They’ve built him a deck extension and a ramp so he can get out of the house. Due to his disability, he has been unable to leave without being carried by two strong men for the past 15 years.
“It’s so wonderful to have somebody come to you and help you. I’ve never reached out for any kind of help in my life,” Curtis said. He has multiple health issues stemming from a car accident he suffered in 2003. “I crushed every bone in my body, in my chest. Both collarbones were broken. All my ribs were broken. My back was broken. My leg was broken in several places.”
Contractors oversee all the teens’ projects but the teenagers do the majority of the work.
“We have to dig the holes first, put the posts in, then the concrete,” said Monica Castro. It is her third summer participating in the work camp. “All three years I’ve been building decks. So I’ve gotten pretty good at the whole ‘dig the holes, mix the concrete, pour the cement and let it set.’ And then the measurements that come afterwards.”
“I’m so excited! I’ve got a doctor’s appointment…that I won’t miss because I will be able to get out of the house,” said Curtis. He recalled that after he met the kids, he bent his head. “And I prayed. I asked God to bless them all, deeply and fully.”
The deck and ramp were completed in time for Curtis’s appointment.
Mike and Alivia Rochon adopted Jude from an orphanage in Shanghai, China, after being directed to him by a special needs group. As soon as they saw him, they knew he was their son.
Jude was born without a hand and part of his forearm. He knows how to get along impressively without the limb, but certain simple activities require a lot of effort for Jude.
“Some things may take him longer or he does them differently – he figures out a way,” Alivia said. “He’s the most determined kid I have met in my life.”
However, as Jude entered first grade and was bullied for his missing limb, his parents were determined to find a way to help. They started researching prosthetics soon after, and ended up providentially getting connected to Dr. Chi of Oregon Health & Science.
Dr. Chi works as a trauma surgeon in his work week, but in his free time he works to make a difference for those born without limbs by crafting low-cost prosthetics, especially for children.
A prosthetic limb can cost up to $100,000, and many families are forced to figure out how to afford one for their ever-growing child, or if to get one at all. Three years ago, Dr. Chi was challenged by a mother to create a cheaper, more reasonable and efficient alternative for prosthetics, and he took her up on her challenge.
“Children are growing so quickly, so it doesn’t make sense to build them expensive prosthetic devices and replace them every year,” he said.
Dr. Chi figured out how to use the technology of a 3D printer to create cheap prosthetics, costing at most $50. However, the non-profit organization he works with, Enabling the Future, helps decrease even that fee. Free directions for the assemblage of a prosthetic are available on the organization’s website. Through this, anyone with access to a 3D printer has access to a prosthetic.
When Dr. Chi heard of Jude, he was eager to help. He crafted two prosthetics for him pro bono – both in orange and black as a tribute to Jude’s favorite sports team, the Oregon State Beavers. One defaults to an open hand and the other to a closed hand. It will take Jude a while to become fully accustomed to his new hand, but he is already capable of sending his mom emojis from his phone. In eighteen months, Dr. Chi will make Jude a new, bigger set of prosthetics.
With these new hands, Jude will be able to do things with ease that were difficult before, such as writing, playing sports, and riding on his new scooter, which was gifted him by OHSU.
Jude thanked the doctor with an OSU baseball cap and rode off on his scooter, gripping the handlebars with both hands and a new sense of freedom.
The Missouri House of Representatives has extended their support to a pro-life bill that is currently being debated in the state’s Legislature. This bill would help prevent the trafficking of the body parts of aborted children.
The Missouri state government is currently in the midst of a special session called by Governor Eric Greitens to discuss multiple issues involving abortion regulation, conscience rights, and the inspection of abortion clinics. Previous pro-life legislation had been approved by the state’s Senate but failed to address the issue of the handling and disposal of fetal tissue from aborted children. Missouri currently has no laws concerning this issue. The state requires that abortion clinics submit “a representative sample” of fetal tissue to a pathologist after an abortion. This allows Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers to dispose of most of the child’s body following an abortion.
Pro-life advocates are concerned about this legal open door that permits Planned Parenthood to market the body parts of aborted children. In the videos about Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of body parts, which were released by the Center for Medical Progress, Saint Louis, Missouri was singled out as an “untapped supplier” for fetal tissue that includes intact vital organs. The Missouri House voted to close this legal loophole and to adopt a substitute for the previous Senate bill. In this substitute, all fetal tissue removed during an abortion must be submitted to a board-certified pathologist within five days of the procedure. The pathologist must examine the tissue for any evidence of an incomplete abortion then file a tissue report to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
The special session has also been looking into the issues of protections for crisis pregnancy centers and whether or not crisis pregnancy centers should be required to promote abortion as an option for an unintended pregnancy.
Missouri Governor Greitens praised both the House and the Senate for their work during this special session. “We always want to make sure we find a way to protect life.”
Local Oregon teacher, cancer survivor, and mother of two, Rachel Harry recently received the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education, which is given in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. The award recognizes a K-12 educator who has made a noticeable impact on his or her student’s lives.
Harry, who has taught at Hood River Valley High School for thirty-one years and is also an instructor at the Columbia Gorge Community College, received $10,000 to spend on Hood River’s theater program. She was also awarded a free trip to New York to receive her award at the Tony Awards.
Remarkably, Harry had absolutely no idea she had been nominated for the award. Several of her students, both current and former, collaborated in secret with Hood River teacher, Amirra Malak, to prepare and submit her nomination. They surprised her with her achievement at the high school’s annual Evening of Excellence.
In an interview with CBS, Harry explained her passion for teaching: “I love teenagers. I love everything they’re going through, the drama. They come in as these, basically kids, and they leave as adults.” One student, in her testimony, described Harry as “definitely a mother figure. . . She’s created a second home.” Another student stated that Harry “teaches in a way that we don’t feel like we are being patronized or being talked down to.”