Good Deed Brigade Newsletters

The Good Deed Brigade is getting out its message through its fans, friends, contacts, and volunteers.   There is this Website, Social Media, our various “Grass Roots” Campaigns including out Button and Tent Card Campaign, and the Good Deed Brigade Newsletter.  Many of these articles have also been features in newspapers and magazines. 

Here are the Good Deed Brigade Newsletters that have been sent out to our friends, fans, and contacts.  Please read through and share the Newsletters with your friends. 

If you are not receiving the Good Deed Brigade Newsletter, please Join the Newsletter List.   It is simple and easy.

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A Ronald McDonald House Volunteer with Heart, Intellect, and Voice

Shelly Kurland

June 6, 2018

Shelly Kurland

Volunteers in the community truly make a difference especially those who volunteer on a consistent basis for people who really need the help. Shelly Kurland is one such volunteer who helps children and families as a volunteer / ambassador for the Ronald McDonald House located in Jacksonville, Florida. 

As noted on the Ronald McDonald House website, "A Ronald McDonald House provides a place for families to call home so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little to no cost. Our Houses are built on the simple idea that nothing else should matter when a family is focused on the health of their child - not where they can afford to stay, where they will get their next meal or where they will lay their head at night to rest."

Shelly first volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House years ago and enjoyed it so much that she set out a goal of volunteering on a more regular basis in the future.  Since graduating from Rollins College in the Spring of 2017, Shelly has volunteered over 500 (five hundred) hours in answering phones, staffing events, and otherwise helping children and families who receive the services provided by the Ronald McDonald House. 

Shelly Kurland Close Up

Over the past year, she also prepared for and took the LSAT exam and worked as a legal assistant at a law firm.  Her test scores and college grades earned her a number of law school scholarship offers. Certainly, Shelly has both the intellect and heart to be a great attorney one day.  She plans on attending law school in the Spring or Fall of 2019.  Until then, she will continue her volunteer work and law related work.  She will also be engaged in voice lessons as she loves to sing.  Shelly is quite talented and is always looking for ways to improve as a person.  

Heart, intellect, and voice . . .  Be on the lookout for great and wonderful things from Shelly Kurland in the future .  .  . 

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Shelly Kurland and all of the other people out there making the community a better place and inspiring others to do their part as well. 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

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Big Brother, Gator, Volunteer, Author and Scholar 

The Many Hats of Brian Byrne

May 29, 2018

Brian Byrne

Meet Brian Byrne one time and you have made a friend. Speak to Brian Byrne one time and get motivated.  Be Brian Byrne and you will be one busy college student who is filled with talent, intellect, love for family and friends, energy, a drive to learn, and, yes, acts of kindness that do make a difference. 

Brian is a sophomore at the University of Florida where he is majoring in Environmental Science.  As part of the honors program, he has excelled academically while holding down a part-time job and helping out with his 9 younger siblings.  For the record, he is the second oldest child of 11 children.  His parents and siblings reside in Gainesville as well. 

Now that the Spring semester has ended at UF, Brian is now busy with his summer pursuits. Rather than just spend the summer at the beach and watching endless movies on Netflix, Brian decided to put his summer time to good use by serving as a camp counselor at Camp I Am Special which is a summer camp for special needs kids and adults. Each camper is paired with a buddy to make sure the camper gets the most out of his / her summer experience. After a few years as a buddy at the camp, Brian will now be working as a camp counselor. Brian will work at the camp for 6 sessions.  Here is a link to read more about the camp:

Camp I Am Special

During the summer, Brian is also taking some college courses so he can continue to move forward in his academic pursuits. If all of the above was not quite enough to take in, Brian is also hard at work writing a novel.  There is a scientific and futuristic twist to the book.  

How does Brian get all of this done?  I do not know.  At just 18 years old, he is quite busy but always seems to have time for his large family and friends.  

Big Brother, Gator, Volunteer, Author and Scholar . . . In the fall, Brian will add Resident Advisor to his list of accomplishments.  He will serve as a RA in the Beaty Towers dorm at the University of Florida. 

Certainly, we live in a busy, fast-paced world.  Brian sets a good example of what you can do with your time to grow as a person and to help others along the way.  So, when you think you are pressed for time and have no time to grow as a person or help others, think about Brian Byrne and what can be done with a bit of commitment, effort, and heart. 

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Brian Byrne and all of the other people out there making the community a better place and inspiring others to do their part as well. 

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Happiness Guaranteed or Your Misery Back 

A Helping Hand from Mark Eiglarsh

May 24, 2018

Happineness Guaranteed 2018

Happiness Guaranteed or Your Misery Back . . . Seems to be too good to be true - Right?  In our fast paced and hectic world, happiness seems to be more and more elusive.  As such, Mark Eiglarsh, an attorney and television host / legal expert, decided a number of years ago to tackle this subject giving the topic some study and perspective.  While Mark does not have all of the answers or the "pixie dust" of happiness, Mark has figured out some of the basic essentials about how to be happy and make the most of out life.  Rather than just keep the keys to happiness close to his chest and tucked away in his coat pocket, he decided that the best way to promote happiness (both his happiness and the happiness of others) was to tell the world “ or free" how he has discovered happiness and how others can easily re-discover happiness.

Do you have an hour to explore your happiness and what you can do to get a better perspective on your life?  Certainly you do. I did.  I traded an hour of my nightly Netflix re-run of movies and TV shows to watch Mark's video titled Happiness Guaranteed or Your Misery Back.  Here is the wonderful part of the video. Mark is not selling you anything. He is not promoting a book, seminar, or counseling service.  He is simply sharing some rather simple but profound steps to achieve happiness.  

As pointed out by Mark, our "default" or the way we were born is to be happy.  In his presentation, Mark gives you a step-by-step guide on getting back to your "default" - the default of being happy. Can money buy you happiness? Can other people bring you happiness? The answer to these and similar questions is "No".  The secret to happiness lies within you and how you process the world around you and inside of you. 

On a  day-to-day basis, Mark is a criminal defense attorney based in South Florida.  He is a devoted family man with a wonderful life, wife, and children.  Mark could easily sit back and rest on his laurels, wealth, and gift of gab.  Rather than do that, Mark is giving back every chance he gets by spreading the word and secret (or not so secret) of happiness to children, the elderly, and everybody in between.  Now are you ready to be enlightened and bring happiness back into your life?  Sure you are.  Here is a link to the You Tube Video presentation:

Happiness Guaranteed or Your Misery Back

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Mark Eiglarsh and all of the other makers out there making the community a better place and inspiring others to do their part as well. 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

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Be a Maker and Not a Consumer

Great Advice from Reverend Dan Wolf

January 23, 2018

National Honor Society - Dan Wolf-1

Be a Maker and Not a Consumer. These words were spoken by Reverend Dan Wolf to a group of honor students at St. Johns Country Day School located in Orange Park, Florida. As the keynote speaker at the National Honor Society Induction Ceremony, Reverend Wolf delivered a speech that had meaning, purpose, and value.  

Be a Maker and Not a Consumer . . . What does this mean? Reverend Wolf pointed out that a person can choose to be a maker or a consumer.  It is much better and much more rewarding to be a maker.  Each day, we consume products and information.  A person can go to the mall or online and purchase shoes, clothing, or the latest tech device. A person can also be a consumer of information in the form of reading through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat posts. As so aptly noted by Reverend Wolf, when is the last time that a life has been changed or enhanced by the viewing of an Instagram post?  Furthermore, how does the viewing of an Instagram post or purchase of clothing make a person better or make a true difference in the life of the consumer?  If there is such a purchase or Instagram post that truly changes and enhances a person's life, Reverend Wolf wants to see it. The truth is that a person can get so much more out of life by being a maker. 

Reverend Wolf noted that the three essential ingredients of being a maker are risk, challenge, and failure. Consuming things requires none of these.  But when we endeavor to make things, we take risks, face challenges, and learn from failures which serve as a furnace for transformation. 

Reverend Wolf asked the each person attending the National Honor Society Ceremony to think of his or her most important life accomplishment.  As noted by Reverend Wolf, this accomplishment would vary from person to person but one common thread would be that the accomplishment would be something that was made rather than something purchased or consumed.  Reverend Wolf was advising the students, family members, and faculty alike to go out in the world and do something rather than just be a consumer of things and information.

Reverend Wolf was "practicing what he preached" in serving as the keynote speaker for the event. It was clear that Reverend Wolf took time and effort to  craft the speech that was specifically tailored to the students being inducted into the National Honor Society.  He took the theme of being a maker and incorporated the virtues and values of the pillars of the National Honor Society - Scholarship, Leadership, Character, and Service. Reverend Wolf took time out of his day and schedule to be a "maker" for the students, families, and faculty at St. Johns Country Day School. He inspired, mentored, and enlightened the audience with his words of wisdom and recommendations to take action. 

You can read more about Reverend Dan Wolf and his church at the Official Website for Grace Anglican Church - Fleming Island at:

http://www.graceanglican.church/

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Reverend Dan Wolf and all of the other makers out there making the community a better place and inspiring others to do their part as well. 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

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With God’s Speed and a Kind Heart 

Angela Hernandez

Girl Scouts of America

January 16, 2018

Girl Scout Cookies-1

With the beginning of each New Year comes a flurry of activity in communities across the United States and beyond in the form of . . . Girl Scout Cookie Season . . . That's right, communities come alive with a sea of green of Girl Scouts promoting and selling boxes of Thin Mints, Tagalongs, and other favorites.  Keep in mind that behind every sale of a box of cookies is a child or teen who is committed to helping others, learning news skills, and making the community a better place for all.   In addition, you can donate a box or multiple boxes of cookies to the USO (United Services Organization) which provides services to over 10 million military service members and their families.  By donating a box or multiple boxes to the USO, you are now doing a double good deed by supporting both the Girl Scouts of America and our wonderful military and their families. 

One of many exceptional girl scouts in the community is 8 year old Angela Hernandez.  She truly understands the values of service, community, and good will.  Angela also knows what sacrifices are made by military service members and their families.  For the past few years, Angela and her family have lived in Fleming Island, Florida.  She has enjoyed her school, a local basketball program, and, yes, all of the activities and community service opportunities provided by her local Girl Scout Troop.  But, in just a few months, Angela will have to leave this all behind since her father, Lieutenant Adam Hernandez, is being transferred for a 2 year mission to Japan. 

Leaving behind many family members and friends in Florida, Angela along with her mother Edda and her 12 year old brother, John, will make the sacrifice for both country and family by making this move to Japan. Angela will certainly be able to bring a few things with her to Japan namely her kindness, wonderful attitude, and desire to help people and animals in the community. 

While her father, Lieutenant Adam Hernandez, will be patrolling the skies with God's speed, Angela will be in the community today, tomorrow, and well into the future.  Let's support Angela or another worthy Girl Scout or Girl Scout Troop with the purchase of Girl Scout Cookies.  Buy cookies for yourself, family, friends, or even just another person in the community.  You can also donate your cookie purchase to the USO and the Girl Scouts of America will deliver cookies for you to the USO.  Here is a link to Angela's Girl Scout Cookie Page.  Show Angela that you recognize and appreciate her community service and the sacrifices she makes as a family member of a military service person.  

https://digitalcookie.girlscouts.org/scout/angela17095

With God's speed and a kind heart, the Good Brigade salutes Angela Hernandez and her family. 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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To Protect And To Serve And Beyond - Lynda Green

Mother's Loving Day Care And 

Supreme Home Health Care

December 11, 2017

Lynda Green

In communities throughout the country, there are special people who truly make a difference in the lives of others. The world is absolutely a better place with people like Lynda Green. The world is a safer place as well for children. Meet Lynda Green who owns and operates Mother's Loving Day Care Center located in the Southside of Savannah, Georgia. 

When a parent places a child in a day care center, a parent should be able to trust the child care provider to be responsible, caring, and diligent. Lynda Green is the exact type of person who fits the bill. With 12 years of service to the community as a police officer with the Savannah Police Department and 10 years of service as a foster parent, Lynda Green knows what it takes to supervise children in a safe and caring learning environment. While her law enforcement and foster care days are behind her, Lynda was not ready by any means to retire or take it easy. As such, she founded Mother's Loving Day Care Center as a way to provide hard working parents with affordable before and after school care to children in her Savannah community. 

The professional training and life experiences have made Lynda uniquely qualified to be a mentor and surrogate parent to children under her care. She also just became licensed as as Home Health Care evaluator. In her role as a Home Health Care evaluator, she formed Supreme Home Health Care, LLC. She provides care in the homes of seniors and those with special needs. Day and night, Lynda is busy as a care giver and she just loves what she does. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering at her church.

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Lynda Green for her kindness, goodwill, and community service. Lynda's commitment to family, faith, children, seniors, and community have made the City of Savannah a better place. Follow the lead and example of Lynda Green and do your share of good deeds in the community. 

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good!

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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Miracle Workers Give Dog a Second Chance at Life (PrimeVet)

August 31, 2017

PrimeVet - Daffodil

A special dog named Daffodil otherwise known as Daffi to her friends has the soul of an angel and the support of good samaritans better referred to as great samaritans in the form of the staff of PrimeVet Animal Hospital located in Orange Park, Florida.

Daffodil is pictured here with PrimeVet receptionist and ambassador Melissa Williams.  Daffodil weighed just 38 pounds when she was rescued by Pit Sisters, a non-profit animal rescue organization. 

The owner and staff at PrimeVet graciously offered to foster this dog despite her poor health, shockingly low weight, and paralysis. That's right, when this poor dog entered the doors of PrimeVet, she was extremely malnourished and paralyzed.  

Through a good bit of patience, care, therapy, and yes, love, this dog not only survived but is flourishing.  She currently can be found by Melissa's side at the front desk at PrimeVet wagging her tail and, yes, prancing along with joy.  During the rehabilitation process, the staff had to use a lift to provide therapy, daily care, and activities for Daffi. Despite the hardships suffered by this dog, Daffodil is as sweet as can be and now available for a permanent home.  She is eating well and fully mobile. The recovery of this dog is truly amazing.

As noted by PrimeVet Office Manager - Michelle Eden, “ affodil is loved by all in the office and each guest of the office.  Her smile, warmth, and personality just make each day a bit brighter."

You can read more about PrimeVet and its services for pets by visiting the PrimeVet Website.  Here is a link:

Official Website for PrimeVet

If you are interested in adopting this dog or know somebody who may be interested, you can contact Pit Sisters. 

Here is a link to the website for Pit Sisters:

Official Website for Pit Sisters

The Good Deed Brigade salutes PrimeVet and its staff members for their kindness, goodwill, and community service. Follow the lead and example of PrimeVet and do your share of good deeds in the community. 

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good!

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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Regina Stoops - Born in The Town of Normal (Illinois) 

Raising Autism Awareness One Laugh at a Time

July 26, 2017

Regina Stoops

Just meet Regina Stoops one time and you will be at ease, impressed, and entertained.  What a wonderful person living her own kind of "normal" life.  In reality, Regina was born and raised in Normal, Illinois. She even attended Normal High School.  While it sounds like a joke or a made up story, Normal is a real place filled with real people.  If you still do not believe me, here is is a Google link to read about Normal, Illinois:

Official Website for Normal Illinois

Regina Stoops now resides far away from "Normal"  in Northern California with her wife and three children, one of whom has autism. Regina is a self described "Catholic, Democratic, lesbian, stay-at home soccer mom with an Autistic son".  As noted by Regina, there is not enough room on the bumper of her car for all of the stickers, groups, and causes that she supports and that have helped define her world and life as she knows it today.  

Life is full of challenges.  Certainly, some people and families have more challenges than others.  It is important what attitude is put out there when challenges come your way.  You can either give up, seclude yourself and your family, OR put yourself out there to best support your family and others in the community.  Certainly, Regina has put herself out there as a soccer mom, community activist, and yes a comedian.  Her comedy is relatable to any parent or resident of the suburbs. While she is a wonderful volunteer, she does point out that her volunteer days may be coming to an end because she struggles with some of the Common Core Math problems at school.  Of course, she is joking for the most part. 

Jill Escher, President of Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area, praised Regina for her work. "There are two sides to life with autism- stresses, mysteries, isolation, and often profound worries, but on the other hand, immense love, zaniness, perspective and growth. Through insightful humor borne of deep affection, Regina emphasizes the latter, and leaves her audience wanting a daily dose of her."

As so aptly said by Albert Einstein, who was a brilliant physicist but also a wise humanist, "Only a life lived for others is worth living."  

Regina Stoops is raising awareness of autism and the world of special education by her comedy, fundraising, conference appearances, and activism in the community.  She is available for events and gatherings of all kinds.  She makes you laugh and think. What a wonderful gift Regina shares with others on a daily basis.
Here is a link to the website for Regina Stoops to take a look at some her comedy and her wonderful work in the community:

Official Website for Regina Stoops

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Regina Stoops for her attitude, volunteerism, and, yes her unique brand of comedy.  Follow the lead and example of Regina Stoops and do your share of good deeds in the community. 

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good!

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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Game, Set, and Match - Operation Pets Alive (OPA)

May 10, 2017

In the Great State of Texas in and around Houston, there is a wonderful organization - Operation Pets Alive - which is a non-profit organization staffed by an all volunteer team.   OPA seeks to raise community awareness, to reduce the number of dogs and cats that enter shelters, and to increase the number of dogs and cats that leave the shelters to loving families and homes.  

OPA started when its founder, Marcia Potter, decided if she could get at-risk dogs out of the Montgomery County Animal shelter and transport them to shelters in the northeast they would be readily adopted and thus no longer be  in danger of being euthanized.  Now OPA sends monthly truck transports of dogs up north and monthly flights of puppies and kittens out west to Colorado.  

Stephane and Jen

Jen Allen and Stephane Derienzis donate their time, money, resources, and, yes, their homes to pets in need of care, foster care, and love.  Certainly, Jen and Stephane pour their hearts and souls out for pets in need and make the community a better place for all.  It takes a certain spirit and attitude to be a dedicated volunteer over a long period of time and both Jen and Stephane have what it takes to make good things happen for all of the right reasons.

On May 6, 2017, Operation Pets Alive hosted a Tennis Tournament at Bear Branch Tennis Courts to raise money and awareness for OPA.  The chairpersons of the event - Jen and Stephane - organized the event by spending many hours bringing people together to help pets and enjoy a great day of tennis. Jen and Stephane, who can both be fierce tennis league competitors, were on the courts engaged in friendly battle against other doubles teams.  Here is a link to read more about Operation Pets Alive and all of the wonderful work of its volunteers:


Operation Pets Alive


While Jen and Stephane are both busy with their respective families and everyday commitments and obligations, they both always find time to help and support this wonderful organization. Stephane practices what she preaches and is the owner of Izabel and Wee Man who were adopted from pet rescue organizations.  Jen also sets a good example by her fostering of Grady, the fourth foster she has had for Weimaraner Rescue of Texas.

Game, Set, and Match are well known tennis terms.  OPA and other pet rescue organizations are also working on making the term "Match" well known in helping dogs and cats find homes. 

You can help support this organization and other pet rescue organizations in your geographic area with your financial support and participation in similar events.

The Good Deed Brigade salutes OPA, Jen Allen, and Stephane Derienzis for making a difference in the community.  Follow the lead, example, and kindness set by Jen and Stephane and go into your community to do what you can to make a difference. Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good!

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at gooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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50 Year Old Message - Still Fresh - Still Important - A Helping Hand

March 8, 2017

In today's fast paced world, it often helps to slow down, smell the flowers, and, yes, listen to the lyrics of current music as well as the classics.  Of course, the "classics" is a relative term depending on when you were born and what you identify with. While I am an Elvis fan first and foremost, I do appreciate other music and songs including music by the greatest group of all time - The Beatles.  

One song in particular has a simple important message - "Help!" In particular, the chorus brings out this message:

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down

And I do appreciate you being 'round

Help me get my feet back on the ground

Won't you please, please help me?"

The help you render to a friend does not need to arrive only when there is plea for help.  You can choose to help a friend at any moment - at any time.  When there is plea for help directly or indirectly, do what you can to help out.  As noted in the song, "I do appreciate you being 'round."  In other words, there is a certain comfort in just having a friend being there to get through some tough times and issues.  

Help! by the Beatles was released in 1965 which was over 50 years ago.  The song and message are as fresh today as they were 50 years ago.  There is a certain timeliness with many of the Beatles songs including the song Help!  Furthermore, there is a certain timeliness in offering a helping hand.  

The mission of the Good Deed Brigade is to promote the actions and kindness of people making a difference in the community.  By completing this mission, the Good Deed Brigade hopes to encourage others to do their part to make the community a better place.  Make today a great day and go out and "Help!" a friend.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good.  

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us atgooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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You’ve Got a Friend in Me - A Simple But Powerful Message 

February 11, 2017

Friendship

You've Got a Friend in Me is a song from the Toy Story movie. It is a simple song with a strong message. A catchy tune with inspiring lyrics can often motivate people to do some good in the community.  It will take just a few minutes to read through this short article and watch / listen to the song linked below. It will be a few minutes well spent to be a part of your day. 

The second verse is one that we can all identify with:

You've got a friend in me

You've got a friend in me

You've got troubles, and I've got 'em too

There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you

We stick together and can see it through

'Cause you've got a friend in me

You've got a friend in me

Let's face it.  We all have troubles.  As friends and members of a community, we should not get too bogged down in our own troubles to ignore the troubles of others - - especially those of our friends. 

The lyrics of the song are quite powerful and even more so when a version of the song comes out that captures it all. Check out the rendition of You've Got a Friend as sung by Claire Ryann and her dad.  This You Tube video (Claire and Dad Sing You've Got a Friend in Me) has over 8,000,000 (8 million views).  If you already have seen it, go watch it again.  Listen to the words and go out there today and every day with the intent and mission of being a good friend. 

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us atgooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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All About Heart - Debbie Driscoll

November 1, 2016

Driscoll Family

Meet Debbie Driscoll, who literally and figuratively is all about heart.  Debbie is a lifelong Floridian who resides in Durbin Crossing (St. Johns County), Florida with her husband (Sean) and their two sons (Brady - age 8 and Aidan age 15). She is a pharmaceutical representative for Bristol-Myers Squibb.  Which division?  That's right . . .you guessed it right - Cardiovascular. Debbie has a wealth of knowledge about cardiovascular medications that can and do save lives.  

Debbie's passion for cardiovascular health and issues stems back for about a decade.  Her interest became even more focused when her son, Brady, was born with a congenital heart defect that required life saving surgery.  Thankfully, the surgery was a success and Brady is an active kid who loves his school - Patriot Oaks Academy - and his soccer. Debbie and the rest of the Driscoll family believe in giving back and are regular volunteers for the American Heart Association and the UF Health Congenital Heart Center.  Debbie is also active in the PTO for both Patriot Oaks Academy and Creekside High School.  She also volunteers for the Advanced Scholars Program at Patriot Oaks Academy. On most weekends, you will find the Driscoll family at the soccer fields rooting on the "Volt" also known as the Florida Elite Soccer Academy or attending both local and travel basketball games for her older son Aidan.

As you can see, Debbie has a "heart" for education, community, health and wellness, and family.  Even with the demands of a full time job and mother of two active boys, Debbie does her best to give back.  Her husband, Sean, owns multiple Plato's Closet businesses and also works long hours.  Debbie is very passionate about health and fitness and can be found running, attending various fitness classes, or enjoying simple walks with her family and French Bulldog "Cruz" around their community  - Durbin Crossing. With her full time schedule plus, Debbie knows that it is important to stay in shape and, yes, relax every now and then.  However, she knows that the next event, meeting, school function, and game are just around the corner.  Debbie thrives on her busy schedule, the love of her family, and just making the most of every day. 

Beyond everything that Debbie does, she is just a nice person to be around.  She greets friends and strangers alike with a smile and a helping hand.  As noted by American writer Washington Irving, "A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles."  

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Debbie Driscoll for her concerted acts of kindness and service.  Follow the example and lead of Debbie Driscoll and perform your share of good deeds in the community. 

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us atgooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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Life Get to Know . . . David Wolf

August 4, 2016

50c8adf5-3c70-4248-86ab-46d61d52805a

In the The Creekline Newspaper, David Wolf, Founder of the Good Deed Brigade, was featured in the "Get to Know" Section of the publication. Thank you to The Creekline for getting the word out about the Good Deed Brigade. The Creekline is distributed to homes located in St. Johns County and is available online.

David Wolf has lived in Durbin Crossing since 2014. His love of the community - the parks, the neighbors and the atmosphere, prompted him to start the Good Deed Brigade in 2013. Th is movement aims to tell uplifting stories in the St. Johns and Duval county areas. When Wolf isn't busy writing articles and books about the community's good deeds, he and his wife spend time with their children's extracurricular activities. Wolf also enjoys bicycling and suburban adventures with his wife. 

How and why did you start the Good Deed Brigade? 

I started the Good Deed Brigade to be a trusted and reliable source highlighting kindness and community service. Wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. I founded [the movement] with a website, Facebook page, newsletter and book. I eventually wrote articles for some local newspapers [including Th e CreekLine] as a way to highlight the good work and wonderful spirit of my St. Johns County neighbors and friends. 

What’s one of the best Good Deed stories you've heard thus far? 

One of my favorite Good Deed stories and adventures involved the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind. I had heard about the school but had never visited the school in the 15 - 16 years that I had lived here. I contacted the school and was given a wonderful tour. It was amazing to see the libraries, classrooms and all of the opportunities that this public school had to off er. Th e visit gave me an opportunity to appreciate what can be done with hard work, dedication and, yes, that certain sense of community. St. Johns County is home to one of the most amazing public schools in the country. It makes me proud to be a resident here and be part of it all. 

What's a positive result you've witnessed since Good Deed's inception? It is truly rewarding to see and hear how people appreciate being part of the Good Deed Brigade as a featured person or just a reader. People are recognized for their good deeds and others are inspired to do their own good deeds. We all have our stress and issues in life. It is a bit comforting to know that there is a place in which you will only read about good deeds, kindness and inspiration.

Have you encountered any negativity since beginning?

I cannot say that I have encountered any negativity, but I have encountered some confusion at times. What is the Good Deed Brigade? What is its purpose?

If you could be any superhero, who would you be and why?

I am going to go with Batman. He doesn't have any super powers per se. He is just resourceful and wise. He also has some wonderful tools and tech at his disposal. I will never fly like Superman and never run as fast as Flash, but I can use my resources, wisdom, tools and tech to do some good out in the world.

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It Takes a Village: AT&T and Girls Who Code 

Doing Their Part to Train The Next Generation of Computer Coders

June 14, 2016

AT&T Logo

There is an old saying or expression, "It takes a whole village to raise a child."  AT&T took this saying to heart in sponsoring and hosting the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at the AT&T Building in Atlanta, Georgia, and at six other locations throughout the country. The support is through AT&T Aspire, the company's signature education initiative to promote student success in school and beyond. The "village" expression essentially stands for the proposition that raising a child is a communal effort.  

Girls Who Code Logo

This was clearly evident at the Orientation Program to kick off the Girls Who Code Program in Atlanta.  Girls Who Code is a National Non-Profit Organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.  AT&T is hosting two classes of students in Atlanta as part of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program in June - July 2016. Forty students were selected among a large pool of applicants to be part of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program at the AT&T Atlanta site.  For the Summer of 2016, there will be over twenty programs offered in cities throughout the United States including Miami, New York, and San Francisco.  During the 7 week course, students will learn valuable coding skills that will become a strong foundation for additional coursework and study in the field computer programming.

Girls Who Code Instructors

At the Orientation Program held at AT&T Atlanta, the participants and parents were greeted by over a dozen volunteers including management with AT&T.  The course work will be led by one lead instructor and two teaching assistants per classroom. At AT&T, there will be two classrooms with twenty students per classroom.  The teacher to student ratio in the Girls Who Code Program is quite impressive thanks to companies like AT&T.  The Summer Immersion Program is fully staffed and paid for by corporate sponsors.  There is no tuition or charge at all to students who participate in the Girls Who Code Program.  


The keynote speaker at the Girls Who Code Orientation in Atlanta was Stacey Y. Abrams who is the House Minority Leader for the Georgia House of Representatives.  Ms. Abrams, who has degrees from Spelman College, University of Texas, and Yale University, was quite an inspirational speaker.  Ms. Abrams shared a bit of her life story growing up in Gulfport, Mississippi.  She also provided the students with sage words of advice as follows:

Be Fearless - Be Faithful - Be a Friend

She carefully and sincerely covered these three keys to success and how she built upon both her struggles and triumphs to get through high school, undergraduate school, law school, and career endeavors.  Ms. Abrams is the first woman and the first African American to be selected as the House Minority Leader in the State of Georgia.   

Stacey Abrams

AT&T and Girls Who Code have built quite a "village" this summer right there in Downtown Atlanta to provide a group of deserving and hard-working students with the experience of a lifetime. "Within our own employee base, we are committed to a lifetime of education and training," said Karla Riker, Director of Citizenship and Sustainability. "We are proud to work with Girls Who Code to ensure that young women are learning the skills essential to a successful future, and we are excited about the opportunity to host this 7-week intensive training program in Atlanta."  Visit the Girls Who Code Website to find out more about this wonderful organization.

The community and general public should keep an eye on the graduates of the Girls Who Code Program who will undoubtedly be positive difference makers and mentors themselves in the years to come. The Good Deed Brigade salutes Girls Who Code, AT&T and other corporate sponsors who are all working together to bring the next generation of coders into the community.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

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The Ultimate Sacrifice and Your Good Deeds:  Memorial Day and Important Rs

May 30, 2016

The mission of the Good Deed Brigade is to promote the actions and kindness of people making a difference in the community. By completing this mission, the Good Deed Brigade hopes to encourage others to do their part to make the community a better place. 

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States in which we, as Americans, remember those who died while serving the country in the armed forces.   We are a free and democratic society that is protected day-to-day and minute-by-minute by our armed forces.  It takes a brave, dedicated, and hard-working person to serve our country.  It is a tragedy any time that one of our soldiers dies while serving in our military.   Yes, it is the ultimate sacrifice when a soldier dies while serving in the military.  How can we honor our fallen soldiers?  What can we do on Memorial Day and all other days of the year to do our part - to do our share of good deeds?

Remember

On Memorial Day, take the time to remember and thank our soldiers and the family of our soldiers especially those who have suffered the loss of a loved one while serving our country. 

Respect

Respect is not a word or an act that should be taken lightly. Respect our soldiers, families of our soldiers, and our military. Without our soldiers, we would not have the freedoms in this country that we so great enjoy.

Reflect

Now - right now - is time for you to make a difference.  Reflect on what you can do at the moment and on a daily basis to make a difference in the community and beyond.  Yes, you can make a difference. 

React

When you see an opportunity help someone - a friend, neighbor, or stranger - do so with grace, humility, and care. There is always an opportunity to make a difference whether it is by a kind word or random act of kindness.  Keep in mind that we all have the capacity in some way to act, react, and give. 

As noted by President Harry S. Truman, "Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.  They have earned our undying gratitude.  America will never forget their sacrifices."

Certainly, we should and can honor our fallen soldiers on Memorial Day and all other days of the year.  One way to honor our soldiers and their families to keep the above Rs in mind and to do your best to go out there in the community and make a difference.  

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Respecting and Preserving Our Wildlife - Alex Cywes - Beads 4 Breeds

April 25, 2016

Throughout Africa and the world, our wildlife is disappearing at an alarming rate. Some beautiful species of animals are on the brink of extinction.  Certainly, these are worldwide problems but what can just one person here in the State of Florida do about it? Meet Alex Cywes. 

This 15 year old freshman from Jacksonville, Florida is on a mission to make a difference, to educate the public, and to do his part to support developing communities and, yes, to protect animals.  Alex recently founded an organization called Beads 4 Breeds.   As noted by Alex, "The world we live in today does not and will not solely belong to us.  We share the resources and bounties of the earth with our fellow creatures. The least we can do is protect the homes they need to survive."

Certainly, the good work of Beads 4 Breeds is something that we can all rally around and support.  As part of the efforts and mission of Beads 4 Breeds, there is a wonderful website that can be shared and enjoyed by children and adults alike. 

Check out the official website of Beads 4 Breeds at www.Beads4Breeds.org  You can read more about the organization and interesting facts about animals needing our protection.  The organization is supported in part by the sales of beaded animals that are crafted by residents (adults and children) located in villages in and around Cape Town, South Africa. The beaded animals are available for sale on the Beads 4 Breeds website. Prices range from $7.99 to $20.99.  A purchase of these unique items will help financially support these artisans and help bring about public awareness of endangered species by telling others about the beaded animals and the work of Beads 4 Breeds. 

As further noted by Alex, "Our focus is intended to be at the root of the problem.  We look to stop crimes against nature. These include but are not limited to:  deforestation due to expanding city boundaries, pollution of all kinds, poaching, etc. . . " While Alex is thousands of miles away from South Africa, he has a connection with the continent because his father was born and raised there.  To this day, his grandparents still reside in South Africa. Furthermore, Alex has visited the country several times and has seen firsthand the problems of animal destruction and poverty hovering over the community.  It is clear that Alex has a thirst for knowledge and an interest in learning about other countries, cultures, and challenges in the world.  His values and inquisitive nature stem in part from being raised by his Canadian born mother and his South African born father. Both of his parents encourage Alex and his twin sister, Claire, to reach for the stars and make the world a better place than they found it. 

As a 15 year old young man, Alex has shown a great deal of empathy and maturity in organizing and in founding Beads 4 Breeds.  He knows that his work has just begun and he is eager to get help support from his friends and classmates from The Bolles School located in Jacksonville, Florida. He is also seeking help to get the word out well beyond his own community about Beads 4 Breeds.  Yes, the purchase of even one small beaded animal can bring us closer together on the mission to help those less fortunate and to increase public awareness about our animal populations.  As so aptly said by Alex, "Our goal is to leave a green, lasting imprint on the world and to make the earth a better, healthier place for those who will inherit it next."

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Alex Cywes for his concerted acts of kindness and service.  Follow the example and lead of Alex Cywes and perform your share of good deeds in the community. 

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us atgooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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If I Can Dream - Elvis Presley Connections - David A. Wolf

March 4, 2016

Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) is known as the King of Rock and Roll.  He was born in Tupelo, Mississippi.  He later moved to Memphis, Tennessee.  During his 42 year life span, he changed the world as a singer, performer, actor, and entertainer. He left a lasting mark and it is certainly a shame that his life ended so abruptly in 1977. 

Growing up in Miami, David Wolf became a fan of Elvis Presley. While he never attended an Elvis Presley concert and never met the legend, David spent countless hours listening to Elvis' songs and, yes, watching the predictable somewhat corny movies. Over time, David certainly became a big fan and connoisseur of sorts of the music catalog of Elvis Presley.  Little did David know as he became a full fledged fan of Elvis Presley that he would have some lasting and interesting connections to Elvis Presley.

Connection #1.  Robin Bloom Wolf.  Robin and David have been married for over 20 years. They met in high school and have known each other for over 33 years. Wow! Robin's birthday is on the same calendar date as the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.  

Connection #2.  Father of Robin Bloom Wolf.  Eugene "Bucky" Bloom was born in the Tupelo, Mississippi.  This is the birth place of Elvis Presley.  Bucky and Elvis were born just two years apart. Tupelo, Mississippi is located in Lee County.  It is approximately 98 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee.  The population of Tupelo in the 1930s was in the range of 6,000 - 7,000 residents.  It is interesting to note that the Bloom Family and Presley Family lived in the same small community. Amazing!

Connection #3. Grandparents of Robin Bloom Wolf.  Here is another Bloom Family connection to the King of Rock and Roll. The Bloom Family owned a women's clothing store in Downtown Tupelo.  As it turns out, one customer of the store was Gladys Presley. That's right, the mother of Elvis Presley was a regular customer of the store.  

Connection #4.  Clarence M. Wood - Partner of David Wolf and Attorney for Elvis Presley.  Back in 1957, Elvis Presley performed at the Florida Theater in Jacksonville, Florida.  There were concerns that a local judge, Judge Gooding, was going to arrest Elvis Presley for indecency if Elvis shook or gyrated too much or in an inappropriate manner.  As such, the management for Elvis Presley lined up a bright local attorney by the name of Clarence M. Wood to be "on call" if Elvis was arrested.  Clarence Wood waited patiently back stage during the performance and briefly met Elvis at the Florida Theater. Fortunately for Elvis, there was no arrest made during his visit to Jacksonville in 1957.  For Clarence, there was no attorney fee and no 15 minutes of fame. However, there was the satisfaction of being recognized as a young and able attorney who could get the job done if he was needed by Elvis Presley.  

To this day, David A. Wolf continues to be a fan of Elvis Presley. His favorite station on Sirius XM Satellite Radio is Channel 19 - the Elvis Channel.  His favorite Elvis Presley song  is titled "If I Can Dream."  This song was written especially for Elvis Presley in the wake of the assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King in 1968.  The song was performed on the Elvis TV Special for NBC otherwise known as the Comeback Special.   The first verse of this wonderful song is as follows:

There must be lights burning brighter somewhere

Got to be birds flying higher in a sky more blue

If I can dream of a better land

Where all my brothers walk hand in hand

Tell me why, on why, on why can't my dream come true.

"If I Can Dream" is truly one of Elvis' most powerfully and artistically performed songs which truly showed his range and talent as a singer and performer.  The song itself has a wonderful message of hope for a better world and a better tomorrow. 

David A. Wolf keeps the words and anthem of "If I Can Dream" in mind as he begins and works through each day.  You should too. 

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us atgooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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The Spirit of Wonderful Residents Captured by Carly Gare:

San Marco Dogs

February 23, 2016

As so aptly said by photographer and writer Roger Caras, "Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."  This sentiment is shared by many of the residents of San Marco, a neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida located south of downtown across from the St. Johns River.  Take a walk through many of the tree filled streets or through the town square and you will see dogs of all shapes, sizes, and breeds. 

The frequent sightings of dogs in San Marco inspired Carly Gare, a 15 year old resident of Jacksonville, to capture the presence, spirit, and overall charm of these dogs in a book titled San Marco Dogs.  The book is filled with smiles and candid moments of San Marco's most lovable residents - the dogs.  It is a wonderful pictorial collage of the dogs who make San Marco the kind of place where people love to dine, visit, grab of cup of coffee, or just relax in the town square or one of the parks.  

Carly Gare is a native of Jacksonville, Florida.  She enjoys gymnastics and photography.  It was only natural for Carly to share her love of Jacksonville and especially the San Marco area with others in the form of this book.  As noted by Carly on the matching bookmark that comes with the book, "I hope you enjoy San Marco Dogs. I am proud that all of the proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to St. Francis Animal Hospital in San Marco, Florida." If you would like to order a book, please contact Henry Gare at garelaw@gmail.com.

Carly's parents, Henry and Karen Gare, are very proud of their daughter and her endless spirit of kindness and giving.  Henry Gare, a local attorney, has an office  just a short walk to San Marco Square and the local Starbucks.  As noted by Henry, "The wonderful residents of San Marco, both human and canine, bring the sense of small town values and community to an otherwise large city."  

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Carly Gare for her concerted acts of kindness and service.  Follow the example and lead of Carly Gare and perform your share of good deeds in the community. 

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us atgooddeedbrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com

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A Good Deed Initiated 30 Feet Underwater in the Florida Keys                                        Creekside Student - Samuel Williams

December 14, 2015

In Florida, we are quite fortunate to live close to the water and the within driving distance of one of the best diving spots around - The Florida Keys.  Certainly, there are a lot of activities and sites to see in the Florida Keys including the Southernmost Point, the Hemingway House, the Harry S. Truman Summer White House, Sloppy Joe’s Bar, and other places.  Many people visit the Florida Keys to enjoy the clear water around coral reefs and shipwrecks.  Divers range in age from children to seniors and in experience from novices to professionals.  Certainly, diving, whether free diving by snorkel or with full scuba gear, is an exciting activity filled with nature and wonderful aquatic scenery.  It is also an activity that is rife with risk, danger, and, in some instances, can even be deadly.  Because of this, there are times in which the presence and assistance of a kind and strong Samaritan swimmer can be the difference between life and death.  

Samuel Williams, age 18, is a senior at Creekside High School in St. Johns, Florida.  He is an avid swimmer who is quite competitive on his school’s swim team.  It was only natural for Samuel and his family to travel to the Florida Keys for a week of adventure. Samuel’s favorite activity in the Florida Keys is free diving.  His equipment is quite light - Speedo goggles, a snorkel, and shorts.   That is all Samuel needed to venture down into a shipwreck in over 30 feet of water.   As you can imagine, his free diving activities required a certain strength and stamina in order to safety maneuver over and in the shipwreck area.  Samuel credits his swimming strength and stamina to his countless hours of practice and competition in the pool swimming as a proud Creekside Knight.  During one of his dives down into the shipwreck area, Samuel noticed a woman in distress.  She was fully suited up in scuba gear and equipment; however, she seemed to be planted on the bottom of the sea floor.  As it turned out, her buoyancy compensator was damaged.  As such, the scuba diver was essentially stranded and her tank of oxygen had been depleted.  Because of this, she was at severe risks for drowning when Samuel arrived on the scene.  Samuel had to act quickly and use all of his strength and training to bring this scuba diver to the surface. He made sure the scuba driver dropped her diving weights and then he proceeded not only to bring her to the surface but then to her family’s boat that was on the way to search for the missing and stranded scuba diver.  

As a competitive swimmer, Samuel is at the peak of fitness only after countless hours of laps and training.   Certainly, it is rewarding to win a race and be counted as one of the top swimmers in St. Johns County; however, it is truly amazing to use your skills, strengths, and abilities to actually save a life.  Samuel, on that fateful day 30 feet deep in the midst of an old shipwreck, was not looking to save a life or was even on duty to watch out for others.  Fortunately for this stranded young scuba diver, it was Samuel who was in the area to save her.  The Good Deed Brigade salutes Samuel Williams for taking action and using his strength, stamina, and kindness to make a difference. His quick thinking and unselfish act truly saved the day for this stranded scuba diver.

Follow the lead and example of Samuel Williams and go out do your share of good deeds.   Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it’s all good.  

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue of The Creekline Newspaper on Page 23. Reprinted with the permission of The Creekline Newspaper.

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Strength in Numbers
Kind Hearts and Helping Hands
St. Johns Country Day School
Commitment to Service 

December 4, 2015

As so aptly said by journalist Mark Shields, "There is always strength in numbers. The more individuals or organizations that you rally to your cause, the better."   

St. Johns Country Day School is a Pre-K to 12th Grade private school located in Orange Park - Clay County, Florida.  On September 25, 2015, the Upper School student body embarked on an ambitious project - 1000 community service hours in just one day. Did the hard work and kind hearts of these students impact the North Florida community?  You better believe it.   The outpouring of community service and goodwill were great ways to help those in need and help foster the importance and value of giving and concerted acts of kindness.  Certainly, random acts of kindness help make the world a better place.   Holding open a door, buying a neighbor a cup of coffee, and offering a smile and kind word all make the day a bit brighter.  It should also be noted the concerted acts of kindness impact the community as well.   This is especially true when the importance of these values and work ethic are taught to and performed by the children in the community.   

 At St. Johns Country Day School, this wonderful day of service was organized by the SJCDS Interact Club, which shares the ideals of Rotary International and is sponsored by the Orange Park Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Fleming Island. At SJCDS, the Interact Club is ably led by Heather Velasco, a 10th grade teacher of Modern World History.  It was Ms. Velasco's vision, passion, leadership, and, yes, hard work that brought this special day together.  

The Rotary Club provides mentorship, leadership, and assistance in students' achieving their community service goals. The organizations served on this day of service included the following: Feeding Northeast Florida, I.M. Sulzbacher Center, Food Pantry of Green Cove Springs, The Clothes Closet and Food Pantry, Lighthouse Learning Center, P.E.T. (Personal Energy Transport) Project, Institute of Worship Studies, Habitat for Humanity of Clay County, Quigley House, SAFE Animal Shelter, Sanctuary on 8th, Clay County Dental Clinic, Westminster Woods, Ronald McDonald House, and Clay Humane Society.

 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the esteemed American author and poet (1807-1882), provided some wonderful advice that certainly can apply to even our technologically advanced world of today:

"The life of a man consists not in seeing visions and in dreaming dreams, but in active charity and in willing service." 

Simply stated, Longfellow encouraged people to take action rather than just sit around and think about it.  The students at St. Johns Country Day School certainly took this advice to heart and together performed over 1000 of service in one day.When the students at St. Johns Country Day School returned to campus after the long but fulfilling day of service, there was excitement and positive energy that filled the entire school. Students exchanged stories of their adventures and hard work out in the community helping others.  

It should be noted that September 25, 2015 was just one day of many during the school year and summer that students at SJCDS serve the community.   St. Johns Country Day School students understand that service to others is not limited to one day or one moment in time. There are opportunities on a daily basis to make a difference in the lives of others.  Certainly, September 25, 2015 was a day marked by the power of kind hearts and, yes, strength in numbers.

The Good Deed Brigade salutes the students at St. Johns Country Day School for their concerted acts of kindness and service.  Follow the example and lead of these students and go forth and perform good deeds in the community.   

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our  Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.

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Daughter in Wheelchair And Father Team Up 

to Be Great Part of High School Marching Band

November 17, 2015

Eva Houston, a freshman at Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska, has been playing the trumpet since she was in 5th grade.  She became a member of the high school marching band.   However, for the first two games, her playing was spent on the sidelines since she was in a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy.   

Part of the magic of being in the "marching" band is being on the field - front and center - for the crowd to see.  It was only natural that Eva wanted to be part of this experience.  The band instructor was fine with Eva being on the field but needed a person to push Eva in formation as Eva and the rest of the band played.  As such, not only did Eva need to learn the songs and be aware of the formations and movements but so did the person pushing the wheelchair.   Her father, Kevin, a veteran himself of high school and college marching bands, soon volunteered to be that person.  This required quite a commitment from both Kevin and Eva. Both had to attend practices four days a week to make sure that they were in sync with the rest of the band.  

As noted by Retired General Colin Powell,  "A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work."  Eva had a dream and sincere desire to fully participate as a member of the marching band.  This first started with a dream which, in turn, required action and a certain level of commitment by Eva, her father, and the marching band.  Certainly, on Friday nights in Omaha, Nebraska, the field is lit up by the presence, showmanship, and great music Eva Houston and the rest of the Westside High School Warriors Marching Band.

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Eva Houston, her wonderful parents - Kevin and Vicky, and the Westside High School Marching Band for showing the rest of us how dreams can turn into reality with some sweat, determination, hard work, and, yes, love.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good.   You can read more about Eva's adventures in the marching band at Dad Makes It Possible for Daughter in Wheelchair to March with Bandmates.

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our  Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.

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Veterans Day - Every Day? You Better Believe It!

(November 13, 2015)

November 11th marks the United States federal holiday of Veterans Day.  This holiday honors military veterans who served in the United States Armed Forces.  It is a day filled with parades, BBQs, family gatherings, and the recognition and respect for our military.  Certainly, we, as a people or nation, would not exist today with our freedoms, rights, and blessings without the service and sacrifice our our military service personnel.  However, we should re-think and re-adjust how we treat and honor our veterans. 

Certainly, the day of November 11th - Veterans Day - is a well respected holiday filled with people from all walks of life doing something worthy - honoring our veterans.  Let’s all take this a step further and make it a point and concerted effort to honor our veterans EVERY DAY. 

 That's right - Veterans Day should be celebrated every day.   If you meet a person who has served our country in any of the branches of the United States Armed Forces, thank that person directly and enthusiastically. There is no need to wait until November 11th to roll around to post a photo of a veteran, thank a veteran, or better yet perform a good deed or act of kindness on behalf of a veteran and his or her family.   

American author Tom Clancy (1947-2014), said it well, "The U.S. Military is us. There is no truer representation of a country than the people that it sends into the field to fight for it.  The people who wear our uniform and carry our rifles into combat are our kids, and our job is to support them, because they're protecting us." 

Let's take that positive energy from November 11th and continue to thank and respect our veterans throughout the year.  Veterans Day - Every Day?  You Better Believe It! 

Remember wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our  Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.

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Perform a Good Deed - Be or Gift Out a Worry Eater

(November 5, 2015)

All people including children have worries in life.  How in the world can being or gifting a Worry Eater be a good thing? What is a Worry Eater?  There is actually a toy on the market called a Worry Eater.  It is both simple and brilliant.  A Worry Eater toy is a stuffed animal with a mouth (pouch) that can be opened and closed with a zipper.  The idea with a Worry Eater is to write down a worry on a piece of paper and put the piece of paper in the Worry Eater's mouth.  Wouldn't it be wonderful if a Worry Eater could take in your worries and get rid of them?  In a way, a Worry Eater does this very thing.  A Worry Eater is a children's toy but the concept behind the Worry Eater can be used by people of all ages.

It can be quite freeing for a person to discuss worries with a friend, relative, neighbor, teacher, mentor, etc. . . .  This is the first step of a journey in many instances to getting a person beyond and above his or her worries.   You see being or giving a Worry Eater can be a good deed in many respects.

Have you been stressed out about something and a friend or relative came to your rescue by helping you cope with your worries?  Who have been Worry Eaters in your life?  Have you been a Worry Eater for your friends, relatives, children, and others?  How about being a Worry Eater for a total stranger?  

Many people by virtue of the profession or occupation serve as Worry Eaters on a daily basis.  These people include but certainly are not limited to our clergy, doctors, counselors / therapists, nurses, attorneys, teachers, coaches, servicemen, police, fire rescue personnel, etc . . .  This list can go on and on.  

Back to our friend - the Worry Eater toy.  A person can write a worry down on a piece of paper and put the worry in the mouth of the monster.  Reassuring and encouraging notes can also be placed in the mouth of the Worry Eater giving words of advice and support. 

Michelle Clendening owns and operates the 2 Teach Store located in St. Johns County, Florida.  This wonderful store carries a wide variety of educational products and Toys including, you guessed it right, Worry Eaters!  Hooray for Michelle Clendening for having the vision and insight to carry such an awesome product.  Here is a link to the website for the 2 Teach Store which is located at 2220 County Road 210 West, Suite 102, St. Augustine, Florida 32092 - (904) 476-6831.  You can purchase a Worry Eater in the store or order one online. 

The 2 Teach Store will donate a portion of each sale to the Betty Griffin House which offers protection and quality services for victims of Domestic Violence and their minor children and/or victims of Sexual Assault and their families of St. Johns County, Florida, through operation of a shelter offering assistance, counseling, and transitional support. Here is a link to read more about the Betty Griffin House.

Worry Eaters are available in large and small sizes in a variety of characters.  

1. Write down your worries and fears.

2. Feed them to me - I'll hold them for you.

3. We'll get through this together!

Meet Schnulli the Worry Eater. Let him carry your worries so you don't have to.

Now that you know more about the concept, simplicity, and brilliance of the Worry Eater, go forth and be or gift out a Worry Eater.    

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our  Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.

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Propelling the Right People to the Right Jobs - Amy and Bob McGeorge

(October 27, 2015)

There are some people by virtue of their jobs who perform good deeds every day.  There are some people by virtue of their awesome attitude who perform deeds every day.  Finally, there are some people who by virtue of their talents who perform good deeds every day.  Meet Amy and Bob McGeorge who embody all three attributes and more.   Amy and Bob own and operate ePropelr, a company that provides job coaching, career counseling, and job placement.  Amy and Bob also own and operate Peoplr, a company that serves employers in the areas of recruitment and outplacement.  

Unfortunately, downsizing and ecomonic fluctuations are part of our society.   Change is inevitable. Change can be quite tough especially when a person experiences it due to a job layoff or need to change a career.  Of course, there are also upswings in the economy that then provide a multitude of opportunities for those companies seeking employees and those applicants seeking jobs. 

Fortunately, there are skilled and caring people like Amy and Bob McGeorge hard at work to help candidates with the tools and coaching to land a job.   People know that an orthopedist fixes a broken bone, a plumber fixes a pipe, and a chef cooks a meal. It is not so obvious what to do or who to call when a job is needed, a career path is  changed, or a job search is conducted.  Yes, many people manage fine on their own to find that next job.    However, other people do struggle and need some professional help whether from Amy, Bob, or somebody else to get the right tools and approaches in place for a successful job search.  

Let's face it. Times have changed and will continue to change.   The mailed in paper resume and cover letter are, for the most part, things of the past.  We now live in the age of LinkedIn, Facebook, E-Mail, Monster.Com, CraigsList, and a number of other platforms to post a job and to seeks a job.   

There is an old Chinese saying as follows:

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. 

Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. 

Amy and Bob help a person learn to fish by teaching them about the current tools and techniques to find a job.  Is this really a "good deed?  Is being a caring and dedicated job coach really part of the Good Deed Brigade?  The simple answer is "absolutely yes".  

The truth is that neither Amy or Bob asked that this article be written.  The McGeorges and their awesome companies - Peoplr and ePropelr - are plenty busy.  Nonetheless, the Good Deed Brigade wanted to salute and celebrate efforts of this wonderful couple and their companies because their work not only changes the life of the job seeker but also the lives of the job seeker's family members and others around them.

The applicant is that much closer to finding a job when he or she engages the services of ePropelr.  A company is that much closer to finding the right candidate for an opening when it engages the services of Peoplr.  Of course, there are no guarantees of getting a particular position, placement, candidate, or salary; however, it is far better to go fishing with a good boat, fishing pole, net, and tackle box than to wade out into the current with your bare hands.  

When Amy and Bob are not busy with the commitments of their companies, you will find them out and about watching their teenage daughter, Kendall McGeorge, play golf.  You may also find the McGeorges, from time to time, taking a leisurely stroll (when they can) through their Clay County, Florida neighborhood. They also enjoy travel including visits with their teenage son, Kellen, who is attending school in Northern Michigan just across a bridge from Canada.

Just spend a few minutes with Amy and Bob and you will see how they are such assets to people and companies fortunate enough to work with them. Truly, Amy and Bob make a difference in many communities throughout the United States and for people on a daily basis. 

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Amy and Bob McGeorge for their dedication to people and for their sincere desire to make a difference. Follow the example set by the actions of Amy and Bob McGeorge and go out in your community to do your share of good deeds. Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

Here are links to read more about :

ePropelr

Peoplr

The ePropelr website is filled with antique toys that serve as icons. The website is well done and easy to navigate.  While this website filled with antique toys, these are the only antiquated items that you will find on the website.  The information, resources, and advice available on the website are current, up-to-date, and in tune with the fast paced tech world we live and work in. 

The Peoplr website is filled with simple common every day items like an apple and pen.  This website is also well done; however, it should be noted that there is nothing simple or easy about finding the right candidate for a successful company.  Peoplr uses its resources, experience, and extensive network to make things easy and simple for companies in search of employees.  

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our  Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.

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One Small Deed Can Lead to One Giant Life Saving Act

Cassi Imrie - College Student and Gift of Life Campus Ambassador

(September 30, 2015)

Residents of St. Johns County, Florida take enormous pride in its wonderful schools and neighborhoods, and it's great to see the children of this community go forth in the world to make a difference.  Consider the case of Cassi Imrie, who attended Cunningham Creek Elementary, Hickory Creek Elementary, Swiss Point Middle School, Fruit Cove Middle School, and Bartram Trail High School where she graduated in 2013.  She was Captain of the BTHS Cheer Team and a top five finalist in the Miss Bartram Pageant.  

Cassi was "living the dream" as an incoming freshman at the University of Florida, navigating her classes, meeting new friends, and pledging Alpha Delta Pi sorority.  Everything was going her way until October 22, 2013 - the day her mom, Leya Parker, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Daily visits with her mom at Shands Cancer Hospital at UF Health became part of her routine.  Five months of chemotherapy and one full body radiation took Leya to the edge of death many times, and Cassi was there for all of it.

In February of 2014, Leya received a bone marrow transplant from a complete stranger who happened to get tested at a Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation donor drive 18 months prior.  One small deed - a simple swab of the cheek - by an anonymous donor led to a perfect DNA match, and this one giant act of donating stem cells saved Leya's life.  Leya got to meet her donor, Johnathan Struhl, in person this past June in Manhattan at a fundraiser.  As you can imagine, the families have become close friends with a bond that will last a lifetime.

While Leya's four girls and husband all play a big role in her recovery, Cassi, will be working on University of Florida's campus as an Ambassador for Gift of Life.  Her goal is to add 1,000 new donors to the registry and fundraise to help offset the costs associated with testing. 

To date, Gift of Life has facilitated over 2,900 transplants and serves a vital function by matching anonymous donors with patients.  One in 200 Americans will require a stem cell or bone marrow transplant in their lifetime.  Gift of Life envisions a day where a match can be found  anytime, anywhere, for anyone.    

"I completed the application to serve as a Campus Ambassador," Cassi explains, "in part, to honor to spirit and kindness of my mother and her wonderful donor.  Gift of Life gave my family so much hope and such a special bond that I will strive to give back to this program and other people what they have given us."

Cassi is tasked with increasing awareness of the DNA Registry among UF students through promotion and donor drives.  To help Cassi and Gift of Life create more life-saving memories, visit www.GiftofLife.org to find out how to become part of the registry and otherwise contribute your time and resources to wonderful cause.  

Follow Cassi Imrie's lead, and do your share of good deeds in our community and beyond.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

This article originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of The Creekline Newspaper. Reprinted with the permission of The Creekline Newspaper.

Bone Marrow Foundation

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Charlotte Scott - A Helping Hand for Important Residents in Durbin Crossing - Our Pets 

(August 21, 2015)

In Durbin Crossing (St. Johns, Florida), we simply love our pets.   In each neighborhood, you will find dogs, cats, and other pets enjoying the lifestyle Durbin Crossing brings to them.  A dog in Durbin Crossing can sit back and enjoy the warm summer breeze, the fresh smell of the outdoors, a Geese sighting or two, and much more.   Typically, it is a fun filled and relaxing day for our furry little friends.   During the summer time and other parts of the year, Durbin Crossing pets need to be cared for when their owners are out of town.  

There are several options:  a friend, relative, kennel, or pet sitting service.   It is not always practical to have a friend or family member burdened with the responsibility of pet sitting.  Furthermore, a kennel takes the dog out of his or her familiar environment and into a new one, which may not be too pleasant or home like to the eyes, ears, and / or smell of the pet.   Enter Charlotte Scott of Paws and Claws Pet Sitting.  

After working for many years in corporate America, Charlotte Scott began her life long dream of starting a business, which focused on the protection and proper care of pets.   While most of her “clients” are dogs and cats, she welcomes other challenges and adventures as well in the field of pet sitting.   Her current clientele includes a pig, horses, a squirrel, and a variety of other pets except for snakes.   The pig that comes under Charlotte’s care every few months or so has doubled in size since Charlotte began pet sitting for the pig.  

The services of Paws and Claws Pet Sitting go beyond the task of letting the dog out and providing the dog some company.  Paws and Claws also provide transportation to and from the groomer or vet, nail clipping, and medication administration for those pets on the mend or that have ongoing health issues.  All of the pet sitters are responsible adults who go through training, a background check, and oversight from Charlotte.  Of course, the business would be no fun if Charlotte just was an administrator / owner and not an active pet sitter. That’s right, Charlotte still makes runs on a daily basis to care for a pet who needs help when the owner is out of town or otherwise occupied by personal or work responsibilities. 

Charlotte takes care of pets throughout parts of St. Johns and Duval Counties.  As noted by Charlotte, “the most important goal of Paws and Claws Pet Sitting is to provide peace of mind by taking care of your pets the same way we take care of our own.”   That’s right, Charlotte is a proud pet owner as well.  Currently, there are two cats and two dogs in the Scott family household.   Charlotte provided care to a baby squirrel, which suffered neurological issues and was deemed unreleasable. This squirrel, also known as Baby Girl took up residence for more than 2 years at the Scott household.  Then, the squirrel finally decided to go on her way with her other squirrel buddies.   As you can see, Charlotte Scott’s commitment to animals ranges from the very small to the very large.  You can read about Charlotte’s services on her website at http://www.paws-n-clawspetsitting.com/

Thank you Charlotte Scott of Paws and Claws Pet Sitting for providing wonderful care to some very important residents of Durbin Crossing - our pets.   Follow the lead and example set by Charlotte Scott and do your best to make a difference in the community.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it’s all good. 

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of Durbin Crossing Living, published by the Florida-Times Union.    

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A Lasting Good Deed - Helping The Fisherman

There are good deeds, which are short in duration and others which truly have lasting effect.  As a general statement, all good deeds make the community a better place.  So, how is helping the "fisherman" a lasting good deed?  Can every person in the community help the "fisherman"?  Let's first discuss the concept of the "fisherman" in context of this article.  There is a wonderful saying that has stood the test of time from the Spanish philosopher Maimonides as follows:

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

In writing this article, I refer to the "fisherman" as any person searching for a job or any small business seeking additional customers.  Here is another question to consider for yourself:  How can I help the "fisherman"? This is simple. Merely have your eyes and ears open for opportunities for those in the community seeking a job.  Do the same for small business owners by referring leads and additional customers to other small business owners.  Being aware that a friend or contact is seeking a job is important. You may find out about the job search by the "fisherman", friends, family members, social media, etc. . . Once you become aware, be willing to help.  Make a call on behalf of that person seeking a job if you know somebody at a company where have a connection. Provide job leads of which you become aware to aspiring "fisherman".   If you are in a position to write a recommendation or an online review on Linked In or Google Plus for the job seeker, do that as well.  You can also do all of these things for small businesses.  

It is abundantly clear that every person in the community can help the "fisherman" from the stay at home parent to the corporate CEO to every one in between. It starts with a strong desire to help and then some effort to provide information, recommendations, and resources to the aspiring and opportunistic "fisherman".  Of course, as noted by Maimonides, there is a certain value and importance to the "fisherman" learning a job skill or trade and becoming, in essence, independent. However, this does not mean that the "fisherman" has to find the best fishing spots or navigate the waters all by him or herself. 

Landing a job provides both confidence and income to the "fisherman".  This then has a ripple effect to the family of the "fisherman" as well as the community as a whole.  Certainly, performing a random act of kindness in the form of a free cup of coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin' Donuts can give a person that extra lift to his or her day. However, helping a person land a job is a true life-changer especially a job that turns into a career at a company, business, or organization.  

Now, go forth with the intent, desire, and effort to help the "fisherman".  The Good Deed salutes the "fisherman" and all those willing to help the "fisherman" land that next catch.   Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it’s all good.

This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of The Creekline Newspaper.

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A Daily Good Deed That Each Community Member Can Perform

Is there really a daily good deed that each community member can perform?  The answer is “Of course, there is.”   Here is a top ten list.  Pick one good deed to perform every day.  Of course, you can pick more than one, perform them all, and / or go off of the list to perform a good deed, random act of kindness, and long term commitment act of giving to help others and make a difference. 



10.  Post a nice comment about a friend, neighbor, or local business on Facebook, NextDoor, Twitter, etc. . . 

9.    Give a compliment in person to a friend, neighbor, or local business. 

8.    Write a thank you note, congratulatory note, get well card, etc. . . to a friend or neighbor.

7.    Support a local business as a customer every chance you get. 

6.    Volunteer your time or donate to a local school, non-profit organization, or club.

5.    Donate blood.  It literally saves lives and costs you nothing but a little bit a time. 

4.    Drive very, very slowly in all of the neighborhoods and elsewhere where children are present.

3.   Donate food and funds to a local food bank or homeless shelter.   Most of us certainly can spare a can of food and more to help others less fortunate.

2.  Maintain your home, yard, and otherwise keep your neighborhood the beautiful place that it is. 

1.  Be kind, friendly, and do your best to make a difference for others every chance you get. 

The Good Deed Brigade is based here in Durbin Crossing.  The mission of the Good Deed Brigade is to promote the actions and kindness of people making a difference in the community.  By completing this mission, the Good Deed Brigade hopes to encourage others to do their part to make the community a better place.  Visit the Good Deed Brigade online at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/GoodDeedBrigade.

This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of Durbin Crossing Living, published by the Florida-Times Union.    

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20 Years on the Job and Going Strong The Work Ethic and Adventures of Doug Fry

(July 29, 2015)

Years ago, it was quite common to see people on the job for 20 years or more.  There was a certain stability of work and loyalty on both sides of the job (employee and employer).  These days are quite different.  You do not as frequently or commonly see that kind of work commitment or loyalty. However, there are still some dedicated individuals who shine because of their work ethic and loyalty to the company and its customer base. 


Meet Doug Fry just once and you will see for yourself what it takes to remain on the job for 20 years with a certain spirit and work style that others appreciate and should emulate.  

Currently, Doug, a 38 year old young man with Down Syndrome, works at the Southside Publix located in the Tinseltown area of Jacksonville, Florida.  He works as a Customer Service Associate. He helps bag groceries, takes groceries to the cars of customers, cleans up the front end when needed, and also does some stocking.  Doug makes it a point to greet customers and to help out any way he can.   As noted on the Publix Website, Publix was founded by George W. Jenkins. "His dream was to open a store that was different - a store that operated on a set of values that everyone could feel when they walked through the door."   It is clear that Doug Fry, through his kindness and strong work ethic, helps promote these values.  Doug is the kind of person who is admired by both co-workers and customers alike.

Over the years, Doug has been offered a number of jobs by other companies, restaurants, and businesses.  While Doug was flattered to be in such high demand, he understands the importance of keeping one's word and committing to a job.  

Beyond his work, Doug enjoys his free time with family and friends.   He does not fear new challenges but he welcomes them.  Doug's wonderful outlook on life, honesty, and sense of adventure prompted his father - Gary Fry - to write a book about Doug.   The book - titled "Doug's Story" - covers many of Doug's adventures and life experiences.   As noted by Gary, "Doug's zest for life results, in part, from his inquisitive nature and his confidence."  For example, under prior baseball management, Doug was given a Jacksonville Suns uniform to help present lineups to the umpire.  When the management of the Jacksonville Suns changed this year, it appeared that Doug had lost some of his valuable contacts and the privilege of being on the field before games.   On his own accord, Doug went to the Jacksonville Baseball Grounds and requested to speak to the new manager of the team.  A short time later, Doug was out on the field in uniform to present the lineups.  As noted by Doug himself, "This is my way to help cheer on the team which is a great part of Jacksonville. Go Suns!

The book - "Doug's Story" - is filled with a number of other stories that we can all enjoy and, at times, marvel at.  Nora Roberts, an American author, seems to sum up how Doug lives his life.  Here is a great quote to keep in mind:

"If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no. If you don't step forward, you're always in the same place."  

Doug Fry's world, work ethic, and adventures are filled with about every word except "don't" or "can't".   The book - "Doug's Story" - is complete and available at Barnes & Noble, barnesandnoble.com, Amazon, and Kindle; however, Doug's work for the wonderful customers of Publix is far from over. Doug plans on working for Publix for many years into the future while also living life to the fullest.

Follow the lead and example set by Doug Fry and live life to the fullest. Along the way, put in a hard day's work and treat others with respect and courtesy.  The Good Deed Brigade salutes Doug Fry on his 20 years with Publix, his sense of adventure, and his zest for life. 

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. Pay it forward. Do your part. Please visit the Good Deed Brigade Website and the Good Deed Brigade Facebook Page.  

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.    

This article originally appeared in the July 2015 issue of The Creekline Newspaper.

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Making Sure That Education and Injury Prevention are Part of Youth Sports: Bob Sefcik

(June 25, 2015)

Throughout North Florida, you will see children playing organized baseball, football, soccer, basketball, and other sports year round.   With our warm weather and abundance of public sports fields and complexes, our children have so many opportunities to play recreational and competitive sports.   While there are so many positives associated with youth sports, there are also many risks to the athletes.  Safety training and development should be part of every youth sports program no matter the age or competitive level. Meet Bob Sefcik who is certainly doing his part to serve the community and the best interests of student athletes in North Florida and beyond.

Bob Sefcik became the Executive Director of the Jacksonville Sports Medicine Program, a non-profit community health care coalition focused on youth sports injury prevention in 2006. Under his leadership, this program has become known as a leading advocate for sports injury prevention in the North Florida region.   Currently, this program partners with the Duval County Public Schools, the Nassau County Public Schools as well as having close relationships with many other programs throughout the region. 

