BE INSPIRED

This blog is all about phenomenal people who never give up and are truly inspirational. I would like to introduce a young man by the name of Walter Carr, 5 brothers who fulfilled their bucket list goals, and the life of Nelson Mandela. Their stories touched my soul. Read more below.

Walter Carr sent his friends a flurry of increasingly pleading text messages. The college student’s car had broken down, and he was supposed to begin his new job as a mover the next morning — at a home 20 miles from his apartment near Birmingham, AL. He struck out finding a ride, but he wasn’t about to miss his first day of work at a moving company called Bellhops. Carr, 20, needed the work. He mulled his predicament and concluded there was only one option: He would walk it. “I sat there and I thought, ‘How can I get to my job? What streets would I walk through? How long would take me to get there?” he said in an interview with The Washington Post.

He searched the route from his apartment in Homewood to the house in Pelham, and according to Google Maps, it would take eight hours on foot. As a former high school cross-country runner, he knew he could do it in less. Carr ate a meal of bologna and eggs at 8 p.m. and took a nap. At midnight, he woke up, grabbed his wallet, phone, a baseball and a kitchen knife to protect him from stray dogs. He headed out into the dark.“I’ve always been that person who figured things out on my own,” Carr said. “I went out walking.” A few hours in, he did come across a dog. He threw the ball. The dog ran after it. Carr went the other way.On the trek, Carr had the route mapped out in his mind. He jogged some. He walked a lot. When his legs began to burn, he stayed focused on his goal.“I was just thinking about my route, how I was going to get there in the time frame I needed to,” Carr said.

At 2 a.m. he passed the city of Hoover. Around 4 a.m. he reached Pelham, but he still had hours more to walk to get to the house. He was about to enter the highway ramp, the most direct route to the job. He sat down in a bank parking lot.“I decided I’d rest for a minute because my legs were killing me,” he said. A police car pulled up and the officer, Mark Knighten, asked if Carr was all right. Carr said yes, and explained what he was doing. He stated, “This is crazy but I’m actually heading to work. It’s my first day in the job,” The officer asked him when he last ate, and Carr told him about the bologna and eggs. Knighten offered to take him to get something more in his stomach. He said, "I just paid my rent. I have no cash on me at all,” Carr recalled. Knighten told him to get in the car, the meal was on him. They went to Whataburger with some other officers, and Carr ordered a chicken biscuit. At the urging of the officers, he ordered another one. Knighten drove Carr a few miles toward his job and dropped him at a church, saying it was a safe place to be. Knighten had to leave because of a shift change, but he said another officer would be by in a few hours to check on Carr, and perhaps give him a ride to work. But after Carr got to the church, he became concerned he might not make it on time. So around 5:30, he started walking again. Carr was walking on a two-lane road, and sure enough, a police officer came up and said he’d heard about him. That officer, Scott Duffey, drove Carr the last four miles to his job.

At 6:30 a.m., Duffey walked up to the house where Carr was supposed to meet the other movers for the job, and explained to homeowner Jenny Lamey what had happened. The officer told Jenny, "I’ve got this nice kid in my car. He’s a great kid, he’s been walking all night to get to your house,” Lamey said. “That’s when the tears started coming. I just started crying.” Carr came to the door and Lamey offered him a bed to take a nap, and some food. Carr replied, “No, I’d rather get started,” Lamey said.

The other two movers from Bellhops showed up shortly after, and the three of them moved the Lameys across town to their new house. Everyone got along as if they were old friends. After the move, Carr played basketball with the Lameys’ sons, ages 11, 13 and 16. Lamey said she has no idea how he had the energy for it. “I can’t imagine what kept him going,” Lamey said. “What came over him physically was supernatural. I think God helped him through.” Lamey said this is just the beginning of what she hopes is a long friendship between Carr and her family. “He’s such a humble, kind-hearted person,” she said. “He’s really incredible. He said it was the way he was raised. Nothing is impossible unless you say it’s impossible.”

One of Carr’s new co-workers gave him a ride home.The following day, Lamey called Carr’s supervisor, and the two cried together on the phone about what Carr had done. Lamey posted the story on Facebook, and it took off. She started a GoFundMe with a goal of $2,000 to help him with his car troubles. As of Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $37,000. On Sunday, Carr’s boss, Bellhops chief executive Luke Marklin, called to thank him. Marklin said he wanted to meet him in person to show his appreciation. They agreed to meet Monday at a coffee shop near Carr’s apartment.

Carr walked the 20 minutes there. When they met, Marklin gave him his own car, a 2014 Ford Escape. He said it would be in better hands with Carr than with him.“We set a really high bar for heart and grit and … you just blew it away,” Marklin told him. Carr has gotten a lot of attention in the past few days for his almost 20-mile trek. He said it’s been surprising, but he feels good sharing it. “The lesson of my story is it’s great to reach people, I always wanted to inspire people,” he said. “Don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do something. It’s up to us whether we can.”

 

When Vince Strain joined the Navy Reserves in May 1963, he had no idea he was starting a brotherly tradition. Vince was 17 and had to get special permission from his parents in order to enlist in the Navy Reserves. He went on active duty in September 1965. "I went down to Vietnam on two different occasions," he said. His younger brother Howard Strain enlisted in the Navy right out of high school, and also was deployed to Vietnam. He spent about a year in Cameron Bay as an airman, and received the Bronze Star Medal for his service. But the Strain brothers wouldn't stop there.

The next brother Charlie also enlisted in the Navy. So did the next brother Wally. And so did the youngest brother, John. By the time John enlisted in the Navy, he was deployed to the First Gulf War in the early 1990s. All five Strain brothers ended up serving in the Navy. "I guess all the rest of them just followed me. That's all I can say," Vince chuckled.

The oldest brother Vince is about 20 years older than the youngest brother, John. "I used to kid around and call [John] my brother-son," Vince said. "Because he's only 17 days older than my oldest daughter!" Howard helps plan his town's Memorial Day parade every year, and he recently told his brothers he'd like for all of them to march together in it. He told them it was something on his bucket list. So all the brothers got together and made Howard's dream come true. They even had shirts made for the special occasion.

"He doesn't show too much emotion, but I think that was about the most emotion I've seen from him because he said that a couple times," Vince said. It was a great day for the Strain brothers to honor the military members who made the ultimate sacrifice, and also for them to celebrate their own family's rich tradition of service in the Navy.

 

A South African Political Icon is Born!

Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and Nobel Peace Prize winner, inspired countless individuals during his long life. On today, the historic peacemaker would have turned 100 years old.

Here is a collection of quotes that personify his spirit:

1) "Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end."

2) "It always seems impossible until it's done."

3) "If I had my time over I would do the same again. So would any man who dares call himself a man."

4) "I like friends who have independent minds because they tend to make you see problems from all angles."

5) "Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people."

6) "A fundamental concern for others in our individual and community lives would go a long way in making the world the better place we so passionately dreamt of."

7) "Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do."

8) "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

9) "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

10) "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

11) "Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies."

12) "Lead from the back — and let others believe they are in front."

13) "Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again."

14) "I hate race discrimination most intensely and in all its manifestations. I have fought it all during my life; I fight it now, and will do so until the end of my days."

15) "A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination."