The Gannaway brothers, Tim and Jim, are known in Warrenton, OR for their jewelry. They are able to turn stones, opals, sapphires, and diamonds into masterpieces. Since 1973, the twins have owned Gannaway Brothers Jewelers. But what some do not know about the brothers is that they almost became abortion survivors.
They were born in April 1951 in a Catholic hospital in St. Paul Minnesota. Their mother Jan almost had an abortion, but soon decided against it. “I never went through with the abortion because I wanted babies,” she said.
Afterwards, Tim and Jim were born prematurely, with Tim weighing two pounds and 14 ounces; Jim weighing three pounds. As a result the twins remained in incubators from April 30 – July 6. Jan finally picked them up when Jim made it to five pounds.
Growing up was hard for the brothers. As a result of their extended stay– the twins garnered poor eyesight, lung problems, and pneumonia. “I had to feed them 24 hours a day,” Jan said.
After high school, Tim still had trouble reading in school, only reading at a “sixth grade level with 20% comprehension,” he said. After 12 years in Catholic school, the brothers went their separate ways, before seeing each other after one year. Jim attended the University of Minnesota and Tim went to Bemidji State College.
In college, Tim majored in Chemistry “because it was easier than having to read” he said. After enrolling in a jewelry making course, he developed a passion for the craft. Jim also took on an interest, deciding to form a jewelry business with his brother. After the Capital Scare, they could not afford the expensive equipment. They had to solder, form, and bend every component of each piece of jewelry by hand.
Shortly after the 1973 oil embargo hit, they owed over $12,000 to suppliers and had no way to pay it back. Jim found a farming job in Wisconsin and Tim moved to Astoria, OR in response to an ad for a jeweler that his parents, Bob and Jan Gannaway, who was living in Portland, saw in The Oregonian. Jim and his family shortly followed. The brothers worked on shrimp boats to pay back the sums. By 1979 the debt was paid off and the jewelry store was making quite a bit of profit.
Today, Jim and Tim not only successfully run their jewelry store, but alongside their mother — continue to be advocates for pro life.
Jan believes in alternatives to abortion, while simultaneously being empathetic toward women contemplating abortion.
(To women thinking about abortion) “I would have to go with what I think and say you’re making a mistake,” Jan said. “You’re not looking at the whole picture. I understand these thoughts, ‘Now what am I going to do? What am I going to say? What am I gonna do with a baby?’ Yeah, all of that to me is solvable. It can be solved as time goes on. So, no it’s not necessary to ever abort.”
“With a woman, that’s your body and your body changes,” Jan said. “You are changing with it. And the horror of that could be beyond your wildest dream. You don’t even conceive that.”
Tim and Jim offered advice for spouses forcing their loved ones to get abortions.
“Who are we to decide what life is going to be for this child?” Tim asked. “I would also ask, ‘Would you be interested in considering another view?’ And if they said they would, I would explain to them the differences in human morality versus absolute morality. But if they said ‘no,’ there’s nothing to talk about. The best thing to do is try and understand the person you are talking to. If someone is open, show them what a child would look like in the physical world.”
“Life doesn’t come from a mother, it comes from God,” Jim said. “And the new life you created in your own image and likeness.”
Homelessness is no different in other places. There’s simply no places to go. Montreal is changing that. Since January 15 those experiencing homelessness are able to go to the former Royal Victoria Hospital — a site closed off since 2015.
The former hospital became a shelter. Patient rooms in the hospital have been converted into 80-bedrooms which are open to those sleeping in the cold.
The shelter was launched because other homeless shelters faced limited capacity and the struggle to accommodate those sleeping in the below-freezing temperatures.
Unlike the majority of city shelters in Montreal, people will have the option of bringing their pets to this shelter.
Although the shelter will only stay open until April 15, provincial legislators are working with city officials to secure more long-term solutions and permanent housing.
