RAK #29: Jason Benjamin Josaphat

This one was a three birds with one stone (sort of) RAK. This is the twenty-ninth of 49 random acts of kindness that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I bought a set of three Starbucks cards, taped them to each of these cards and picked three random vehicles in the Safeway parking lot to leave them on. It was so much fun!

This RAK is in honor of Jason Benjamin Josaphat. He was young – only 19 years old – and known for being soft spoken. He called his mother from the bathroom of the club, where he was hiding from the gunman. Friends and family say his laugh was infectious and unforgettable. Rest in peace, Jason.

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RAK #28: Joel Rayon Paniagua

This one was a three birds with one stone (sort of) RAK. This is the twenty-eighth of 49 random acts of kindness that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I bought a set of three Starbucks cards, taped them to each of these cards and picked three random vehicles in the Safeway parking lot to leave them on. It was so much fun!

This RAK is in honor of Joel Rayon Paniagua. He worked in construction and always tried to send money home to his family in Mexico. He was always willing to lend a hand and loved to dance. Rest in peace, Joel.

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RAK #27: Jonathan A. Camuy Vega

This one was a three birds with one stone (sort of) RAK. This is the twenty-seventh of 49 random acts of kindness that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

I bought a set of three Starbucks cards, taped them to each of these cards and picked three random vehicles in the Safeway parking lot to leave them on. It was so much fun!

This RAK is in honor of Jonathan A. Camuy Vega. He was a hero during the massacre – he died trying to save someone else. His body was found covering that of a young mother, Yilmary Rodriguez Sullivan (she will be RAK #41). He worked for La Voz Kids, a show similar to the Voice. Rest in peace, Jonathan.

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In Memorium: Cory Iverson

I have struggled about what to write in this post for the last few days. I can’t do what I’m feeling justice with words, but I’m going to try.

You see, on Friday, a CalFire firefighter died battling the Thomas Fire in Southern California. His name was Cory Iverson and he was 32 years old. He leaves behind a wife, Ashley, a daughter, Evie, and his wife is pregnant with their second little girl. When I heard the news, it was like a kick to the stomach. It literally took my breath away. I called my husband (who had just come off a different fire) to see if it was someone we knew.

This is every fire wife’s worst nightmare. We send them off to far away fires, and most of the time they return home, tired, hungry, and a little smokey. But sometimes (thankfully very rarely) they don’t make it home. We try not to think about it because we’d never make it through the day if we did, but when it happens, we sit in our car and cry silent tears. Tears of sadness for the mother, the sister, the child who’s hero isn’t coming home. Tears of relief that it wasn’t ours this time. We get home and we hug our husband a little bit tighter.

When I married my husband, I was blown away at just how strong the fire family is. It’s not only a brotherhood of firefighters, but a ridiculously strong sisterhood of fire wives. We don’t know the Iversons personally, but I want to help Ashley, yet feel completely helpless. So, I’m asking you, my friends and family, to help me help Ashley. There are two things I need everyone to do:

  1. If you can, please donate to the Go Fund Me set up for Ashley and her family. Large or small, your donation will make a difference!
  2. Please share the Go Fund Me (or this blog post) with your friends.

Many streams make mighty rivers! Thank you so much for your help!

In Memorium: Gertrud Burtscher

Today the world lost a wonderful woman. Gertrud Burtscher was my Oma (that’s German for grandmother). She had battled Alzheimer’s disease for a very long time and the last few years were difficult. We were blessed to be able to visit with her last week to spend some time with her and to say our goodbyes.

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I will forever remember her amazing cooking, her beautiful garden, her love for her family, and her stunning blue eyes. Rest in peace, my Oma.

 

 

 

Mental Health

My heart weighs heavy with thoughts of the terrible mass killing in Las Vegas this week. I’m still working on my 49 Random Acts of Kindness in honor of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shootings.

As always, the media and social media are quick to blame gun laws, asking for stricter rules and changes to the Constitution. It may not be a popular opinion, but I honestly think the issue is not about the number of guns the man owned. Did he need 42 firearms? I don’t think it matters. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols used a rented truck and fertilizer-based bombs to kill 168. More and more we hear about people driving cars into crowds. Heck, September 11th was accomplished with box cutters. My point is that if someone wants to kill, they will find a way.

Yes, I know that access to guns may allow a person to kill more people, but the real issue, in my opinion, is mental health. We don’t do nearly enough in this country to help identify mental health issues and then to take care of them. I’m not talking about lock them away in some institution, but really help. There is still such a stigma around mental health issues that I think people are afraid to seek help. And I think that we are terrible at identifying them until it’s too late. We always hear “they were so nice” or “we never saw it coming”.

I don’t have an easy answer. I’m afraid that by focusing on taking away guns, we won’t focus on the real issue – what it is inside a person that allows them to think “I am going to kill people today”. I just know that all killers have one thing in common – something that is not a weapon. They have some sort of mental issue. And until we take care of that, I’m afraid we’re going to continue to see killings like those in Las Vegas.

 

RAK #26: Javier Jorge-Reyes

This is the twenty-sixth of 49 random acts of kindness (RAKs) that I’m doing to honor the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting. Hopefully each small act puts a little bit of happiness back out in the world!

Clearly, I have a soft spot for HiCaliber – I did a second donation for them. It breaks my heart every week to see the horses that are so sick and terrified, thrown away at auction.

This RAK is in honor of Javier Jorge-Reyes. He had an infectious smile and worked as a supervisor at Gucci. He was a hard worker and a good friend. Rest in peace, Javier.

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