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By David W. Virtue, DD
December 5, 2017

As we enter into Advent and move on past the holiday of Thanksgiving, this "season of gratitude" amidst our human frailty brings with it a sense of thankfulness, and a vivid impression of God blessing his creatures and his creation.

The annual "GivingTuesday" day (November 27) came and went last week, and people once more flooded the Internet with appeals asking for others to give to them. However, we took a different approach. Instead of seizing on an opportunity to be given to, it seemed more appropriate to seek out ways in which to help others. We have reached out and asked you, our community, to send us stories of amazing yet unrecognized causes and people who do an incredible job helping others, living saintly lives, and helping fix the problems in our world, without any recognition. We'd use the size of our platform to write up and promote the stories you had sent to us, bringing exposure and awareness to these unrecognized heroes as much as possible.

Enjoy these inspiring stories from people just like you and me, and support them whenever you can:


Katie Durio, Stable Spirit

Katie Durio lives in Rose City, TX. She runs a non-profit organization named "Stable Spirit", an "equine therapy" facility which uses horses to provides people with an amazing form of therapy, addressing issues with anxiety, self-esteem, anger, and a whole range of physical, mental, and emotional health issues. So many people benefit from her work: disabled children, families, veterans, and others, an amazing ministry that provides hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, to anyone who qualifies for need of these unique services at little to no cost. Donations and Grants are used to help pay for these services. There are stories of children, such as a 14-year old boy with autism who receives therapeutic riding sessions, and a 10-year old girl with a rare genetic disease who receives Hippotherapy, after not even being able to stand, now being able to climb and walk. People have said: "I used to have depression and anxiety issues where I had to take medicine daily. Now that I volunteer and get hands on time grooming and helping with the Hippotherapy I do not need the prescription drugs to help me. I just need "horse time". Katie and Stable-Spirit have been a great blessing to me and my family. I can not think of a better program to help my family."

Katie Durio's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katie.durio.3
Stable Spirit website: http://www.stable-spirit.org/
Donations page: http://www.stable-spirit.org/donations.php


Rosanna Elena Guernica,Puerto Rico relief

Rosanna Elena Guernica has another story. She is a college student at Carnegie Mellon University, and at 22 years of age, she's raised funds to charter flights to take medical supplies to Puerto Rico. When she understood the complexity of a rescue operation, her response was not resignation but intrepid action. So, she raised the money to charter the planes, found the supplies, escorted the supplies to Puerto Rico, and returned with the evacuees!

Rosanna Elena Guernica:
Articles in the Pittsburgh papers:
Facebook stories about her:


Jason Maddy, Veterans Disaster Relief

Jason Maddy and other veterans have created "Veterans Disaster Relief". They stepped in as first responders after the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, and are still present in Puerto Rico, getting food, water, and medical supplies to remote areas even after the military has begun to pull out. All veterans who join with Veterans Disaster Relief are self-funded. They pay their way to Puerto Rico & are responsible for all their own needs. It has been very inspiring to watch this group form from the time they landed on the ground and faced red tape getting supplies through. They made it to locations where the roads were blocked by fallen bridges or landslides. They took food, water, and lifestraws. In some remote areas they found places safe for helicopters to land. The painted big white circles on the ground, then sent the coordinates to the military. The group has gone from one hurricane catastrophe to the other wit hardly a day of rest.

Jason Maddy: https://www.facebook.com/jason.maddy.7
Veterans Disaster Relief: https://www.facebook.com/veterandisasterrelief/
Online and check giving instructions: https://www.facebook.com/veterandisasterrelief/posts/490438674675805


Lisa Meletti is doing amazing things in the Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma, as part of the Facebook group, "Evacuees of the Keys". She brings hope to those who have lost everything else, and today is still arranging for help for many residents, becoming something of a local hero in the process. You can find examples of her organizational skills in her posts online: "I know there are many that are tirelessly working on their homes and helping out others. I also know that MANY are still in tents and without transportation.. and others that are in neighborhoods and can't get to the cookouts that I have. Or maybe.. you're a family that needs dinner and has the resources to cook but no food, I'll help. So, I would like to make sure as many as possible gets fed that need it. Who's willing to cook for their neighbors? I will provide you with food to feed those in need. If you can't have a cookout, maybe you can cook it and we can organize a meal delivery to those that need it. If anyone needs a hot meal through the week, I will cook it and package it for you, or you're welcome to sit at my table and eat. Also, I want to make up after school snacks and sandwiches for the kiddos. If you know of kiddos that could use an after school snack and sandwich.. please let me know. Keep your head up. Lisa and Geno"

Evacuees of the Keys: https://www.facebook.com/groups/evacueesofthekeysgroup/
To get in touch with Lisa directly, contact her at: onehumanfamily1@yahoo.com


Ron and Debby McKeon, SAMS Missionary Network

Ron and Debby McKeon are missionaries headed to Brazil, part of the SAMS missionary network. After working in the comfort of the American suburban sprawl, Ron and Debby have packed to head out to a missionary endeavor in Brazil. Their daily life involves teaching English, reading, and studying the Scriptures. What would seem like an arduous task to American school children is eagerly seized upon the the wonderful people whom Ron and Debby minister to, eagerly seizing on an opportunity to learn and study and grow in the understanding. This wonderful story on the SAMS website illustrates their daily experience: http://samsusa.org/2017/11/22/thanksgiving-for-discipleship-in-brazil-by-ron-mckeon/

SAMS USA: https://www.facebook.com/samsusa1/


Gabrielle Thompson, Free for Life International

Gabrielle Thompson runs "Free for Life International", working to protect and rescue victims, especially girls, of human trafficking around the world. They endeavor to go to the root and help the most at-risk communities for trafficking at every level: prevention, rescue, restoration and vocational training. Through a sophisticated network of border monitoring stations, shelters, scholarships, and sustainable programs, FFLI endeavors to support those who are vulnerable with a system of protections and helps that redeem those who have no hope.

Gabrielle Thompson: https://www.facebook.com/gabrielle.thompson.779
Free for Life International: https://www.facebook.com/Freeforlifeintl/
To volunteer, or to give, visit: http://freeforlifeintl.org/act/

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