JSMP serves to facilitate high quality relationships with local athletic trainers, team physicians, and other sports medicine providers through educational events and promotion of best practices.  Several committees and work groups have been generated from this organization including the Northeast Florida Regional Sports Concussion Task Force, which has contributed many components to the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) for inclusion into statewide policy. 

He serves the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) as the Chairman of the Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and also Chairs the subcommittee on hydration and acclimatization while serving on the concussion subcommittee.  As an adjunct professor at the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University, he frequently lectures and leads discussion groups on sports safety and education.   He is currently licensed as an athletic trainer in both Florida and Georgia.

On any given day in North Florida, you will hear the cheers and applause for the youth athletes.  Whether it is a home run, goal, 3 pointer, or touchdown, parents are there on the sidelines cheering on their children and the team.  Certainly, a great play and that extra effort are worthy of praise.   It is also important that we applaud, praise, and thank the coaches, league organizers, and, yes, the athletic trainers like Bob Sefcik who are on the sidelines and behind the scenes to make the sporting world safer for the children.  Of course, the safety of the children should be a paramount concern for all people participating in or connected to youth sports. 

Bob and his wife, Jill, reside in St. Augustine.  Their children are extremely active in athletic programs at St. Augustine High School as well as The Florida Elite Soccer Academy and Jacksonville Academy of Gymnastics.  Their oldest daughter attends Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. The Good Deed Brigade salutes Bob Sefcik for his work in the community and his daily efforts to make a difference in youth sports safety. 

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. Pay it forward. Do your part. Please visit the Good Deed Brigade Website and the Good Deed Brigade Facebook Page.  

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.    

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of The Creekline Newspaper.

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Simple Way to Feel and Be Valuable - Marcus Laster

(June 11, 2015)

Right here in Durbin Crossing (St. Johns, Florida) which is between Jacksonville and St. Augustine, we are quite fortunate to live in a neighborhood  that is safe, supportive, and friendly.  We have sidewalks, parks, and lots of greenery.  Most importantly, we have each other.  Whether it is a kind note on Facebook or NextDoor or a warm hello at Publix, the people who call Durbin Crossing home are genuine, down to earth, and, yes, neighborly.  It is important to step back during our normal routines and give thanks for what we have, who we are, and what we can do for others.  

One of our wonderful neighbors - Marcus Laster - has done just that and more.   After achieving what outwardly appeared to be “ uccess" through higher education and career advancement, Marcus knew that there was something more to life and certainly a greater mission in life that he not only should be doing but needed to do for himself and others.   

As such, Marcus, through some concerted thought, organization, and, yes, prayer, set out to write a book to help others.   Life's Simple Equation - Ridiculously Easy Ways to Feel and Be Valuable - was recently published and is available in hardback, paperback, and e-book formats.  

When you first meet Marcus, you will see a well-spoken, tall, athletic, educated, and friendly husband and father of two.  As a former sportscaster, Marcus is quite articulate but he is also a terrific listener. Marcus genuinely cares for his friends, neighbors, and even people he meets for the first time.  By outward appearances, you would never know that Marcus grew up in what seemed to be an endless cycle of poverty, eviction, and strife in Missouri and Pennsylvania. Thanks to some wonderful mentors and a love for basketball, Marcus was able to get through college - Winthrop University - where in his senior year he was a scoring leader.  He then embarked on careers in modeling, broadcasting, and finally a sales management career with a national pharmaceutical company.  

You will read about Marcus' journey in the book.  As pointed out by Marcus, "the book is less about me and more about you."  Marcus was able to write this book based on his life experiences, struggles, successes, and most importantly his faith.   Yes, there is a simple equation set forth in the book that every person can evaluate, study, reflect, and master through the wonderful and real life advice that effortlessly flow page by page in the book.  It was quite interesting to read about Marcus' life experiences and how they have affected him in both the positive and negative.  It is also refreshing to read about Marcus' epiphany in getting most out of "Life's Simple Equation" and truly living a more fulfilled life.   

You can read more about our wonderful neighbor at his website - www.marcuslaster.com.  Marcus and his wife, Molly, a fitness coach, along with their two boys, are proud to call Durbin Crossing home.  Certainly, the tranquility, support, and beauty of Durbin Crossing helped Marcus fulfill one of his many life goals in writing the book and getting it published.  Do you want to lead a more fulfilled life and feel valuable?  Then, follow the example set by Marcus Laster.   "Despite life's past or present challenges, you can take steps to build yourself up and make the conscious choice to do those things that make us feel and be valuable."

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good.  Pay it forward. Do your part.  Please visit the Good Deed Brigade Website and the Good Deed Brigade Facebook Page.  

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.    

This article originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Durbin Crossing Living, published by the Florida-Times Union.   

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A One Small Step to Help . . . A Bunch of Giant Leaps for Deserving Children

(JCA Summer Camp - Tilt Campaign)

(June 1, 2015)

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For many children, summertime is filled with the joy of camp where they can run, play, swim, and adventure in a safe environment lead by a team of responsible counselors and volunteers.  Unfortunatey for many children due to the limited financial resources of their paents, summer camp is only something that other children can enjoy.  The Jacksonville Jewish Community Alliance, through its wonderful staff in the Communications and Camp Departments, set up a Tilt Campaign to help out deserving children who would like to attend camp but cannot afford to pay the costs.  

A child can attend an entire summer of fun, adventure, exercise, and, yes, learning for about $1,500.  Do you want to send a deserving child to camp?  Certainly, you would but $1,500 is a sizable donation.  Rather than solicit one large or a few large donations, the JCA put a Tilt Campaign in place which is a form of crowdfunding. Whether a person donates $1, $5, $10, or more dollars, it all counts to a common and admirable goal of sending deserving children to camp.   Do you want to "Tilt" to make a difference? Well, here is your chance.  Here is a link to read about the JCA Summer Camp Tilt Campaign. 

JCA Send a Kid to Camp Tilt Campaign

By making just a small donation, you can be in the company of some wonderful people who have already supported this campaign including the Camp Director, Fitness Director, and others.  

Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. Pay it forward. Do your part. Please visit the Good Deed Brigade Website and the Good Deed Brigade Facebook Page.  

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A Doctor Everyone Can See . . . Everyone Should See

(May 26, 2015)

In 2015, we live in an age of specialization.  This is certainly the situation when it comes to seeing a doctor.  We have pediatricians, neurologists, anesthiologists, surgeons, opthamalogists, and a host of otherr specialitist in the medical field.  With all of these specialists, is there really a doctor who everyone can see and everyone should see?  Can a person who is 100 years old see the same doctor as a toddler who is only 3 years old?  Can this be? Does this particular doctor who can be and should be seen by everyone really exist?  Well, the answer is a resounding YES.  An affirmative answer that is filled with rhyme, reason, animation, goodwill, and, last but not least, timeless wisdom.  One particular doctor who can and should be seen by the young, the old, and everyone in between is Dr. Seuss. While many people may think that the words, work, and wisdom of Dr. Seuss is only geared to children, the truth is that the books of Dr. Seuss are for people of all ages and walks of life.  

Theodor Seuss Geisel (1904 - 1991) was an American writer and cartoonist.  He is most recognized under the pen name - Dr. Seuss.   He is credited as the author in 46 books including The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  Many of the books were transformed into cartoons, television shows, and movies.   There are recurrent messages, morals, and humor that can be easily applied to the daily lives of everybody - not just children.  Let's take a look at some excerpts from some of these books and the theme or thought brought out by the quote.

EMPOWERMENT

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.  You're on your own, and you know what you know.  And you are the guy who'll decide there to go.  

Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

INDIVIDIUALISM

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! 

Happy Birthday to You!

EDUCATION / KNOWLEDGE

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. 

I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

ADVENTURE / OPTIMISM

Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one. 

One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.

Of course, there are thousands of phrases written by Dr. Seuss which can easily be referenced and applied to our daily lives and events.  The words and images of Dr. Seuss can and do brighten the world of millions of children every day.   Let’s not forget what these words did for us as children and what these words can do for us as adults.   There it is - a doctor for all ages and for all people. It is clear that the words and wisdom of Dr. Seuss are timeless.   Here is one last excerpt by Dr. Seuss to certainly keep in mind every day — Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. The Lorax.  

Keep the words and advice of Dr. Seuss in mind throughout the day.  Hopefully, this will help motiviate you to do your best and to help others.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good.   Please visit the Good Deed Brigade at www.GoodDeedBrigade.com and at www.Facebook.com/GoodDeedBrigade.  

This article originally appeared in the May 2015 Issue of The CreekLine, published by RT Publishing, Inc. www.thecreekline.com.    

*For those who want to read more about the origin of the term “Pay It Forward” Click Here. 

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Life Lessons in Overcoming Obstacles from a Carpet Cleaner

April 13, 2015

There are life lessons to be learned every day.  Certainly, life lessons can be learned from great leaders and historic speeches, but there are also plenty of lessons to be learned from work efforts and deeds by everyday people in and around the community.  Dave Gill is the owner and operator of the family business – Julington Creek Carpet Care.   Dave and his staff are not just ordinary, everyday carpet and floor cleaners.  They take their work and craft very seriously and go out on each job with the mission to get the work done no matter the obstacle or mess.   Along with this serious and dedicated work ethic comes a 30 day guarantee that the carpet / floor remains clean even if you or a guest mess up the carpet or floor again during the 30 day period following the cleaning.   Going back to the topic at hand, what life lessons can be learned from a carpet cleaner of all people?  Well, there are plenty of life lessons but one recent cleaning adventure spoke volumes of Dave Gill and his staff.  

Julington Creek Carpet Care periodically provides service to Marineland, which is located in St. Augustine, Florida.   As a tourist attraction and year-round classroom, the floors and carpet need maintenance and cleaning to make sure that the common and private areas are clean, hygienic, and safe.   During most visits to Marineland, the cleaning process is no different that the many movie theaters and businesses that Dave and his staff are called in to clean.  However, on one occasion recently, the cleaning mission was much different.  One of the staff members called Dave over and asked Dave to clean another part of Marineland.   The staff member pointed to a large research shipping vessel that was anchored offshore within Dave’s vision but nowhere near the dock or land.   Not afraid of new challenges, Dave immediately put his mind to work as to how to get his staff and $4,000 piece of cleaning equipment on that ship.  A smaller boat was called in by Marineland to transport the staff and the equipment; however, Dave still had to carry the large and heavy piece of equipment from the dock to the small boat.   There was a 4 to 5 foot gap or drop involved with the transfer.   One slip of the wrist and the equipment would have been submerged and ruined beyond repair.   Dave took this risk because he wanted to be able to provide the needed service to the client.  With some muscle and careful work, the equipment was put in place and the research vessel was cleaned and serviced as needed.

Yes, there it is . . . a life lesson from a Carpet Cleaner.  Actually, there were many life lessons including the following:

  *Provide quality work and you will get more of it;

  *Guarantee the quality of your work;

  *Do not shy away from new challenges;

  *Keep words like “can’t” and “unable to” out of your business vocabulary whenever possible; and

  *With tough tasks, roll up your sleeves and also pay attention to detail.

You see how much can be learned from a Carpet Cleaner.

This article originally appeared in the April 2015 issue of Durbin Crossing Living, published by the Florida-Times Union.  

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We Can’t Help Everyone, but Everyone Can Help Someone

March 3, 2015

These powerful and insightful words did not originate from my pen or my keystroke.  These wonderful words were given to us by the 40th President of the United States - Ronald Reagan. "We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone."  Whether the good deeds of a person span a lifetime like Mother Theresa or just span a moment of time in the form of a random act of kindness, our community is a better place when we help others.

There was a great story posted online and in the media that involved a Target store employee and a young man buying a tie to go on a job interview at a Chik Fil A restaurant.  The young man was looking for a clip on tie for the interview.   This particular Target store did not carry clip on ties but did carry regular ties.  One of the store employees took the time and effort to help this young man make a proper tie.  The store employee went even further by giving the young man some tips when the young man went on his interview.   Another person took a photo of the moment in time in which help was rendered to this young man. 

The beauty of the Target tie story is that the help was rendered from the heart without any expectation of money, fame, or recognition.  The young man must also be applauded for his effort to present himself in the best manner possible for the job interview and to accept the advice of a kind stranger with humility and gratitude. 

Keep this story and the words of Ronald Reagan in mind every day.  Certainly, you can help somebody today.  Pay it forward. Do your part.   

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 issue of Durbin Crossing Living, published by the Florida-Times Union.  

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Hershey The Therapy Dog Makes Headlines (Read to Rover Program)

February 4, 2015

Dogs are great companions.  On any given day in Durbin Crossing, you will see your neighbors and friends walking and playing with their dogs.   It is the beginning of the New Year and many dog owners are out and about exercising with their dogs.  Our dogs are also great substitutes for electric blankets on the cold winter nights.   Many doctors believe that the presence and companionship of a dog can even lower blood pressure.  The benefits of dog ownership and companionship are apparent and many.  There is yet another power of dogs that may not be so apparent.  Dogs can help teach kids to read.  

At the Southeast Branch of the St. Johns County Library located at 6670 U.S. 1 South, St. Augustine, Florida, you will find some of the best reading companions in North Florida.   Read to Rover is community based reading program open to beginning readers.   The magic fills the room with children eager to read and therapy dogs eager to listen.   As you know, reading takes practice.  The therapy dogs are quite patient, friendly, and ready for the next story with a smile and wagging tail.  If a child struggles with a reading passage, it is just fine with the trained therapy dog that loves each and every story whether it is read with perfection or with some mistakes along the way. 