One organization, Old Brewery Mission is also working with city officials to end the homeless dilemma. The organization will also help run the shelter. In the meantime, they continue to lobby the city to create more space.
“All the beds are occupied. And people still come to our doors,” Matthew Pearce, president and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission, told Mother Nature Network. “We’ve been accommodating them — so we don’t turn people away in the cold — on the floor in our cafeteria, for example.”
“This is not dignified… this is not the proper way to host people in an organization that seeks to move people out of homelessness and back into society. It’s not an expression of respect for the individual or a sense that they have a place in society — to tell them they have to go and sleep on the floor.”
Accommodating not only people, but their pets are also another task Old Brewery Mission is working on.
“None of the existing main resources for homelessness are equipped in such a way as to allow pets to come in,” Pearce explains. “These are people who, because of that, are left without an option. At least in the winter, let’s give them an option.”
Overall progress is being made in helping people off the streets.
“We’ve been able to move forward quickly on creating this emergency unit for homeless people,” Montreal mayor Valerie Plante told CBC. “of course, this is for this winter, but what is a positive sign is knowing that our administration wants to find a solution in the long term.”
“No one should be outside right now. Everyone deserves a roof,” she added.
“We’re making some good progress toward eliminating homelessness in Montreal. But the reality is right now, we do need a temporary facility over the course of winter because we don’t want to leave anybody on the streets,” Sam Watts, CEO of the Welcome Hall Mission said.
Not not all heroes wear capes. One man wore a cast. 27-year-old Altavious Powell rescued his 93-year-old neighbor Maria Cabral by using a cast on his broken arm to shatter a window.
Each night Cabral lights a candle in the corner of her home, however, this past Monday the flame intensified and her home ablaze.
Powell, who lives across the street from Cabral, saw smoke and rushed to her home.
Cabral was still trapped inside when Powell arrived. Powell used his cast and a plastic chair to enter her home, WSVN reported.
“I said, ‘Maria, Maria, where you at?’ And she said, ‘I’m right here,’ Powell told WSVN. “She was right here standing on the wall, so I just grabbed her with one arm. She looked up at me and she just said, ‘Thank you.”
Powell and Cabral were both taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center for smoke inhabitation. Cabral is still recovering, but Powell was unharmed from the incident.
Cabral’s son told WSVN: “She wouldn’t have gotten out of the house alive if that man didn’t come here.”
After Powell heard many deemed him a hero, he simply said:
“I’m just glad I was able to do it and I got it over with, and everybody is safe now.”
88-year-old Genevieve Purinton thought she had no family left in the world until she reunited with her biological daughter on December 3.
Purinton resides in a retirement home in North Tampa. Her eight siblings died recently and had no other children after she gave birth at 18 in 1949 and was told the child had died.
Unbeknownst to Purinton, the child was born in Gary, Indiana, given up for adoption and raised in Southern California. It remains unclear as to why doctor’s misinformed Purinton about her daughter’s death.
“I asked to see the baby and they said she died, that’s all I remember,” Purinton told NBC.
Moultroup ended up adopted, but it took an unfortunate turn at the start. At five years, Moultroup’s adoptive father married an abusive step-mother.
For most of her youth, Moultroup hoped her biological mother would come to her rescue. “It’s been a lifetime of wanting this. I remember being five years old, wishing I could find my mother,” Moultroup, who now resides in Vermont, told Daily Mail.
“She would fantasize about her mother rescuing her since she was five years old. It’s truly her life-long dream,” Moultroup’s daughter Bonnie Chase, 50, added.
Moultroup was finally granted her life-long wish, when her daughter gave her an Ancestry DNA kit last Christmas.
“It was just a cool Christmas present and it has completely changed our lives,” Chase said.
The kit led Moultroup to call her cousin. “I said, “Here’s my mother’s given name,” Moultroup told WTNT. “She said, “That’s my aunt and she’s still alive.”
The mother and daughter reunited at the nursing facility earlier this week and cried joyous tears.
“We’re criers. We just cry a lot. There were a lot of tears and there’s been a lot of tears the entire time since then. It’s been really amazing,” Moultroup said.
“We’re thrilled that Ancestry was able to play a part in helping to connect Genevieve Purinton with her daughter after 69 years. We wish her and her family the best, and that this is the only beginning of an enduring relationship,” Jasmin Jimenez, a spokeswoman for Ancestry DNA told NBC.
A Syrian Refugee spent more than eight months living in the transit zone of a Malaysian airport.
37-year-old Hassan Al Kontar is one of many Syrians who fled the country after war in Syria broke out in 2011.
Previously Kontar worked as an insurance marketing manager in the United Arabs Empire from 2006 to 2012.
He left is home in Syria for UAE in 2006 in order to avoid being called into mandatory military service. The Syrian government later refused to renew his passport after war broke out.
“I’m not a killing machine and I don’t want any part in destroying Syria,” he told the BBC.
After his passport expired, Kontar’s work permit also became invalid.
After staying in the UAE, he was arrested and told to leave the country. He flew to Malaysia, one of the few countries where Syrians have a chance of obtaining a visa.
There he was granted a three month tourist visa and immediately began working to save up sums to fly to Ecuador, however; when he showed up for his flight to Ecuador in February, he was turned away at the gate for reasons that remain unclear.
Kontar flew to Cambodia instead, with the attempt to avoid deportation to Syria, but he arrived only to be sent back to the Kuala Lumpur International airport in Malaysia.
He arrived back in Malaysia, but could not enter the country because he outstayed his visa. At that point, Kontar had no other options than to live in the “arrivals” section until a country accepted him.
Kontar spent the next several months documenting his life over video and posting them to Twitter. Some videos consisted of himself tending to his potted plants, talking about his favorite books and films, crocheting stuffed animals, and him using the moving walkways as a treadmill.
He had no access to the outside world and longed for fresh air. Despite the grimness that came with living at the airport, he still was able to eat leftover chicken and rice dinners given by compassionate airline staff and able to shower in the public washrooms.
Among his fan base was a woman named Laurie Cooper from Whistler, British Columbia who came across Kantar’s videos and felt a strong inclination to help the man.
“It all seemed impossible: I’m just a woman who lives in a little log cabin and he was living in an airport,” Cooper told The Guardian.
Cooper, a volunteer for Canada Caring Society partnered with British Columbia Muslim Association to petition for Canada’s immigration minister to admit Kontar as a refugee.
Cooper and the two organizations managed to raise over $20,000 for his sponsorship and found him a full-time job at the city hotel.
Cooper and these Canadian organizations gathered their resources, but among the rallying came a roadblock. Malaysian authorities arrested Kantar for staying in a restricted area without a boarding pass and held him in a detention center and threatened him with deportation.
Panic reigned over Cooper, those working for the organizations, and Kontar.
Cooper and the other Canadians urged Canadian officials to speed up the resettlement process, fearing he would be deported back to Syria.
Miraculously, Kontar was released. He sent a text to Cooper saying he was on his way.
Before Kontar got on the plane to Vancover, he posted a video to Twitter during a layover in Tawian this past Monday. “I could not do it without the help of my family — my Canadian friends and family and my lawyer. Thank you all. I love you all,” he said.
Upon arrival Kontar hugged Cooper while trying to hold back his tears. “I just feel so grateful that things worked out and that he’s here and that he’s safe,” Cooper told reporters at the airport.
“I never doubted for a moment that we would get him here,” she added.
Kontar is now staying at Cooper’s house, enjoying his bed and warm clothes donated by community members. Overall, Cooper is thankful for his safety and glad the process came to an end.
“It was a unique and very difficult situation. We are really grateful to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and citizenship and to the Canadian officals who worked so hard to resolve Hassan’s predicament,” she said in a public statement.
“We are proud that Canada was willing to step up and help Hassan when so many countries around the world are closing their doors to refugees.”