The dogs in the Read to Rover Program are all registered therapy dogs.  The dog breeds / sizes range in size from an Italian Greyhound to a Great Pyrenees.  Hershey, an Italian Greyhound, looks forward to her Saturday “Rover” days when she gets a nice ride in the car, a quick walk around the grounds of the library, and then a great hour of reading.   It is quite a treat for Hershey as well as the children attending the Read to Rover Program.  As so aptly said by photographer and writer Roger Caras, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole."  The staff at the St. Johns County Library – Southeast Branch – and all the volunteers and dog handlers deserve a great big thank you for providing this wonderful program for the children in the community. 

The Read to Rover Program truly makes reading a positive experience for the children.   For more information about Read to Rover, contact the Southeast Branch at (904) 827-6900 or visit the website at St. Johns Library Southeast Branch.

This article originally appeared in the February 2015 issue of Durbin Crossing Living, published by the Florida-Times Union.    

*For those who want to read more about the origin of the term “Pay It Forward” Click Here. 

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How a “Jellybean" Made a Difference for a Lonely Goat - The Power of Friendship 

January 1, 2015

A goat named Mr. G was rescued from an animal hoarding situation in California.  He was taken to a wonderful sanctuary.  Although he otherwise appeared healthy, he stopped eating and functioning upon arrival at the sanctuary.  This went on for 6 days.  The rescuers were confused by Mr. G's behavior and were intent on finding out what was wrong with this otherwise nice goat.  As it turns out, Mr. G. was reacting to the separation from his friend Jellybean, a burro.   

This 3 minute video shows the value and importance of friendship.  Even though Mr. G. and Jellybean previously lived in horrible conditions, there was a wonderful thing that developed during the ordeal - a friendship built upon trust, companionship, and comfort.    

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Link to You Tube Video - Mr. G and Jellybean

Take a few moments to view the video and then take the time to thank a friend for his or her support, friendship, and comfort.   

The Good Deed Brigade wishes everyone a Happy 2015 New Year filled with health, prosperity, and, yes, good friendships.  

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.   

*For those who want to read more about the origin of the term "Pay It Forward" Click Here. 

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An Ambassador at the Campus of the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind

December 9, 2014

Right here in North Florida, we have a school that has earned a reputation for quality education at its highest level.  The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind (FSDB) was founded in 1885 in St. Augustine, Florida.  It has students enrolled from all parts of Florida.  Currently, the school has approximately 600 students comprising of approximately 400 deaf / hard of hearing students and 200 blind / visually impaired students. Of this student population, approximately 400 students reside in dormitories during the week and return home every weekend to spend time with their families.  Roughly 200 day students reside in St. Johns County and nearby counties.  The school also has parent advisors who work with nearly 400 infants, toddlers and their families throughout the State of Florida. All in all, FSDB serves roughly 1000 pre-school, high school, and continuing education students.

The Good Deed Brigade recently visited the school and was lucky to have Rick Coleman as the tour guide.  It was truly the experience of a lifetime entering through the gates of FSDB and getting a glimpse of this awesome campus.

At the beginning of the tour, Coleman stated, "You are about to see the best school in the State of Florida for the deaf and the blind. In fact, you are about to see the best public school in the State of Florida all around."

With that statement of both pride and confidence, Coleman began the tour. He briefly introduced himself as a 26-year State of Florida employee as a parent specialist with the FSDB Parent Services department, a 22-year veteran of the Navy (he was a sonar technician), and, most importantly, a proud parent of a graduate of FSDB.

At the school, the campus includes 45 major buildings, such as administration buildings, music hall, a full service police / security building, health car center, a cafeteria, chapel, three gymnasiums, 850-capacity  auditorium, dormitories, football / track field, baseball field, classrooms, library and media centers, and a number of common areas for the students and staff to use and enjoy.  The classrooms and the libraries were the highlights of the tour. It was a campus full of learning, joy, and support.

Coleman, in a soft spoken and humble manner, recounted all of the wonderful times and milestones for his daughter who graduated from FSDB in 1997. She was a four-year varsity volleyball player, a prom queen, and an honor student.  His daughter went on to college and graduated with a degree in education.   

During the tour, Coleman provided a brief history of the school and noted the changes that have taken place during the year.  It was interesting to see one of the libraries that housed many braille text and reference books. One set of books was located on the top shelf - it was a series that had 72 volumes and looked like a full encyclopedia set.  In actuality, this was the 72-volume braille version of a one-volume standard print dictionary.  The other library had an abundance of videos in American Sign Language format. There are just two examples of many of the resources for the students at FSDB.

After the tour of the school, it was clear to me that Coleman's initial statements were absolutely accurate. The Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind is the best school in the State of Florida.  It is something that we as Floridians should be proud of in every respect. Visit the FSDB website at www.fsdb.k12.fl.us/ to find out about upcoming events. Located in the heart of historic St. Augustine, it would be well worth the time and effort to experience the events at the school, some of which are open to the public (such as the annual Holiday Concert). The wonderful staff members at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind certainly help promote the school's overall mission and its motto as posted on the website:  Do More. Be More. Achieve More.  

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Rick Coleman for his dedication and support of FSDB.  Follow his lead and example and do your share of good deeds in the community.  

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.   

This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue of The CreekLine, published by RT Publishing, Inc. www.thecreekline.com.    

*For those who want to read more about the origin of the term “Pay It Forward” Click Here. 

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 A Difference Maker in the Heart of the Nation:  

Molly Schneider - Sporting Kansas City Soccer

September 3, 2014

There are three things emphasized in Molly Schneider's impressive professional and playing resume:  1.  Soccer;  2. Soccer; and 3.  Soccer.   Yes, that's right.  Molly Schneider's resume is filled with a life dedicated to soccer.   Currently, Molly is the Manager of Camps and Special Events with Sporting Kansas City - a Major League Soccer (MLS) team.  The Sporting saw the value and experience of Molly and brought her onboard in June 2014.   I had the pleasure of serving as a volunteer for a program directed by Molly Schneider at Creeks Soccer in St. Johns, Florida known as the Center of Excellence. I have seen first hand Molly's skill set and her passion for the game. She also has that special ability to connect, mentor, and teach kids soccer from the ground up.   From basic skill training to advanced skill training to everything in between, Molly is the kind of coach who is right there on the field demonstrating techniques, running drills, and encouraging each player to do his or her best during every play, practice, and game. Whether it is a championship game or a weekly practice, Molly's enthusiasm and positive attitude are constants.  In sports and especially youth sports, it is important to have a consistent, reliable, experienced, and positive mentor in place like Molly Schneider.


At Sporting Kansas City, Molly directs and manages all camps including youth, recreation, competitive, development, and goalkeeper camps.  She develops the curriculum, logistics, marketing and budget.   She also serves as the Tournament Director for the KC All Girls Showcase.  Being part of a MLS team is a wonderful part of her job.  As such, Molly is able to assist with the Sporting game day experiences and many other events.    

Molly did not just walk into the job with Sporting Kansas City. There were many years of hard work and study that led to this awesome job.   She attended the University of Wisconsin and the University of Minnesota. She played and started as goalkeeper in each of these Division I NCAA Women's Soccer Programs.  Molly graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Kinesiology.  She briefly played professional soccer as well.  

When her professional playing days ended, Molly's love and dedication to the game of soccer never wavered as she embarked on a collegiate and youth coaching career.   She served as coach and trainer at the Minnesota Olympic Development Program, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, Gonzaga University, Creeks Athletic Association (Creeks Soccer), University of North Florida, U.S. Soccer, and Jacksonville FC.  She has a USSF National "C" License, a NSCAA Goalkeeper Level III Diploma, and a Fitour Advanced Personal Trainer license.   

As you can see, Molly's soccer resume is impressive and extensive.  Molly is one of those rare soccer coaches who has successfully trained players ranging in age from 5 years old to adults.  Some soccer coaches excel in training young children. Others excel in the collegiate ranks.   Molly has some how been able to train players of all ages and skill sets.  What sets Molly apart is her attitude, communication skills, mindset, and respect for each and every player as well as the game itself.  

In her playing days from elementary through college, Molly spent countless hours on the field but she balanced soccer with her studies.  This hard work and dedication resulted in Molly being honored as a scholar athlete at two major colleges.   Along the way, she realized that her playing days would be limited. Molly clearly knew that education was going to be a key building block to her future success.   

In Kansas City, you will find Molly Schneider on the soccer field and in the community. She is there teaching basic and advanced soccer skills and also providing some life lessons to the thousands of players she comes in contact with.   Coach Molly will tell you the importance of controlling the ball, making a strong shot, and being in the right field position.  She will also tell you the importance of completing school work, studying for exams, having goals on and off the field, and being a good person.  As noted by Coach Molly, "Soccer can and does teach so much.  A good coach will value each and every player and take the effort to make every game, practice, and training session meaningful and positive experiences."


Molly has a wonderful soccer resume and pedigree. Sporting Kansas City and the surrounding community are lucky to have such an awesome coach to serve as a coach and mentor to the players enrolled in the various camps and programs. Kansas City is certainly a better place thanks to the work, attitude, and good examples set forth by Molly Schneider. 

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Molly Schneider for her dedication and awesome attitude on the job as a coach and mentor with Sporting Kansas City.  Follow the example set by both the words and actions of Molly Schneider and go out in your community and do your share of good deeds. Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good.   

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.  

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Swimming Lessons and a Spirit That Make a Difference: Casey Miller  

July 15, 2014

In Florida, summer is a wonderful time to enjoy our many swimming pools, beaches, and aquatic areas. Lifeguards are vital to the safety of not only our young swimmers but all swimmers.  An attentive and well trained lifeguard truly makes a difference in the community.  One such lifeguard is Casey Miller. 

Jacksonville's Jewish Community Alliance, otherwise known as the JCA, runs a nationally recognized summer camp program as well as a wide variety of swimming programs throughout the year.   The pools are supervised and monitored by a number of trained lifeguards, including Casey Miller.   During the summer time, the pools are filled with young swimmers from the summer camp.   Casey, who is 18 years old, previously attended the JCA as a camper.   As noted by Casey, "My experience at the JCA has been a special one, but there's no question as to why it has been so great! I pretty much grew up at the JCA, which is a very large reason I am the person I am today."  
 
Some people go to work because they have to.  Others go to work to give them something to do.  Casey applied for the job of lifeguard at the JCA because he wanted to.  Furthermore, he saw it as a great opportunity to give back to the community.  Once he taught his first group of children some basic swimming skills - Casey knew that he made the right choice in working at the JCA.  As further noted by Casey, "I feel like it is most important to get the kids comfortable with the water, which is why I like to incorporate fun games and laughter into the lesson. This way the children will have a positive outlook on swimming and want to do it more often. As I teach the children today, I would like to think I am just passing down my knowledge from what I was taught as a young boy at the JCA."
 
Casey's attitude on the job and his outlook on life are certainly refreshing and impressive.  He graduated from Paxon High School in May 2014 and will be attending Florida State College at Jacksonville.   He plans on attending Florida Atlantic University located in Boca Raton in the Spring of 2015.  As part of the JCA lifeguard team, Casey received training through the American Red Cross, including advanced training as a Water Safety Instructor (WSI).  In addition to his work at the JCA, Casey volunteers his time with the Florida Wildlife Commission where he has participated in a number of marine mammal rescues. 
 
Casey is carrying on a nice family tradition of service and community involvement.  His mother, Betsy Miller, serves as director of Youth Services of the JCA, where she has worked and helped guide the lives of children during the past 11 years.  His father, Craig Miller, is the Curator of Mammals, at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.  


His sister, Cali, works in the babysitting area at the JCA.  She attends Douglas Anderson School of the Arts where she has been focusing her studies in the field of Visual Arts.  The babysitting room at the JCA is just a little bit brighter thanks to Cali's awesome art work.  


Jacksonville is certainly a better place thanks to the work, attitude, and good examples set forth by Casey Miller and his family. 
 
The Good Deed Brigade salutes Casey Miller for his dedication and awesome attitude on the job as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the JCA.  Follow the example set by both the words and actions of Casey Miller and go out in your community and do your share of good deeds. Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good.   
 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.  

*For those who want to read more about the origin of the term "Pay It Forward" Click Here. 

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13 Virtues That Stand The Test of Time, Change and Technology 

Benjamin Franklin - June 1, 2014

Over the past year, the Good Deed Brigade has featured articles on modern day local heroes who have given their time, skill, and heart to perform good deeds and wonderful acts of kindness. Hopefully, these profiles have inspired you to be a better person and to be part of the movement and philosophy promoted and embodied by the Good Deed Brigade.   There is a well known hero who graced this country with his wisdom, courage, intellect, and, yes, acts of kindess and good deeds from 1706 - 1790 by the name of Benjamin Franklin.   

Most people recognize the general work and contributions of Benjamin Franklin as a statesman, postmaster general, printer, writer, founding father, and inventor. 

Among Franklin's body of work was his autobiography which was not quite finished as it was still being written up to the time of his death. Within the book, there are gems of knowledge, advice, and philosophy that we all can use even in this modern fast paced world we live in.   

In particular, the 13 Virtues are worthy of mention and study.  At the age of 20, Franklin created this system to track his day, good deeds, faults, and progress.  His plan was to attain a form of perfection. Franklin learned later in life that was not possible; however, he realized that the attempt at perfection through the mastery of the 13 Virtues made him a better man who was content and very productive.   

Franklin put the 13 Virtues in a particular order with the idea of focusing and mastering one virtue per week while keeping track of the slips of the virtues down the line from the virtue at hand.   He kept a handwritten chart listing each virtue and each day of week.  Here are the 13 Virtues along with a brief description provided by Franklin himself for each.

1. Temperance: Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.

2. Silence: Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation.

3. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.

4. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.

5. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e. waste nothing.

6. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions.

7. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly.

8. Justice: Wrong none, by doing injuries or omitting the benefits that are your duty.

9. Moderation: Avoid extremes. Forebear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.

10. Cleanliness: Tolerate no uncleanness in body, clothes or habitation.

11. Chastity: Rarely use venery but for health or offspring; never to dullness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another's peace or reputation.

12. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.

13. Humility: Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

As readily admitted by Franklin, nobody can be perfect or maintain the above virtues 100 % of the time but we can all strive to be better and do better. In addition to tracking his daily virtues, Franklin made it a point of maintaining a calendar with his general work and personal activities for the day. 

It is interesting and quite enligthening to see that Franklin listed two important questions on his daily calendar as follows:

The morning question:  

What good shall I do this day?

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Evening question: 

What good have I done today?


Like the virtues, Franklin's use of a daily calendar and focus on these two very important questions stand the test of time, change, and technology. 

For those of you interested in reading more about Franklin and his 13 Virtues, here is a link to his autobiography to check out:

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

(See Pages 38 - 45.)

Now that you have read through this article, make it a point of writing down Franklin's two vital daily questions and then do your best to keep in mind the 13 Virtues and do your share of good work and deeds on a daily basis.  

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Benjamin Franklin for his awesome body of work and his timeless advice and methods he provided for future generations. Follow the example set by the actions and words of Benjamin Franklin. Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

 If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.  

*For those who want to read more about the origin of the term "Pay It Forward" Click Here. 

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From Pre-School to High School Graduation:  Championship Coach Jim Dwyer - May 20, 2014

Visit a local soccer park on the weekend and you will find children of all ages playing soccer from pre-school through high school. You will also find coaches and volunteers out at the field coaching and mentoring the children. One such coach - Jim Dwyer - has been out at the soccer field at practices and games for over 14 years.  When his daughter, Elli, was 4 years old, she wanted to try soccer as a sport.  Little did Elli or her parents (Jim and April) know that Elli would continue to play soccer for the next 14 years. What started out as a new sport and adventure for Jim Dwyer turned into a 14 year run as one awesome soccer coach and role model. 

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Jim Dwyer began coaching youth sports when he was 19 years old in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  A friend had been coaching an 8-10 year old inner city baseball team for over 15 years and asked Jim to help coach in hopes that he would take over coaching of the team.  Jim saw the positive impact in his life by serving as a volunteer coach. When Jim and April got married and started their own family, it was only natural that Jim serve as a coach for his children.

Jim volunteered at a soccer league in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and a few years later at Creeks Soccer located in St. Johns, Forida.   For the past 12 years at Creeks, Jim coached Elli and her teammates. He saw his daughter and the other girls go from the challenges of tying their shoelaces to the challenges of selecting a college.  Jim learned to change and adapt his coaching style and techniques over the years to best fit the age and skill level of the players.  It was certainly a difference dynamic coaching a 4-year-hold versus coaching an 18-year-old.  Over his coaching career with his daughter, Coach Jim Dwyer led teams to many league and tournament victories.

During the most recent season with Coach Dustin Siple and Coach Jim Dwyer, the U18 team went undefeated.  As noted by Jim, "It was great to go out undefeated; however, as I look back at the last 14 years of coaching my daughter, what matters the most is the quality time we spent together. It was important for me to have made a positive impact on Elli and on her teammates as they grew from young girls to young adults."  Coach Jim Dwyer is a "Championship Coach" not necessarily for the victories but for his dedication to the sport, the players, and the community. 

One would think that Jim Dwyer has done his share of volunteering through the many years of coaching his daughter.  However, his coaching career is far from over.  Jim has also coached his son, Jimmy, through the years.  Most recently in 2013, Coach Jim Dwyer and Coach Manny Pucci led the Fruit Cove Middle School Flyers to the Championship of the St. Johns Middle School Sports Association.  In 2012, Coach Jim Dwyer and Coach Kyle Guthrie led the Swamp Life 3 v. 3 Soccer Team to the Chapionship (as National Champions) at the Disney Wide World of Sports 3 v. 3 Tournament. 

Despite a full work schedule as a web and software developer for an international bank and as part owner of Swamp Life and Life Out Loud Apparel, Jim has always been able to find the time for coaching, and, more importantly, for his family. Jim has a zest for life and this shows through everything he does.  Here is a link to see the product line for Life Out Loud Apparel which includes the Swamp Life product line:

Life Out Loud Apparel

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Jim Dwyer for his steadfast dedication to volunteerism and sportsmanship.  Follow the example set by the actions of Jim Dwyer and go out in your community and do your share of good deeds. Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade

The Good Deed Brigade - Thank You

Thank you for reading this Issue of the Good Deed Brigade Newsletter.  Also, thank you in advance for all of your good deeds that you do today and will do in the future.

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Ana MacReynolds - One Good Friend - One Awesome Pet Rescuer - May 6, 2014

Being a full time public school teacher is not an easy job.  This job requires a commitement to the children, school system, parents, and the community. Ana MacReynolds is no ordinary teacher or person for that matter.  Ana spends her "regular working hours" as a school teacher in Jacksonville (Duval County) Florida.  Beyond her "regular working hours", she spends countless hours as the executive director and founder of Ana's Angels Animal Rescue which is a non-profit organization based in North Florida.  Ana is also a doting mother who somehow - someway manages to get all of this accomplished every day. 

Ana is on-call at all times to be a defender of cats and dogs in shelters and in need of homes in North Florida.  She works tirelessly to find foster families as well as permanent families for loving animals that find their way into Ana's arms.  Some arrive in great health and are easily adopted. Other dogs and ctas need medical care and mending before being adopted or placed.  While at her "regular" job as a school teacher, Ana is surrounded by children who she teaches and mentors about various subjects.  While at her other job as one awesome pet rescuer, Ana is also surrounded by children who she teaches and mentors about compassion, responsibility, and kindness.

What makes Ana so special and talented?  The easiest way to answer this question is to speak to Ana or meet her and see her in action.  Whether at the Petco in South Jacksonville (Mandarin) or the Petsmart in West Jacksonville (Oakleaf Plantation), you will see Ana and her volunteers hard at work to make the lives of the dog, cats, and people just that much better. 

When Ana successfully completes an adoption to a good home, you will see Ana smile and have that certain shine in her eyes. You will need to look quickly for that smile and shine because she will soon move on to the next pet in need of a home or the next call with a pet emergency. 

The Good Deed Brigade obtained a quote from two dogs rescued thanks to the efforts of Ana's Angels. In fact, these two special dogs reside at the home base of the Good Deed Brigade.  Hershey and Godiva appeal to be mostly Italian Greyhound breed and each dog weighs all of 11 pounds.  Accdoing to Godiva, the more vocal of the two, "Before Ana saved us, life was rough. Now that we found a good home, life is ruff ruff."  Hershey simply stated, "Thank you Ana's Angels."


You can red more about Ana's Angels at:

Ana's Angels Animal Rescue

Ana's Angels

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Ana MacReynolds for her dedication to family, friends, pets, and for her sincere desire to make a difference.  Follow the exaple set by the actions of Ana MacReynolds and go out in your community to do your share of good deeds.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit the Official Website of the Good Deed Brigade. 

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Mompreneur Brightening the Community and the Lives of People Around Her

Erica Bean - April 30, 2014

When a person has a talent, the community can be a better place.  When a person has many talents and a kind heart, the community is a much, much better place.  Erica Bean is one such multi-talented person who brightens the community and the people around her.  Yes, she is a mompreneur who juggles the challenges and joys of being a mother with that of being a small business owner.  

Over the years, Erica has donated her time, skills, and spirit to a number of organizations including the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), Jacksonville Mompreneurs, and other worthy organizations.  Erica has served as a mentor to young teachers, budding business owners, and many other people.  Erica loves to share her ideas and her creative skills with others.  With that kind of positive spirit and eagerness to help people, Erica started her own company which she has built with her skills, good heart, and hard work.  

Erica is the owner, operator, manager, salesperson, and production supervisor of Print My Picture Online.  Yes, as you can see, she is a small business owner with many responsibilities.  Her business focuses of the needs of small businesses and organizations in the areas of banners, signs, business and trade show items, flyers, newsletters, and other printing needs.  Erica is an awesome resource for businesses, everyday people with a special event, and everybody in between.  Jobs - big or small - are all handled by Erica with a smile and a touch of magic that make the end product well worth it.

Erica also works as a photographer where she focuses on school and senior portraits and candids.  Some of her fine work was recently featured in St. Johns Magazine.   Erica has a great ability to catch the moment, the people, and the scenery.  The photographs in the balloon issue was full of color, hope, and spirit.  

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Erica Bean for her dedication to people and for her sincere desire to make a difference. Follow the example set by the actions of Erica Bean and go out in your community to do your share of good deeds. Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

Here is a link to read more about Erica and her company: 

Print My Picture Online

   

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit ourContact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.  

 *For those who want to read more about the origin of the term "Pay It Forward" Click Here. 

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Teaching Our Children Well - Cynthia Wylie - Bloomers Edutainment - April 22, 2014

With the 21st century, technology has certainly enhanced our lives and has made the flow of information, media, news, and communication instaneous and continuous.  Of course, too much of a good thing can be bad.  Many people, including children , are staying indoors more and losing touch to some extent with nature, the environment, and the need and benefit of new experiences.  Cynthia Wylie is doing her best to address these issues through her company called Bloomers! Edutainment.  Rather than fight technology, she is embracing it and combining it with the wonders of nature, gardening, science, and education.

The Bloomers! Mission is to bring the magical world of gardens, flowers, plants and nature to life, in exciting new ways for young children. Bloomers has a great interactive website located at www.BloomersIsland.Com. It also has some great projects and products available to schools, day care centers, camps, parents, and others who want to help teach children about the wonders of gardening and science through hands-on projects. Whether it is an order of seeds or an entire kit including planters, soil, seeds, and tools, Bloomers is a great resource to help children create a garden and have fun along the way.    

Cynthia wanted to make sure that the products could be used by anyone interested in teaching a child about gardening and plant life.  In particular, Cynthia wanted to make sure that the kits could be used by children with limited to no green space including but not limited to children in urban areas and the inner city. As noted by Cynthia, "There is a certain satisfaction one gets when there is a glow in the child's eyes through the learning experience from our gardening projects." 

Visit the Bloomers Website and Facebook Fan Page to learn more about Bloomers, its services, and products.   

Offfical Website for Bloomers  

Bloomers Know and Grow

Facebook Fan Page for Bloomers

 

The Good Deed Brigade salutes Cynthia Wylie for her commitment to the environment and the community. Follow the example set by the actions of Cynthia Wylie and go out in your community to do your share of good deeds.  Remember, wherever you see the Good Deed Brigade, it's all good. 

If you have a story to share about your good deeds or the good deeds of others in the community, please e-mail us at GoodDeedBrigade@gmail.com or visit our Contact Us Page on the Official Website for the Good Deed Brigade.   

*For those who want to read more about the origin of the term "Pay It Forward" Click Here. 

The Good Deed Brigade - Thank You

Thank you for reading this Issue of the Good Deed Brigade Newsletter.  Also, thank you in advance for all of your good deeds that you do today and will do in the future.  

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Newsletter Archives - Click to an Article to Read More


The Power of Mothers, Daughters, and Volunteerism - Renee and Isabelle Kenagy - April 17, 2014


Volunteers are Super Heroes in the Community - Nancy Kennedy Barnett - April 15, 2014


A Life Dedicated to Education, Art, and Change - Lisa Whittington - April 10, 2014


Making Lasting Impressions - Susan DuBow - April 8, 2014


Educate, Equip, and Empower - Donovin Darius - Athlete, Trainer, and Role Model - April 4, 2014


Shoe Shining Teen Shows Respect for All - Jack Gare March 31, 2014


A Gift That Keeps on Giving From Theresa Scully -     March 26, 2014


Time Spent Mentoring Is Time Well Spent: Reginald Estell, Jr.  - March 21, 2014


Improving Smiles and the Community: Alan Krantz                                                                                   March 17, 2014


Building Relationships and Community Connections:                                                                                Chris Morrison March 10, 2014


Commitment to Family, Faith, and Country - Dave Cooksey - February 10, 2014


Elevating "Middle School" Soccer to the Top - Nizam Emamdie - January 17, 2014


Top Ten List of Good Deeds to Perform - 2014 - December 31, 2013


Putting People First - Pastor Jesse Alexander - December 26, 2013


Recognizing American Folk Artists and Giving Back - Doug Gitter - December 18, 2013


Look Up in the Sky. It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's a Super Photographer. - December 6, 2013


CarbuX - Eco Friendly Car Wash Run by Family Values and the Spirit of Giving Back - November 30, 2013


Gratitude, Oprah Winfrey, and the Good Deed Brigade - November 27, 2013


Bikes from the Heart Making a Difference for Those in Need - Bikes, Kites & More - November 19, 2013


Shining Light of Leadership, Entrepreneurship, and Compassion - November 13, 2013


Hard Working Mother and Furniture Store Making Better Dreams Possible - November 1, 2013


22 Acts of Kindness:  A List, A Birthday, and A Better World - October 22, 2013


8 Kind Words on Restaurant Receipt Bring Tears to Mother and Server - October 8, 2013


Sweeter than Reggae Music and a Jamaican Breeze - Audley and Shelly Hewett - October 3, 2013


Speed to "Learn", Good Mentoring, Successful Student Athletes - September 23, 2013


A Person Who Will Get You Places - September 18, 2013


How a Little Girl Who Never Spoke a Word Changed the World - September 6, 2013


We "Can" Help - Food Drive - Good Deed Brigade - August 22, 2013


Pie in the Sky - Providing Hope and Help to People - August 14, 2013


Charging the Hill & Beyond - Good Deed Button Campaign Hits the Nation - July 22, 2013


Book Release - Good Deed Brigade - Life Lessons and Inspiration From A Through Z - July 4, 2013


A "20 Year" Friendship, Connection, and Bond (Good Deed Brigade - June 20, 2013


The Good Deed Brigade and the Kevin Bacon Connection - June 10, 2013


The Good Deed Brigade - Premier Newsletter Edition - May 27, 2013


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© Good Deed brigade 2013